Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mai oui, Bastian est tres formidable!

Sorry I haven't kept up with my blogging, its been a rather crazy 2 months and I have no excuse, but believe you me, this post should more than make up for :)

So last time we left our struggling hero, Bastian, he had two refusals XC at the Lost Hounds Pony Club horse trials because his rider didn't do her job and get him around with confidence. I had already sent in my entry for South Farm for BN, but contacted them and asked to be put into the Starter Division. I needed to get my confidence up. So with that done we concentrated on riding forward and me not grabbing him with my right hand. It was like my right hand had a mind of its own and going up to a fence I would yank it back and out repeatedly and I had no idea I was doing it. Kristin made me jump with my right hand holding my left hand and you know what, it was perfect! Really weird feeling, but perfect. I wasn't interfering with him.

So off we went to South Farm with Cindy and Banff. I wasn't 100% there for Dressage, he was a little stuck behind my leg and I didn't put in the best test, we came away with a 30.5 and were sitting in second place. XC was next and I kept my warm-up perfect. All I needed was about 5 minutes, we popped over the warm-ups and did the warm-up log they had. He was forward and I felt good.

5....4...3...2..2..Have a great ride! My plan was to trot our first fence...Bastian decided he wanted to canter so I panicked for a stride then said okay and off we went. Jumped it like a champ, the only one he looked at was fence 2 and he just took a little peek, after that we actually cantered all of our fences, I was with him, we didn't take any from a standstill and we didn't hit any. So much improvement! Here is the video:

Did you see how AWESOME that was????? I actually rode, I was so happy :) So we maintained our second place spot. On Sunday we came back for Stadium. A pretty technical course, but still very inviting fence-wise. Check out our first two fences, they were perfect!

Again, we didn't jump any from a standstill and we didn't hit any. This was what we needed, we needed to just get our gallop on and go without being intimidated by anything. We finished in 2nd by just one point (1st had a 29), so close.....So our last event of the year ended quite well :)

After South Farm, I had just two weeks until the NODA Dressage Shows at Grand Haven. This was my big chance to get my Qualifying scores for Training and First for Regionals, no pressure or anything. LOL. Kristin kicked our butts in lessons and we got a lot sorted out, like the elusive element of straightness and making my corrections more subtle. Well all I have to say is that it worked!

I got all my qualifying scores and am Kentucky bound in October! Woot! Bastian and I owned Training Level, we scored a 70% on Saturday and a 73.2% on Sunday, placing first both times. Oh yeah, we did. :P He felt sooooo good. Our Sunday Score also earned us the Training Level Reserve Champion Award for the AA division (Champion had a 73.5%, close!)We got a 65% and 63% for first level on Saturday and Sunday respectively. We placed 2nd in both of those classes. Sunday's score would have been fabulous, but on our first canter loop I half halted too much at X and he did a brilliant trot transistion :( Otherwise it was really really great!

So Bastian was a champ. Now, here is the cool part. Are you ready? Should I build the suspense more? Maybe do a whole 'nother paragraph about the awesome food that they offer at Grand Haven or how well everyone did and how awesome Kristin is as a trainer and instructor to have gotten me to the point where I can score 70s in Training Level....or maybe I should just tell you. Or maybe wait? I just can't seem to decide what to do.....

Okay, here it is: My judge on Saturday for First Level and Sunday for Training Level was an FEI*** Para-Equestrian Judge. After our Training Level test when the runner went to go get the tests (the runner happened to be the Show Secretary at that moment)she told her that she wanted to speak with me during lunch and that she felt that me AND my horse had a lot of potential and she wanted to see us work toward being selected for the 2012 WEG.

How friggin' awesome is that! All my hard work has finally gotten me noticed (and I have to give a HUGE hats off to Kristin because without her guidance and no-nonsense work hard kick ass lessons we would NOT be here). So Kristin and I spoke with her and she kept saying how much potential she thought we had and I mentioned that I would start looking for a more suitable horse and she was like "why?". Even better than thinking that I have potential, she feels that Bastian has the ability to be competitive. We earned an 8 on Harmony between horse and rider on our test, how about them apples?! Not just a safe ride and not just a nice score, but COMPETITIVE!!!! My lil' Bastian boy an international pony! Riding planes and learning how to wear a beret and speak, okay maybe I'm getting ahead of myself!

So she said Kristin should start riding Bastian and getting him schooled on the second level stuff that is in my test (shoulder in, mediums, simple transitions, collected gaits,etc) and I should start riding horses that can do those things so I can learn how do them. Next year I should ride the tests as often as possible so I get a year of experience and attend a couple of CPDI/CDI, (I don't really know the abbreviations yet, but big time shows!) so I get comfortable with that kind of pressure and work towards getting on the selection list at the end of 2013 beginning of 2014.

Grand Haven's secretary said they would add the tests to the shows next year for me :) So now I have to get an FEI passport for Bastian and I need to get my Classification changed from just USEF to FEI. I am soooooo excited. Lots of details to work out and I've got to start seeking out sponsorships and donations to make all of this economically feasible, but I'm gonna get it done one way or another.

Our next show is the MSEDA Show in Kentucky in September. I'm taking Bastian and doing not only First Level, but we're making our Second Level debut with Second One. I don't expect to dazzle anyone, but I'm hoping I can hold my own. I've watched others make the move to Second Level and its one of those funky levels that a lot of people seem to struggle with. Bastian and I have to learn how to ROCK second level. I'm pretty excited about it.

So that's my news! I'm hoping to start serious training in January as the next two months are devoted to prepping for Regionals and I'll probably give him about a month off of real work (as in light hacks a few days a week) then get ourselves ready for serious boot camp starting in January! If anyone wants to help out send me a message! I've got some great fund raising ideas in mind and am hoping to try and secure some sponsors. Kerrits, watch out, cause you are getting a letter seeing as how I pretty much exclusively wear your clothes! LOL