Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Recap

Oops! I meant to post this yesterday but we had a house full of five kids. I got a little distracted...

So, the show. The rain! OMG it rained, it rained buckets of buckets of rain on Saturday. It was absolutely crazy. However, it did not rain while I was in the saddle. It was like a magical anti-rain shield around me. But in between dressage and stadium it was like we were living in a sea.

Dressage

I don't have any pictures or video of our dressage test. It didn't rain while we were riding but it was very threatening the entire time so not many cameras out. Our test was okay. We scored a 33.8. I would say the judge was pretty generous. That score put us in 9th place. Our biggest issue with the test turned out to be bending. There was a monster hiding out by letter F and I didn't really ride that circle. Instead of really putting my leg on and making him move over I let him counter-bend. I think if my trainer had been able to warm us up we would've done better but she was riding her XC test. As it was I was mostly happy, though. Loki was very steady in the bridle. All of our scores were either 6.5 or 7s.
Nice & relaxed after our tests right before the skies opened up.
Stadium

We had nearly 5 hours between dressage and stadium and like I said earlier it rained and rained the entire time. By the time the ring was open for us to walk our course I was so wet that I could feel water dripping down my legs into my socks. It was pretty darn miserable and all I wanted to do was go home to be honest. But my trainer and my husband talked me through it. We went back to the trailer to change and get dry and just sat listening to the rain for a while.

Finally it was time to get saddled up and wouldn't you know it but the rain stopped! Loki felt really good for warm-up. He was listening and on. My trainer's only complaint was that I needed more horse. I felt as prepared for stadium as I ever have. The course was extremely twisty and my biggest concern was simply remembering which way to go.

When it was our turn I had a different horse. Loki wasn't nearly as bad as he's been in the past but still there weren't a lot of brakes while on course. However, I was able to ride it so much better. I didn't panic and start immediately pulling on his mouth and I actually remembered to put my leg on some of the time. Still the round didn't look great. We tried really hard to bring down a couple of rings but they just weren't having it. They all stayed up and we finished inside the time! I had a pretty big grin on my face by the time we were done.




Most of our jumps looked okay but as you can see we still had a few awkward ones.
Oh and I forgot to mention that I did end up paying to have Loki's mane braided. I am fully capable of doing it myself but I am really out of practice and not that great at it to begin with. It was totally worth it to not have to stress about it and then to have him look so sharp for his pictures.

XC

I wasn't nearly as nervous for XC the next day as I was for stadium. For whatever reason I just don't get as worried about XC. I think my trail riding past has a lot to do with it. But, probably the bigger reason is there aren't many people standing around watching on the XC course like there is in stadium.

XC ended up being a lot like stadium in the sense that I didn't have much horse during warm-up. Loki was totally chill and all like "whatever" but once we were out on course he turned into the fire breathing dragon I know and love. I was more prepared for it this time, though and other than having to circle once right before we headed downhill I was able to just let him gallop without fighting him too much. I was a little afraid we were going to be too fast but it turns out we were clear. I wish I could've found out what our actual time was. It always feels like we are flying out there. I haven't practiced much with learning pacing. I am very good at pacing the trot (for competitive trail) but not the gallop. But anyways we were clear! Which means WE FINISHED ON OUR DRESSAGE SCORE!! I am so excited about that in particular. We ended up in 6th place and really couldn't be happier with either of us. What a great way to end our time here in Ohio.

Our first or second jump. (Looks so tiny!)

Love this picture!

Another super awkward jump. I knew the cameraman was right there and it totally psyched me out!
I have some other thoughts but I'll have to save them for later.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

WE DID IT!

So, I've been missing for a while again. There's just so so much going on. Moving, back and forth to New York a couple times (we did get a house), trying to move my mother-in-law into her new apartment in the middle of her two heart surgeries, the list goes on. So I will try to sum it up as quickly as possible and then get to the good stuff.

First, our house:

 Jay and I participated in what is called the "housing draw" for an on-post house at West Point. This was a very interesting and stressful experience. There were something like 42 houses available and Jay was the 29th person in line to pick. Believe me not all houses are created equal on post. Somehow, even though Jay picked 29th we ended up with our 3rd choice. My conclusion: God is just good that way! It's an end unit so only sharing one wall with the neighbors and it has a fenced yard for the dog.

The other good news is we got an exception to policy in order to have all of our animals there. So no more worrying about what we are going to do with two extra cats. That is a huge blessing and relief.

Second the horse:
After some XC schooling we were feeling pretty darn good for our upcoming event at Midsouth. Loki and I were in sync and honestly doing the best we've ever done.

I hate that his left knee is down but otherwise love this picture!

Hey look I can even smile when I'm jumping scary jumps!
Unfortunately all this great preparation came before we went to New York for the housing draw. When I got home we only had about a week for final preparations and I was definitely not feeling so great anymore. I had three, yes THREE! falls right before our show. And all of them were simply from my brain taking a vacation I guess form all the stress of stuff going on.

The first fall was from me not noticing Loki had been bitten on his back before I saddled him up to ride (It wasn't a huge, open wound just a small knot that I missed). He was totally fine until he spooked and I landed hard on him and then he channeled his inner mustang and bucked halfway down the arena. I was really pissed until I saw what had caused it and then I felt bad. The second fall was me not paying attention and jumping halfway up Loki's neck and the third fall came when I was trying to get on and realized I had forgotten something. Instead of just getting all the way on and then getting down I tried to take my foot out of the stirrup got stuck, lost my balance, freaked Loki out and then fell on my rear when he ran off. Seriously did not feel ready for Midsouth anymore!

But my trainer would not let me quit. And I'm glad she didn't. Since this is already so long I'll wait to sum up the whole event but I'll leave you with a couple of pictures to give you an idea of how it went. :)

Still not perfect, I wish my rear were closer to the saddle and I wasn't biting my lip (seriously terrible habit) but otherwise love this picture.
Why yes that is a ribbon! Our very first USEA ribbon!