Penny Oaks: Dressage and XC Wrap, Plus a Contest!


Interrupting his first of many naps over the weekend.


The TL;DR version is: Connor finished on his Dressage score of 36.3 to take second out of...13?  15? to his former pasturemate by 0.5, and my trainer says we're ready to move up.  Woo hoo!  Also, I bought all the pictures.  Literally, all the pictures.  Get ready.

(Except the pro's didn't photograph Dressage, but managed to get almost every XC fence.  What?  Oh well.  All photos taken by Xpress Photo and used with permission).

Watched a YouTube video on how to french braid on my phone while standing on an overturned bucket in his stall.  Turned out fairly well, all things considered.  Austen, you were missed.
Dressage
Heartland gave my trainer a good idea of what we needed to do to be competitive here.  All we did the last two weeks was Dressage, and specifically, relaxation.  My warmups at home and at the show were to be "Long reins, lots of moving his hind feet around and letting him stretch - nose to the ground if he'll offer it."  When I get him in that state of mind, by the time I pick him up, he's on my aids and ready for action, but not tense.

When the judge rang the bell, I did a 20m circle outside on the opposite rein of what our first turn would be at the head of the arena, counterbending, then turned down centerline (no halting at X upon entry in eventing) and had him bang on straight between my aids.  That was our only 8, and we earned it, his feet have never traveled so straight in his life.

The rest of the test was fairly judged 6's and 7's (with one 5 when a walk transition right in front of the judge had way too much hand - oops), but what stuck out to me most is that the comments we got are exact opposites of what we were getting 18 months ago.  Today we got 'forward and steady mover', 'obedient', and my favorite, "well-bent".  Well-bent!

Cross-Country
This was our first true-ordered event, with Dressage, then XC on Saturday, then SJ on Sunday.  After Dressage, Connor was sleepy, and he had no idea he still had work to do.  All during the long walk to XC, then warming up over stadium fences in the field, then going over to the start box, he had no idea XC was coming.  In the start box, he was too busy giving the start box people the Suspicious Spooky Ear and bending away from them:

This is from SJ, but you get the idea of the Suspicious Spooky Ear/bending combo.  He's spooking at flowers here.

to which the starter said, "It's okay, little guy, we like horses here!" and tried to convince him that she was a nice person.  I really appreciated that, going the extra mile to help my spooky pony learn to deal with things.

Even cantering out of the start box he still had no idea what we were doing, and fence 1 came up fast.  Right before 1, he scrambled and his brain went "HOLY SHIT WE'RE ON CROSS-COUNTRY!"  That is exactly what it felt like, profanity and all.  He was so surprised.  I just had to let him figure that one out for himself - green XC horse moments.

Dressage-quality canter transition out of the box...he still had no idea we're on XC...

"So...why are we here, again?"

Fence 1: "HOLY SHIT AN XC FENCE!" He scrambled to the base of this, then jumped straight up in the air - which is this picture.

Fence 2 was equally scrambly because there was a guy in a chair next to it, and you know, guys in chairs.  They're terrifying.
Badass eventers!

Fence 3 was a BN-height log, and he started to get his groove on here, before a long canter around a hill to 4.  He started to really enjoy himself at this point, and took off with me on the other side of the fence, ears up and whinnying.  I laughed.

Sort of deer-like, but we're rolling with it.

Yep.

Whoa, pony!  He hauled me around the course ears up, having a blast.  It might be time to think about an XC bit.  Or maybe I am content with letting him roll like this, it was so much fun.
Fence 5:



And the aftermath of Fence 5, which was me being thrilled with how bravely he jumped 5, and yelling "Good boy!" even though it looks like I'm surprised we survived that last fence in the photo:


THIS is what eventing the Welsh Cob feels like.  Having a blast, not scared at all.

Best friends and war buddies.

We really started to hit our stride together on the second half of the course.  He was jumping more across than up, and we were discussing and agreeing upon distances a couple of strides out.  You can tell he wasn't jumping squirrely because my eq (as it were) improves a lot.







My favorite.



And by the final fence of the round, we were absolutely on the same page.

Alright, now for a contest!  This was Starter level eventing, and the optimum time for the 1,333m course was 4:51.  Guess our actual time to win a prize!  As a bonus second entry, calculate what mpm (meters per minute) that time is.  Enter in the comments, and no checking live scores to cheat (they're still not up, so you can't yet anyway.)  Go!

43 comments:

  1. Mmmm I'll say your time was 5:00. You guys look fantastic! Sounds like an awesome weekend! :)

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    1. Thanks! It really was, I am so proud of him.

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  2. I will have to pass on the contest, sounds too hard. But You guys look awesome.

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  3. Yay! Forelock! It looks great! :)

    I'm going to say you came in at 4:47 which is about 279 mpm.

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    1. Bonus response: I did math. It's probably all wrong. :)

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  4. OMG I am not a numbers person, but you both look AWESOME! :D

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  5. I'll play! No idea really how it all works, but I'm going to throw out 4:59.

    You look great and like you two are just having a blast!

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    1. Thanks, and thanks for the entry! We really were - both of us. He knows what XC is for sure now, and really enjoys it.

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  6. Sooooooo cute! I love that big grin on your face. Uh, 4:58?

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    1. Thanks! It was awesome, there is just nothing like that feeling. Thanks for the entry!

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  7. LOVE this! Glad you guys had so much fun, Connor looks like he's finally got this. Woot!!!!

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    1. That is pretty much what it felt like! He knows XC means he gets to RUN and he likes that. I am a little relieved, since I like a pull ride rather than a push ride.

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  8. Super job Jen and Connor! Love all the pics! I am going to guess 4:50.

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  9. Ok, I need a cob! You guys look so happy!

    I am guessing you were fast if you are thinking XC bit... 4:40 which is about 286 mpm

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    1. You do need a Cob, seriously, we were rocking around that course and I never felt scared or out of control once. He's just so much fun.

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  10. Brilliant photos, I can see why you bought them all! Looks like you had a blast! Um I'm going with 4:20. You did say you were going fast. I think that's 307mpm unless my math is faulty

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    1. Thanks, and congratulations on your Dressage show!

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  11. Your faces are priceless. You look like you're having an absolute blast!!! Love it-- awesome job!

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    1. Haha thanks, we really were, both of us.

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  12. Yay! Huge congrats on a great weekend. Apparently no one thinks you made time (even though you said you finished on dressage score!)! I think you went 4:40

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    1. We did finish on our Dressage score!

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  13. Great job! I'm guessing your time was 4:55, which would mean that you rode at approximately 271 meters per minute. I'm glad my dad taught me how to do math well, though it isn't my strongest subject.

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  14. That looks like it was really fun! I prefer when cross country comes before stadium. Almost feels like cheating going the other way. You are braver than me jumping up 6in. Barry and I took the 2'3" option for a couple of times before 2'6".
    I will guess 448. I know Barry and I were closest to optimum time on that level course and Connor is very similar. Too tired for the math though. So glad you are getting to show this year.

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    1. If you put it that way it seems intimidating! I think we can do it though. Now that he really understands why we're out there for cross-country, and since we're cleaning up in Starter, I think it's time. Thanks for the entry!

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  15. Oh my goodness. I cannot wait to be eventing my cob. So adorable! Well done. I'd guess you came in at 4:35 which would be about 291 meters per minute (if my math is right)

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    1. Yes, they are so much fun! Some of the jump judges were giggling as I went past, I can only imagine, this small ball of feathers literally galloping around starter with his head up in the air whinnying. I would have laughed at me too!

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  16. HELL YEAH! Look at that boy GO!
    I'm all depressed because I had to scratch my weekend, but I feel better already living vicariously through you!! :)

    Optimum speed for starter: 333 meters per minute...
    Your time: 4:48
    He looked like he was rocking a tad faster than optimum! LOL

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    1. Aw, I am so sorry you had to scratch! Connor did love it, it's taken multiple events for him to 1) realize what was going on and 2) realize it's fun, but he has. He was a LOT faster than optimum ;)

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  17. I'm going to take a wild guess, because I don't know that much about eventing, and say 4:51 just because :)

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    1. Hey, I like wild guesses! Thanks!

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  18. Awesome! You guys look great!
    I am going to take a huge shot in the dark here. . .4:44?

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  19. Wow! You guys look awesome!! Love the pics of you with the big smile! I'll guess 4:35!

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    1. Thanks! You and Gavin can totally do it too!

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  20. The pictures are great! I'm so proud of you both! I'm going to guess that you were having, "too much fun to pull him up, and rode it in 3:42.' ;o)

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  21. I'm guessing 4:49. You guys are rocking it!

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  22. Um, too lazy to google how this all works, so I will just guess a time of 4:42. You guys looked great, he's so adorable.

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  23. You guys look amazing! Glad you had so much fun that is what it is all about! I'm going to guess 4:55 which would be 271.12 mpm.

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  24. My guess is 4:25....and 325 mpm

    great work!

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