Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Two-Step

I just got back from our short vacation to see some family in Chicago. In a couple of hours I will be heading to the barn for a lesson with Joe Meyer. Unfortunately it is raining and looks to be wet for the rest of the week. Truth be told, despite the fact that eventers are supposed to be "tough" and despite the fact that I was in the Army with mottos such as "if it ain't rainin' we ain't trainin'" I despise, absolutely despise riding in the rain. I will do it of course but it never puts me in the best of moods. I would much rather sit at home with a good book listening to the sound of the rain on the roof that is keeping me dry.
Anyways, I figured I'd give a quick recount of XC schooling while I have the time. I have a feeling updates are going to be a little more sporadic the next few months as summer heats up and the calendar gets full so I better take advantage of time while I have it.

Sadly no pictures from XC.

In a nutshell schooling started out bad and then got better. It was very much like doing the two-step; two steps forward, one step back, etc. I don't know if any of you have ever been to the KY horse park's schooling days but if you have you know that it is a little nuts, especially on days like last Monday where the weather is absolutely perfect. There were horses everywhere. The atmosphere is really every bit as electric as any horse show I've been to. So, Loki came out very up.

The first half of the school we really worked on getting our brakes back online. I never fully lost them but they were just mushy and slow. Loki isn't really trying to "be bad" but it seems like when we get into nerve-inducing situations he has a habit of wanting to take over and I have a habit of letting him. This results in lots of flat jumping and quite a few run-outs at some of the skinnier fences. Consider this sequence of a jump from stadium:
Trying to gain our balance after the last fence
okay but still very heavy in the front end
which leads to being a little flat again
sit back sit back
a little better
but then we get to the base of the fence and this happens
which leads to this
we're over but sure no style points
Not all of our efforts look like the above. At home we are really getting and sticking with a good rhythm about 90% of the time but when you add the show atmosphere and nerves this is what we get too often. It is better than last year, though, because I can almost get Loki into a decent canter with some impulsion but for whatever reason the both of us get to the base of the jump and go "CRAP! JUMP!" and stare down at it and then get a very flat jump over.

The good news, however, is that by the end of the schooling day we were getting much, much nicer efforts and staying in a good rhythm. I was actually riding through the fence not just up to it and then freaking out.

I'm a little worried about what our first "real" event will be like. It could be a disaster but the good thing is it is at Twin Towers which is where we have done 90% of our XC schooling. We have jumped all of the beginner novice jumps out there so that should give us the confidence to get through. I guess we'll see next weekend.

And the one really positive thing about XC schooling: We trotted down a very significant (in my eyes) down bank! I have been terrified of down banks and I can't believe I actually got myself to do it but I did! I do wish I had pictures of this one. If I had to guess I would say it was about a 2'6" drop but don't quote me on that, terror tends to make things look bigger and scarier than they are!


  1. A 3" drop looks like a 6' drop to me! Way to conquer that shit!

  2. Plan for the worst and hope for the best is all you can really do!

    1. One of my favorite sayings that and "heck yeah!"

  3. There is only so much you can do to prepare for these things...I'm sure you are ready!

  4. it took a while to get Wiz consistently "up" to every fence! And I still haven't managed to have a stadium round without at least one "CRAP" fence where I let him drop his shoulder before the fence. BUT, it's getting better. Just takes a while to develop the balance and strength- you'll get it before you know it :)

    1. Thanks. Loki is just fickle right now. We have jump schools where he is on it like 100% and then we have days where he just comes out with a big "f u!" attitude. I am still trying to figure out what that is all about. Maybe he is secretly a mare and having pms! lol

  5. Good luck!!! You guys are going to rock!