That’s right. I said horse show prep. We are competing in our first recognized event in California this weekend, so instead of writing on this blog, I have been doing a lot of riding.
A couple of weeks ago, we took a trip down to Copper Meadows. The XC course hadn’t changed since we showed there a month ago, but it was good to go back and put some polish on some fences. We even jumped the novice option into one of the waters.
We also got to school the turn through the rocks, adding on another small roll top at the top of the hill. Did any of the big jumps give May any pause? No. Did the 12″ roll top on top of the hill get her a little wiggly? Yes. I guess that’s just how it is with horses sometimes.
The next couple of weeks, we really focused on Dressage. Honestly, I am not expecting a great score this weekend. Mid 30s? Probably? Getting her to be really true through her body into the connection means that we can’t just “set it and fake it”, so I expect her to be a little less steady in the contact as we work through it. But it’s an important skillset to have that is really showing off in our jumping lately. My goal is actually really to just be very focused on my posture and seat vs. trying to shove her body around. (more on that in another post though…)
As for jumping, we had our first SJ lesson last night since this lovely lesson that ended up being a complete disaster. I knew I wanted to do course work, and as usual, Chloe was 2 steps ahead of me.
We warmed over 2 raised cavalettis on a turn. May was a bit stiff, but softened when asked, and waited to the base of both fences, so I was happy. We then added in a bounce. Again… totally fine. Then we Figure 8’d over a low, wide oxer. She jumped great the first couple of times. We made it bigger. I missed the distance, and she kind of shuffled over it.
This is something I have just realized is an issue. When I miss and we get the short distance, I can’t just let May flop her body over it like a dead fish. She needs to maintain the forward energy in the short distance, so she got a tap with the crop and a kick and sent forward again. Once we had that supple but forward feeling back, we moved onto a full course.
And by a full course… I mean a full course. The course was based on the 2* course at Twin a few weeks ago and was FAR more technical than anything we would be doing this weekend. You can find videos of it on youtube, but I also put the course below with my loverly PowerPoint Skills.
Naturally, I complained the whole time about it. We did it once at like starter height, and it was ok, but not great. The jumps got bumped up to BN, and we tried again. As usual, I made some weird decisions and May’s hearing was optional, so it was a little rough. But we were able to do it.
We ended up doing it one more time, where we dropped a rail at number 2, but ultimately, I feel like I did a better job riding it, even with May being both spicy from me getting after her for not landing thinking forward, and us both being a bit tired by this point. It really is amazing how my horse can be both spicy and tired… go figure.
Overall, I am working hard to be excited for the show this weekend. Dressage and XC are tomorrow with SJ on Sunday, so it’s a new format for us. The XC course is the same one as their last show, so I was able to watch some video of it. The weather will be California perfect, with highs in the mid 70s tomorrow and mid 60s on Sunday.