Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chalking it up

Where to begin? At the beginning of course, but that would take too long, so we'll just start with Friday.

Cindy and I drove up to Erie to walk the XC course. I wasn't worried about any of them (well thats a lie, I was worried about fence 8, the green flower box, but it was entirely my worry-it just freaks me out) I walked the course, had a plan and told myself how I was going to gallop every fence and use my legs and whip and rock it. Same thing with Stadium, Stadium had a few oddly set fences, but we had a plan and again, it involved galloping FORWARD!

On Saturday, Cindy and I rolled out of the barn at 6:00 AM, with one very handsome chestnut Thoroughbred tucked in the trailer. The farrier cut Banff a bit too short and Cindy made the decision to not risk him on the hard ground at Erie and blow her entire season. They'll be up and running for South Farm so no worries there :) My dressage was at 8:40. We arrive and are right on time as far as getting ready and warmed up. Bastian feels great and we put in a very solid test, I thought the judge was a bit picky, but I'm also of course biased (lol). We came away with a 33 and were sitting in third place.

Unfortunately for me, that was the easy part. I'm totally backwards for eventing because dressage is my strongest My stadium time was at 1:12, I was exhausted so I took an awesome nap for about 2 hours-I was out. I decided I needed to be on at 12:30, I wasn't sure how to plan my stadium warm-up. Lots of factors going on, what if the warm up was crazy and I couldn't find my own space (Bastian has a thing about horses coming towards him that we haven't completely addressed yet, thank you dumb friesan at Regionals...grrrr). What if I couldn't get him forward enough? What if..... so I decided that more time was better. I didn't need it. We came to the warm up and I had him awesome, forward and kicking those fence's asses. Now we had about 30 minutes to wait until I actually went in...lesson learned, shorter warm up time, I go into the warm up with my game face on and get it done, I can't worry about all the other stuff. There is no other option but to DO IT. We started out okay, then lost it for fence 2, fence 3 was okay, four was horrible, lucky for me taking out the whole fence still only counts as one "rail." Then it was the moment of truth. I got my shit together and rode the rest of the course.

This was a big thing for me and thank you Kristin for bringing it to my attention in my lesson on Friday. I ride one fence and then I stop. I get so elated by the fact that I got over it and (hopefully) rode mostly well that I just let B stop. Which is or isn't good for schooling, but at a show over a course will not work. I have a crappy fence and I shut down and don't realize that the rest could be okay. But I have to ride and keep riding, one crappy fence doesn't mean the rest have to be crappy. So I manned up and I got us over fence 5 and took much more control over the rest of the course. See for yourself. Better than Buckeye CT and lots of room for us to improve-but at least there is improvement (and I think we looked super cute at least with the grey jacket and his little braids....)

So we had a rail, but no time penalties so we bumped our score up to 37, but managed to stay in 3rd place, a lot of people were having rails.

XC was scheduled just 1 hour later, at 2:12, so back to trailer where Cindy took care of my awesome little Luck Dragon and I drank some more brandy and got myself dressed for XC.

What to say about XC, fence one was iffy, but we got over it and took fence two for granted, we lost our pace way far out, fence three I was lucky he went over, same for four, the bank, then we had another stop at five, this one was a bit dirty, but after four iffy fences, he thought he had figured out what was going on, he's a quick learner and while he LOVES jumping, he really does need my help and when I don't do my job I can't say I blame him for being a bit naughty. But at this point I said enough, I whapped him good and we got over it on the second try and the next five fences were awesome. I galloped him and focused him and myself and he didn't bat an eye. I'm really hoping that the photographer was at the green flower stand, because that was our fence. I GALLOPED him up to it. As in I had two outcomes for this fence in my mind, one he was going to slam on the brakes and I would take the fence independently of Bastian and two he was going to take it like an old pro. I was seriously afraid of how fast we were going, but it was our best fence. This was the pace I need. This is what I have to learn. Through the water, over the stone wall (another pretty good fence) then over the log. Then a long gallop to the ditch. I was tired, but we kept going. We trotted the ditch, which he peeked at, but jumped. Then over another little log where I lost my stirrup and had to stop and it took me a good 20 seconds to get my stirrup back-more time faults) then galloped on to my last fence, didn't have enough pace, but had enough to get over and we were done.

My initial reaction was a mixture of about to be sick and pissed off. The stops were my fault, I hadn't done enough, I made mistakes that should never have happened, dumb simple mistakes that I know better than to make. I have got to get my mind in the game.

Here is the link to my XC video:

Upon further reflection I don't feel as pissed off, am I still disappointed in myself, yes. Thats me. I don't accept those mistakes in myself and the only option in my world is perfection (see the dressage diva coming out!!!) But looking at the facts, we did alright. I have not evented in 5 years. My last two events I was eliminated in dressage both times. Bastian has been to one event prior to this, Winona HT, everything at Winona was much quieter and low key. LHPC was the first time we actually galloped a course (and I use the term gallop loosely!), at Winona we trotted the whole thing. There were hardly any people on the course, at LHPC, there were people and chairs and tents and ambulances and OMG all sorts of things for Bastian to look at and look he did, his attention was everywhere for those first five fences until I got us together. We finished the course and believe you me, there were several times when the idea of retiring popped into my head, but I overruled it. I said no, you are here and you are not stopping just because you are a wimp, if you have a good reason, then stop, but you don't so you had better keep going. And go we did.

I need to be more fit. I was tired and having trouble keeping up my end of the bargain in riding Bastian, he on the other hand was super fit and could have gone out a second time! The fitness thing is frustrating for me because I have to do everything twice as much as a normal person to get even a normal fitness level. Please don't think I'm whining or pulling a oh poor me moment, but you know what, it sucks. So somewhere in my schedule I need to find time to walk more and fit in the SITS DVDs that I have (which are awesome, its just a consistency problem for me- I know, shut up with the whining and just do it....). Another option might be only doing events where its divided up over two days, doing all three phases in one day might just be too much for me. Some food for thought for sure.

We ended up in 11th place out of 15 starters with a penalty score of 94.2 :( Yikes! But we finished and all in all it gave me a lot of good experience and I intend to learn from all of it.

South Farm HT is in two weeks, we've always had good rides at South Farm, so I'm looking forward to putting my galloping into practice and getting it done. Wish us luck!

I leave it with a quote from the one and only Augustus McCrae:

Old Codger: Augustus McCrae, you won't walk 40 miles on that busted leg.

Gus: I might fool you.

Augustus McCrae, you are one of my heros and despite the obstacles that keep being thrown in my path, I hope to fool everyone too. :)

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