Jump Start HT: XC

Saturday afternoon after SJ, I walked XC twice, as usual.  Once with my trainer, and once by myself.  It was...intimidating...to say the least.


I didn't have to jump this, nobody had to jump this, but walking past it from stabling to XC warmup is enough to make you pee your pants.  Or maybe that's just me.

My trainer's key points from the walk were:
- We do not have hills like this in Indiana. You are going to feel like he's going too fast going downhill, but relax and let him go.  Keep his hind end engaged with half halts every so often (we talked about where exactly those should be). Conserve both of your energy where you can by resting your hands on his neck and using pulley rein half halts.  He's going to get tired.

All I could think was, we were 30 seconds over time at FRV, how are we going to make time on this hilly course, even with the MPM being 25m slower? (325mpm vs 350mpm at FRV).  It kept me up that night.  And it was nice to be kept up by that instead of "Is he going to jump these massive fences?" like last time.


Fence 1, right out of the box, was sticky.  But it's always sticky, AND I have since talked to a Welsh Cob owner who goes Prelim who says it's a Cob thing to be weird to the first three fences of every course, and to jump up instead of across.  Made me feel better.
Credit: Trainer

After 1, it was a looooong uphill to 2, a solid log ramp at the top of the hill.  We shaved time by making a right turn immediately after 1 instead of taking the sweeping turn I saw other people do.  No pictures of 2.  Then 3 was a loooong downhill to a ramp with greenery and flowers.  I just let him go down it, with half halts at 1/3, and 2/3 down, before sitting up just before we got to it.

Credit: Trainer

4 was haybales, which he jumped pretty normally...

Credit: Trainer

Then there was 5...

Credit: Xpress Photo

But let's back up a second, because my mom and the pro's got this cluster of a fence from all angles!  Hooray!

About 20 feet before 5 there was a road, and when we walked the course, my trainer and I said basically at the same moment: "He's going to be so concerned that the ground looks different he's not going to look for that fence."

And even with the soundest game plan in the world and me going "Connor, there's a fence.  Connor, the fence.  Connor, FENCE!" he was all "THE GROUND LOOKS DIFFERENT WHY!"

Exhibit A:

Stunned, the event horse suddenly sees the fence in front of him and thinks about wiggling out of his predicament!
Credit: Mom
This, predictably, led to a less than beautiful flailing of the body parts - all of both of our body parts - over top of 5:
Credit: Mom

But like any good event horse with a 5th leg, he fixed his own mistake and cleared it with room to spare.
Credit: XPress Photo

...it just wasn't pretty.
Credit: Mom

His back legs MIGHT be tucked into his sheath in this picture.
Credit: XPress Photo

Credit: XPress Photo

We survived 6 (house), 7 (giant table that we did NOT jump from a standstill this time thank you very much), and 8 (brush)
Credit: Mom

Brush can be up to 3'3 in BN, and I have long thought Connor would leap for the stars the first time we did it, but he jumping it fairly normally.
Credit: XPress Photo

 9 ended up being tricky...it was solid ramps, but painted to mimic a jump with cutouts seen at higher levels that is an optical illusion for them.  Connor was disillusioned and scrambled all over the place heading to A, so we jumped in sticky and I landed on his neck.  It was all I could do to keep him straight to B, which I lost both of my stirrups over and had to pull him to a walk to get them back.

Credit: My cell phone!

10 was a step down over a log to a tiny drop, maybe 6", and I think if we hadn't been going so fast he might have objected.  As it was, he had a moment of hesitation before giving up and being normal over it.  Hooray, good pony!

11 rode nicely and was a gallop fence for me.

Credit: Mom

12, a table, was the trick of the day.  If you rode it at an angle from 11 in order to conserve time, it looked to the horse like you were jumping into a pile of people, jumps and water.  If you rode straight out from 11 and then took a right turn to 12, it looked like you were riding into an open field.  I knew that going in, but didn't stick to the plan very well, and he got sticky.

Credit for series: XPress Photo




And then we did our fanciest fancy prancing for some reason:

Fancy prancing...totally out of place!
Credit: XPress Photo

Credit: XPress Photo
Rolex and Connor!
Credit: Mom

After that, all that was left was one tiny jump and one average sized jump:

Average sized jump
Credit: Mom

And then one of my favorite pictures, me asking Connor to gun it for the finish flags, and him responding enthusiastically.  So much fun, and what a good boy:

Credit: Mom

We ended up double clear, and forty seconds under time!

This is my "No way, we were seriously under time?  Seriously?  I don't believe you!" face.
Credit: Mom
Best picture of the entire weekend, thanks Mom!

Trainer telling Connor he was a good boy.
Credit: Mom
Jumped all the fences and lived to tell about it, plus came inside the time: we won!

44 comments:

  1. I've really enjoyed your story about this event, and I'm so chuffed that you won at the end! Just: so many congratulations!! It almost makes me want to try eventing, but that's a while off for me, so I'll just live vicariously through your victories. Well done!!

    bonita of A Riding Habit

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    1. Thanks so much! I hope you do get to try it someday, even at the speedbump levels it's a lot of fun.

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  2. HOORAY! Congrats on being a total BAD ASS on XC :)

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  3. Congrats! That is a great picture of you two. Beautiful smile. :)

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    1. Thanks! My mom is good at capturing the best pictures.

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  4. Your face says it all! Great job!!

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  5. wooooo way to go!! that pic is great - as is the fancy prancing lol. he must have been hauling butt to come in under time even after having to walk for your stirrups. excellent job navigating the stickiness and getting it done :)

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    1. Haha yes, he really was. In the end it was probably a good thing I had to pull him up to get my stirrups back. That's one of my takeaways - I need a watch!

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  6. This is awesome. And so is the fancy prancing.

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    1. Haha, thanks, I loved the fancy prancing picture.

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  7. YEA! You go girl!! Congrats on an absolutely FANTASTIC event!!!!

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  8. Aww, you guys look so great together! Connor is so athletic and tidy, and you gave him a really great ride. Congrads on a well-earned blue ribbon!

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  9. THAT FIRST FENCE IS TERRIFYING IT. I was about to freak out and leave insane comments if y'all had to jump that! Simon also would pull a Connor if the ground changed colors, but your pony was such a good boy and marched on anyway. Y'all look great!

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    1. Lol! Made me laugh. It is so intimidating just to stand next to! I never want to jump that ever in my entire life. Yeah the ground changing colors is definitely only something you'd see on an XC course, it really threw him for a loop! Thanks!

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  10. Yay! Great job! Love the photo of you guys gunning it for home!

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    1. Thanks, me too, longest single stride that pony has ever taken in his life!

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  11. Huge congrats to you and Connor!

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  12. You guys look fabulous! Congratulations on being double clear!!!!

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  13. Fancy prancing trot is awesome! Great job, what an awesome weekend that must have been!

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    1. It was one I won't forget, for sure.

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  14. Wow! Good job you two! That's a wonderful partnership you have. And his fancy prancing is pretty funny, too.

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    1. Thanks! I loved the fancy prancing. Highest knee action on the XC course, right here.

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  15. I feel like a proud Connor fan girl for how awesome you guys did--I can't even imagine how you feel!

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    1. Yay, you're his first official fangirl!

      Seriously thanks though. I am very proud, and enjoying it until my lesson tonight, then it's all over.

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  16. Congrats on a great job!!! The pictures are great and I love to hear the story about all the fences! Love the pic of you gunning it. Too funny! :)

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    1. Haha thanks, he looks like a little Thoroughbred there.

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  17. I hope this isn't insulting, but you guys are TOTALLY ADORABLE together! What a great match and I'm so impressed with how you made a plan, rode it, and were successful.

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    1. Not insulting at all, especially since I know you know I'm not a 10 year old! Thanks!!

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  18. Just catching up on your blog... CONGRATS!!! I'm SO excited for you! What a fantastic event at the KHP of all places! So many great pictures too... you guys are one of my favorite blogger teams to follow. =-)

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    1. Awwww, thanks that means a lot! It won't be long before you and Hero will be kicking butt at your own shows!

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  19. Great photos! Your mom did brilliant, I love the Rolex & Connor one as well as the smiley Jen and Connor one.
    Well done, it looked like a really good xc round. xc is rarely pretty, it's all about getting round clear and fast. Mission accomplished.

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  20. Wow thanks for the run down for those of us too chicken to event ;) You guys look great, I love the fancy prancing pic. The best is the second to last with your smile, that feeling is priceless.

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