June 30, 2013

Leg Up HT - with Pictures and Video!

Edit: My RSS feeder (Feedly) cut this post off on my phone after the video with a "Visit Website" button.  There are a lot of cute pony pictures after the video, you'll miss out if you stop there!

What an emotional weekend.  From the low point on Friday night, to completely neutral after a terrible Dressage ride, to elation after finishing on my Dressage score, (which was my goal for this show) it was a rollercoaster.  A beautiful, fun, rollercoaster that I am completely hooked on and wish I could do every single weekend!

Happy rider and distracted pony are ready for Dressage

By Saturday morning I had let go of Friday, and we had an amazing, focused Dressage warmup. Then, sometime between walking out of the warmup ring and entering the ring for my test, he got his tongue over the bit!  What a terrible time to try that one out for the first time, buddy!  I had no idea what was wrong with him until my trainer saw it afterward, and only after I knew that did my test, in which he was super braced, his head was up, he was unsteerable and he was pinwheeling around my inside leg, make a lot of sense.  By the grace of some generous judging (scores from 4-7), we got a 46, which landed us in 2nd to last in out division.  I was really in control of my emotions after Friday, though, so I let it go and headed for SJ.  I kept telling myself, "I'm living the dream!" because actually getting to event still seems so surreal!

Video of our entire show jumping round:

It felt AWESOME!  I said I wanted to do this show for show jumping redemption, and I got it.  His canter wasn't as compressed and over his hocks as I've gotten it in practice, but these jumps were so small, that was not a huge deal.  The important thing is that he was confident and enjoying it, and it was SMOOTH, unlike GDHT, and we went double clear, moving us up to 5th.

Then this happened:
Dear Johnson County Commissioners: J Barn needs gutters, yo.
and Connor took a nap on my shoulder as I sat in a lawn chair in front of his stall, watching and listening to the rain fall.  It was a cute bonding moment.

View of napping pony
Finally, it was time for XC, and the sun came out just as I was heading over for it.  We popped just a few warmup fences, until my position was really solid after some coaching, and headed out.  My little cross-country machine ate up every fence like it was his job!  He took a trot step before almost every fence, and I think that's because the footing was chewed up and sticky at the takeoff point, since we were the last XC ride of the day.  I don't mind that kind of caution.  Otherwise, we cantered the whole thing, and when I pulled him up at the end of the 1,408m long course, which had three more jumps than at GD, I realized he wasn't even blowing.  We've been working on his stamina with hacks and jump schools, and it's clearly paid off.

Check out these awesome XC photos taken by Andrea of My Horses Love Eventing, a fellow eventer who owns another Castleberry horse, a Welsh Cob X Warmblood cross by Connor's sire.  She was jump judging/taking photos at jump 3, the step/coop option (we took the step).

And here's another XC photo, taken by a teammate.  This is fence 7:

I'm jumping ahead, but check out that scope and that improved pony form!
His only real hesitation was when I asked him to canter through the water, which, as I asked, I realized we'd only trotted water before.  So he cantered in like a brave boy and then broke to this trot with ridiculously high knee action, even for Mr. Cob Trot himself.  I can't blame him, the water is pretty deep for a 14hh pony with short cannon bones!

In the end, it was a good thing I cantered the whole thing because there turned out to be an optimum time for the Starter XC course, which I didn't know about and thought was unusual.  Only two rides in our division finished with no time faults, and we were one of them, so we ended up placing a very unexpected 2nd!  Regardless of what color ribbon we got, I was over the moon about the way he handled XC and SJ.  He even jumped the bogey haybales without questioning or swerving!  Where did my spooky pony go, and who is this mature, confident jumping machine that replaced him???  I love it!

I also got to meet Sabrina, aka Weenie Eventer, (which was an awesome converstion.  We're both on horseback passing each other and she stops and says, "Hey, are you Cob Jockey?  I'm Weenie Eventer!") and Andrea of My Horses Love Eventing for the first time.  I also saw Amy and Steady in the warmup ring but had a debate in my own head over whether or not that was really Steady, and did not say hi - I feel terrible!  They had an awesome weekend, I hope she gets a chance to post a writeup.  Steady is going really well!

I'm so proud of Connor, so excited for the way the weekend went, and so ready for my next event - which is wholly dependent on Nick getting a job.  Come on, baby, this pony is ready to go!


  1. He wasn't even thinking about the jumps, which is good because that means he is confident in his rider and himself. It has taken Super Kid three years to get there and once there everything is easier. Congrats on the 2nd place!! It was awesome to finally meet you and ponyface

  2. How exciting! It's nice to know there was a cause for the difficult dressage test and the jumping is so fun. What an excellent boy.

  3. You are braver than me changing bits right before a show. I am surprised you got him to do anything once his tongue was over the bit. Rosemary did that today while driving and would not move and stuck her head in the air.
    I hope you get another show this year because last time you got the dressage and this time your got the jumping so third time should be your time for the whole shebang to come together. So happy your hard work has paid off so well.

  4. Numbers are better than letters. And finishing on your dressage score is always good! I bet next time you guys get to go out it will be awesome! As for the tongue over bit deal at least you had some kind of reasoning for the ride? Congrats on what sounds like a great experience.

  5. So glad it all turned around, you guys looke awesome and how great is it that you got to meet all those bloggers.

  6. Good job! Hope everything works out so you can event again soon :)

  7. So excited for you Jen!!! 2nd place :) The pics make me homesick, though. Where's the ribbon pic?

  8. This is brilliant, well done! What a high :)
    Love love love the new header photo!

  9. Congrats on your first event!!! Where do you get cross rails at an event?? I would love that for my young guys!