Takeaways and Roadmap


Prelim winner McPherson, Connor, and fellow starter competitor Jazz ready to go home.
Takeaways

1.  I didn't know how strong of a ride Connor needed or what "riding strongly" to a fence meant until my XC warmup on Sunday.  Jumping has always been about survival for me in the past, just two years ago I was scared of crossrails, and I thought getting him to the fence in a good stride and rhythm was enough.  Wrong-o.  Pony needs me to hit the "Go!" button in order for him to commit to the fence, and until Sunday, I didn't know what hitting the "Go!" button was.

2. If I give him a confident, strong ride to a fence, he's always going to go over it.

3. Thorough preparation is key to relaxation in show situations, and where there is relaxation, there is a good ride.

4. How do out-of-shape people or people eventing multiple horses survive XC?!  I'm in good shape thanks to Crossfit, but XC had me huffing and puffing.

5. Nothing but galloping racehorses had prepared me for an XC course.  Even schooling XC doesn't really prepare you for it.

6. Connor's got scope.

7. My trainer, who's only a year older than me, is really something special.  Not that I didn't know that before, but one of my teammates won Open Prelim and another won Open Training, based on leading the field by enough after Dressage that the single rails they pulled in SJ before going clear in XC were enough for the win.  And of the three horse/rider pairs she brought that had never evented before, two of us finished the event and one would have if she hadn't forgotten a fence in SJ.  As another trainer said, our team was on fire.

8. He got around XC with what I would call minimal cardiovascular taxation for an event horse last weekend, but I can feel that I'm going to have to start real conditioning at a lower level than someone with a Thoroughbred would.

9. I feel completely differently about him after this event, and it's hard to put my finger on it.  Facing something so new and scary together and coming out on the other side is a real relationship-builder.  We're like war-buddies now instead of just theoretically discussing these things together  in lessons.

10. I'm never not going to be mistaken for a little kid with a pony at shows.  Oh well.


Where are we going from here?
I can't afford to show rated all that often, but I don't need or want to right now.  The plan for the summer is to get to lots of jumper schooling shows where he can jump flowers and other strange looking things until he's comfortable with them.  We were discussing on the way back that with as scopey as he is, there's no end in sight for us as far as levels right now, but that doesn't mean I'm in a rush.  I can see tackling another rated Starter toward the middle or end of the summer, and a full season at BN in 2014, unless he suddenly gets way less green about jumping at our schooling shows.  I am thrilled, thrilled thrilled with how this one went, and am so excited for the future.

8 comments:

  1. Such a cute picture of all the horsey bums going home.

    So happy you had a good experience! I know I've said this before but it's been awesome to watch you two progress on your blog. And who knows...maybe I will end up in your shoes one day, given all of the tempting XC jumps at my farm! I'm not ready for them yet but maybe one day.

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  2. Thanks, Carla! You should definitely not write it off, if someone had told me two years ago that I'd be taking a green pony around XC, even at Starter, I would have told them they were nuts. It's a blast, though!

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  3. Great take aways, Jen. I used Hunter and a couple jumper shows to get mileage too. With Barry my instructor set up meter markers in the arena and timed us so we could learn our speeds for cross country. Helps with conditioning too.

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  4. :D Sounds like a great experience all around.

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  5. I condition Super Kid like somebody would competing at a much higher level. Just because she takes so much out of herself by being overly looking and speeding around everywhere.

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  6. So thrilled with all your success!

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  7. Awesome post! I love your pony in the middle of those two on the trailer. Too cute :)

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  8. I love lickle Connor in between the two big boys in the trailer!
    Sounds like you took a lot of good stuff out of your weekend. Well done again!

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