Saturday, October 1, 2011

Poplar Place HT

So Poplar Place was technically my 3rd ever event, if you count Pine Top which I only completed half of the course before I had an unexpected sudden halt at the first water.

Let's start off with dressage. Well, that was interesting. It was the first time we were fully decked out in dressage gear. I may or may not have decided to do eventing just so I could buy a set of black tack. Kidding...kind of. Literally as soon as I walked into the main arena, the bell rang, and I had very little time to warm up, which was a bummer because he can get very tense.

We are focusing on him working on the bit without being too heavy. Which is kind of hard when you have a downhill quarter horse...but we try. We had a canter step each 20m trot circle, which is a bummer, but our canter transitions both ways (up and down) were much better. He was in 8th after dressage, which was good.

Then Showjumping. Well. That was fun. He got extremely upset schooling with so many other horses, but that's not new. What was new though was him running around like a chicken with his head cut off during our actual round. Let's just say inside turns were not necessary for the most part...he was double clear there. He is a rock star generally, as that is what he is used to, and moved up to 5th.

Last, but definitely not least, was cross country. I was so nervous I felt sick all morning, which is so not totally me. I was having almost anxiety attacks thinking about the water, as well as remembering my course, which if you go back a post, has been an issue. I think I walked the course 5 times in 2 days, which is over 5 miles in total. I was kind of sore on Sunday...

He warmed up great, and was great out of the start box. Jumps 1 and 2 rode great and off of his stride. Jump 3...not so much.

I could feel him back off and ball up, and he started to stop. I pressed him onwards at the very, very base of the jump, and he propped on the left side, and *BAM* smacked his face on the left pole. I didn't even know what to do...he fell off of the jump to the left and I think we just stood there for a second flabbergasted. What just happened?!! Did you seriously just hit your face on that?? Were your front legs ON the jump (thank God for boots!)?!! I quickly regrouped and spun around to it again. And I let him stop. I think we were both still frazzled. I circled around to it a third time and he finally went. I don't even know how penalties really go, so I was trying to ride and convince him to go and do third grade math at the same time.

And off we went. Whoa. I think I said whoa to a varying degree about 40 times over about 6 minutes worth of time. So that's about 3.something whoas per fence. It's not that I couldn't control's that I couldn't stop him. Betsy (my eventing coach) and I had plans to trot at several places...and that never happened. Not before the ditch, not anything.

So about 10 jumps later we are at the water. He locked on to the edge, but our plan (which worked but was unnecessary) was to go around the unmarked backside, to make sure he was going to go in. He had never gone in on his own before (at Chatt Hills there was another rider going through a different section at the same time I was so he splashed in eventually). Holy moly. He went through the water so quickly I almost forgot to turn him around so we didn't enter through the back side of the markers. I was so happy, and mom and Betsy, Jess, Steph, and Theo were screaming, and it was one of the happiest moments I've had in a long time.

back side of the water

We finished almost 30 seconds under the time. Which...I'm not sure if I should take that as a good thing or bad thing. Any tips to slow him down? I was pulley-reining and other last resort antics and no such luck for the most part.

So we ended up in 7th with 60 jump penalties, but I couldn't have cared less. I was ecstatic!!! We actually cantered THROUGH water and I didn't end up in it!

Steph, who rode Betsy's international horse, West Point, was 5th in the CIC* and we were all very proud of her! We miss you Steph :)


  1. Awww. Miss you too! And I love your blog :) I should have done one when I first switched from hunters to eventing. LOTS of similar stories. Can't wait to hear about Chatt Hills at the end of the month!

  2. I'll let you know! Thanks for reading! I thought it would be fun to go back at a later date and read these. See you soon! You'll have to let me know when you figure out when you are coming back to Starkville to visit :)

  3. Well hey there, welcome to the blog world! You're a great writer. I'm an eventer headed to a little H/J show this weekend. Jumping is fun. :)

  4. Thanks albigears! Have fun! I'm still doing about 10 A shows a year. It's hard multitasking, but I think this is a great learning experience. Good luck, have fun, and let me know how it goes!