Whitney Weston

Whitney Weston Eventing

Monday, January 30, 2012

Who needs a hayrack??

Wow, what a week! Training hit full-time with full intensity this week (hence the lack of posts!). Buck pushed the horses and myself; jumping them higher and more technical than ever before. It wasn't comfortable or easy, but man did I learn a lot. For example, a huge group of us went to Longwood to xc school (beautiful facility!). Buck took his horse over ditches, skinnies, large oxars, ditch n walls, through 2 different fields. Then he said "Okay, do that". Alrighty! Fizzy was wonderful, really brave over everything, I was so proud! Then we played "follow the leader" with varying success. Buck took off on his horse and we all followed in a line jumping whatever he jumped. Fizzy was a little confused but seemed to catch on and was having fun. Until the last line! Buck went over some serious fences, quite large I would say intermediate at least. Fizzy did the first one, then stopped at the second. After a circle around she went over it, phew! I thought we were good to quit there, our first competition was this weekend and I wanted it to be a confidence building day. Buck rode over and mentioned that every time he had tried to take it easy on the horses before a competition he had major problems at the show and really regretted not pushing the  horses to confirm they can get over their "issue" fences. I really appreciated that he had taken the moment to talk to me like this, that he had once had the same thoughts i was having, and I was able to learn from him before I made the same mistakes!

The week went by crazy fast, with xc schooling almost everyday (with different horses), thursday I braided lots of horses to help buck out, then we left friday at 430am (ew) for Rocking Horse. Lusty was one of the first rides out at 8:14am. There wasn't the usual time to ride her several times at the show, do the magnetic blanket, and get her relaxed like we normally do. Also Buck was using the "special saddle" on Park Trader a couple rides before me, so I had to use my own which she doesn't like very much. This is the first show I have ever "hauled-in" to instead of getting there several days early (since I was last on the east coast anyway). I wasn't sure how Lusty would react, but we gave it a shot! The weather was also gross, raining, dark, with evil looking clouds overtop the dressage area.


The dream team after dressage
Even so, I tried to keep it chill for Lusty. We did a little warmup, I got off and grazed her by the ring, then took her back to relax at the trailer for 10minutes. 15min before our time I hopped on and we actually had quite a nice test! I certainly will need to work on our walk, but the canter and lateral movements were quite good.

Thanks ECP for the awesome
bell boots!!!
It was still raining when we did Lusty's show jumping a few hours later. The ring was really small, with most of the jumps squished close to the rails, making turns quite tight! Lusty was sooo good, despite the fact I was much to conservative for the height at hand, gathering a few rails, but lesson learned!

I had a few hours, checked out my courses, then fizzy had her dressage test. She was really good, didn't seem to mind the hauling in situation at all.

The next day was even crazier.....
It began on a good note with breaking our hayrack. Apparently from the rain the day before, a large tree above the entrance to rocking horse had a weighted down branch, which slowly took a bar off our hayrack as we strolled through. I was concerned this was a bad omen for the day, but what else could I do but laugh about it???

We had 5 rides on 3 different horses in 4 hours. Fizzy did a stellar show jump round, then a quick change (boots for her, shirt and vest for me) and trotted on down to xc. The course was nice, including an up bank bounce, which she had never done. Buck said to kick and hold on....done! Fizzy was amazing and it all felt so easy, she is certainly ready to move up to prelim in a few weeks ;)

Next was time to focus on Lusty xc. No pressure: only Bruce Davidson, previous owner and legend, following us around the whole course in his golf cart watching every move......No biggie: last xc course before we move up to advanced.....even so, I really tried to focus on being relaxed and in the moment, counting a rhythm throughout the whole course. While schooling with Buck during the week, he had me "keep lusty's ears up when coming to a big galloping fence". This helped me think more about rebalancing slightly in front of the fence, instead of trying to slow her down (which she always fights against anyway). The whole course felt smooth and easy. As per buck's orders, we went slow. I was surprised to find out we only had a few time faults. Buck was talking about riding inside everyones footprints on the course to be faster than everyone else. That combined with taking all galloping fences out of stride, we made good time without really trying. 

Thomas was a good boy, but pretty bored with Novice by now I think. A bit fussy in dressage, and jumped all his show jumps by like 3 feet!

All in all I am super happy with the weekend. My first show out here in ocala was a great success and learning experience, can't wait for more!!!

Jump like you mean it! -WW

1 comment:

  1. I am LOVING these posts! You are doing so incredibly Whitney! Rock on!!