Sunday, 21 July 2013

Dressage Schooling Show - Success!!

Yesterday morning we headed out to Alhambra for their summer schooling show. They were doing dressage and jumpers yesterday, and hunters and a derby today. I just wanted some mileage in the dressage ring though, so we did 3 tests, eventing training #2, and 2 tests riding the eventing prelim test #2, since that's the one we're doing at the rest of the events this year.

Sunny was SO GOOD!! I knew something was up when I mounted up about an hour before our ride times, and went over for tack check, usually she FREAKS when they go to put a finger in her mouth to check the bit and will NOT stand still. But she just stood there on a loose rein and didn't move a muscle! Kris came out too, I had him armed with water and lots of treats. We did a very minimal warm up, she was being very good, nice and relaxed, so we did about 15 mins, and then we just chilled and I hacked her around a little bit, then I did another 5 or 10 mins right before we headed up to the ring. It was HOT out as well, so I didn't want to tire her out too much.

The training test was first. We ROCKED it! I haven't ridden that test in about a year and a half, but as soon as I started it, I remember why I loved it! Just a great test, lots of time in between all the movements, and it just flows really nice. I was shocked at how nice and relaxed Sunny was throughout the whole test. THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN WORKING SO HARD FOR!! I was SO happy!!

Had a few horses in between each of my tests which was nice. Both prelim tests rode really well for the most part. Sunny was so relaxed she was almost a little dull, but compare that to what she's usually like, hot and up and so over reactive to the point of explosion a lot of the time, having a bit dull was really nice!! Our lengthenings were extremely conservative, but she was being so good I wasn't going to kick or goose her and cause a tantrum. Same with our leg yield, she wasn't really crossing over like she usually does, so got some lower marks for those. Had a bit of tenseness in our canter, as you'll see in the videos, but she settled fairly quickly afterwards, so that was definitely an improvement over our bucking fits at Rocky for sure! Lol. But overall SO much better than the
previous events this year!!




Our enter down centerline got 8's on all 3 tests, we had all three halts at the end DEAD SQUARE, and got 8's for those as well! I couldn't believe it when I watched the videos, we literally NEVER have a square halt! Considering at Beaumont we basically did not even HAVE a halt at the end, I was pretty happy! Had a super free walk in 2 of the tests, 8's for that too, and a couple 8 for our trot in there as well! SO HAPPY GUYS OMFG!!!! I'm so glad I thought to bring treats, Sunny got some during our awesome warm up, and after each test as well, I was so thrilled with how good she was being! Our next event is at Alhambra in the same sand ring, so hopefully the positive reinforcement carries over for dressage there too:)

 The judge stopped me to talk after my last test. Said she really like our partnership, that Sunny was lovely (!!!!) and that we work extremely well together. Said I needed to use my half halts more, to better prepare and organize for transitions and they would become smoother and more relaxed. Also suggested to ask stronger and be more concise with the lengthenings, as they were all really conservative in all three tests. I mentioned that I was trying not to rock the boat too much because we are usually quite "exciting" in dressage, but was trying to find a happy medium, and she laughed and said she understood, and to keep working on it:) I was really happy overall with the judge's comments! For once I came away from dressage feeling really good about what we'd done, not upset or embarrassed or relieved to have just gotten it over with, and I was SO happy with Sunny and myself:)

 I picked up my tests as soon as they were ready but didn't stick around for placings or ribbons. That's not what I was there for, and it didn't matter anyways, all I wanted just some good positive rides in the ring. I got 64% on the training test, and 60% and 63% on the prelim tests!! Considering at Beaumont our horrible test was a 44% and Rocky was definitely better but still just a 56%, I was pretty thrilled!!



63% This test would have been super awesome had we not totally blown the simple change to right lead canter:P

 I still see a million things I want to fix with my position. I'm trying to not be *too* critical though because I know I have gotten lots better position wise than I was, say, a year ago, but there is *always* room for improvement!!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Thompson Country Horse Trials

Another event come and gone! This summer is going SO fast already:P I was super excited for this one because it didn't run last year, but is probably my favorite event in Alberta! It is gorgeous, an actual 3 day, and the cross country is tough and hilly, LOTS of fun! My parents were able to drive down to watch, so it was super awesome to see them:)

Dressage was Friday. They ran my division first thing in the morning again, but at least we started at 9am this time, not 8! We had a decent flat school Thursday night when we arrived, which was good. Our warm up was pretty good. Sunny was kind of randomly focusing, she'd be going lovely, then have a bit of a bucking fit, then go right back to work. Our test was decent! Trot work was MUCH improved since Beaumont. More relaxation overall as well! We even got 7's on our leg yields!! It's so sad, I get excited when I get 7's, where as more people are more excited about 8's, lol. I'll take it!! Canter work wasn't the greatest, Sunny decided to interlude with a few bucking fits in there, which I thought was hilarious. But she'd have a moment, then go right back to work, then have a moment, then go back to work. Instead of the whole test being like "AHHHHH WE'RE DOING A THING!!!!", it was kind of up and down, but it was BETTER!!! Had a lovely hunter like stretchy circle at the end, wish we would have had a bit more stretch down, but it was consistent on the circle where as she usually fusses a bit. And we HAD A HALT!!!! :D Yay!! So I was pretty happy overall, TONS better than at Beaumont!!  photo aDSC_9898.jpg  photo aDSC_9902.jpg  photo aDSC_9906-1.jpg Oh Sunny, lol.
  photo aDSC_9956.jpg I LOOOOOOVE this photo!!!  photo aDSC_9972.jpg  photo aDSC_9979.jpg
Walked our cross country course after dressage. It was big, long, twisty turny, TONS of terrain, and aside from the first couple fences, pretty much *nothing* was really straight forward or a gimme. Even most of the galloping fences were on an uphill or downhill, or on a bit of an angle, or pointing at a tree or into the bush, etc. Definitely our toughest test to date! It was going to require a TON of super accurate riding, and I was SO excited!!!!! :D

Check out the CourseWalk!

 Our run was pretty wicked!! I knew that if I rode well and accurately, Sunny would easily rise to the occasion! We started out alright, Sunny launched a crazy long spot at 2, so I really rode the deep distance for the next couple fences. Need to work on straightness though, she's starting to duck to the left really badly again, most pronounced when I ask her to add, as you'll see. Mostly just due to me being lazy about getting her totally straight because she's so god damn honest, and my left side is definitely weaker, so we'll have to work on that. Had a few awkward jumps in there, Sunny totally saved my ass a few times, like 12 and 13 where I basically didn't see anything for a distance and she took right over and got it done! The only real problem we had was fence 18, we had a long steep uphill gallop which was pretty much blind going up, and then a left turn, maybe 2 strides to a big wide table that was also a skinny. And we galloped up and I swung a bit too much to the right and didn't get the line and just didn't get the turn done. So we kind of blew by it:P Then I went to circle around to re-present, and I was like "Shit!! How the hell are we going to get over that??" Cuz it was big and on an awkward angle at the top of the hill, and there was basically no room to approach, so I circled around as best I could and trotted Sunny at it, threw the reins at her and clucked and was like "DEAR LORD PLEASE JUMP THIS!!" and she totally did!!! What a good girl, seriously!! Then carried on, the rest of the course was no problem, I was definitely getting tired towards the end though, you'll see on the videos when I kind of tip forward through the water:P That was just fatigue:P (Lots to work on before the next event, for both Sunny AND myself!) And I was galloping up to the last jump absolutely shocked and AMAZED that my watch was beeping down the last 10 seconds, WE TOTALLY MADE TIME!!!!!!!! :D I wasn't even pushing either, I just decided that I was going to just let Sunny cruise around. We were the only ones to make time, I was pretty happy about that!!

Super thrilled with our run overall, would have liked a do over at 18, but shit happens and it was totally my fault. just a few little things to work on there and we'll nail it next time! Everyone had a stop on course except 2 people. It was pretty crazy. Such a crazy awesome course, I LOVED it and it was such a blast to ride!!

 Only got a few photos of cross country, since it was mostly through the trees and stuff.  photo aDSC_9991.jpg  photo aDSC_0001.jpg  photo aDSC_0014.jpg Short video of us through the water, you can see me kind of tip forward right after the second fence:P And the helmet cam!!! Sorry for the yelling at those random people, I wasn't really in the mood to kill someone with my horse that day:P

I was a bit nervous for stadium, just because SOMETHING always seems to go wrong. The course looked fun though, and it was a blast to ride! It actually went REALLY well! In terms of relaxation and rideability, Sunny was spot on! She seemed just a touch tired, and didn't have her usual punch to her jump, but that was good in a way because she wasn't jumping me out of the tack for once!! Was one of those courses though where it seemed like everything everyone touched in the slightest, came down. So while I was really happy with the ride, we had several minor rubs, and they all came down:P Sunny definitely punched out the top plank of the last fence pretty good, but with all the rubs we ended up with a horrifying 5 rails down:P But everyone else had tons of rails too though, so it wasn't just me. So regardless of all the rails, I was happy! I was much more relaxed and actually riding too, so I felt a lot better about that as well.  photo aDSC_0031.jpg  photo aDSC_0033.jpg  photo aDSC_0036.jpg  photo aDSC_0043.jpg EVERYONE had the zebra jump down:P  photo aDSC_0046.jpg  photo aDSC_0050.jpg  photo C0CE5E1E-3413-41F6-A41A-B0FF8E100EDE-26585-00002ABB25DA9760.jpg Actual video, just ignore all those rails coming down:P
And the helmet cam.

Ribbon shots, haha.  photo aDSC_0111.jpg  photo E2143EA6-366C-431F-991E-2D47F3766EC1-26585-00002ABBC8266E8E.jpg

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Chase Creek Clinic-The Abbreviated Edition!

I'm bulk posting these photos and sharing the videos just because my life has been kinda crazy and I don't want to keep putting it off any longer. I will do a proper update on everything soon, I promise! I do have some fairly entertaining crash photos to post at a later date as well, as well as more of an actual write up on the clinic. It was amazing!!  photo aDSC_9386.jpg Day 1 was rainy so Kris just took videos.  The last 3 clips were from other days but it was just easier to put them all together.

Day 2...
Oh Sunny, always a fan of the long spot:P  photo aDSC_9311.jpg  photo aDSC_9315.jpg We did lots of work with skinnies during the clinic.  photo aDSC_9336.jpg  photo aDSC_9341.jpg  photo aDSC_9344.jpg  photo aDSC_9352.jpg  photo aDSC_9356.jpg  photo aDSC_9379.jpg
A few shots of Sunny and I in the creek.  Sunny LOVES the creek there.  I can stand her in it, throw the lead rope over her back and just walk away!  photo aDSC_9261.jpg  photo aDSC_9273.jpg Our humble setup.  photo aDSC_9282.jpg Mr Deer passed by for a quick visit!  photo aDSC_9288.jpg
This new bulk share capability on photobucket really is the shiznit though!

Anyways.  So in short it was super awesome and I didn't ever want to leave! They just announced that after 10 years of not running an event, they are finally running one there next spring on May long!! To do the CIC*, or CCI*? That is the question!!! :D