Monday, June 21, 2010

Green is a lucky color!

There are times in your eventing career, where you stop and take a look back at all that you've done.  You remember all of the horses that you've had, all of the heartbreaks you've endured, and all of the highlights.  It has been a long up and down road for me, just as it's been for most riders!  There are a lot of heartbreaks, but I must say that the highlights stand out the brightest.  I have been BLESSED with truly amazing horses, and Bug definately tops that list.  He's truly a once in a lifetime horse!  
This past Friday, my husband, Jeremiah, and I woke up around 3 am, loaded up Bug, and we headed up North to Erie, Pennsylvania.  It was a long, boring drive, but I was very excited.  We were heading to the Lost Hounds Horse Trials, and Bug and I were going to compete in our very first Intermediate.  Lost Hounds is held at the Erie Hunt and Saddle Club, which is a lovely little place with a very laid back atmosphere.  
I walked the course on Friday for the first time.  The optimum time on course was 4:45 which included 31 jumping efforts!  It was a very windy course, as they had to make a lot of loops to make the distance.  I was pretty sure that making time was not going to be an option. There were a lot of good questions, though it wasn't a HUGE course by any means.  I definately thought it was doeable, but I was going to have to be good about keeping my eye and my shoulders.  I was also giving myself "the talk" constantly that I was going to have to set him up and then leave him alone.  I couldn't be picking at him to the fences.  There were two different corner combinations, a bounce into the water with a one stride on the way out, an interesting pimple jump with a huge downside into the water and bending line over two skinnies on a one stride, another log with a huge drop hill straight to a bank up one stride down then skinny, coffin on an angle, etc.  I knew there would be plenty to keep Mr. Smarty Pants interested.  
We have been working very hard on our dressage.  Bug is not the most uphill of horses, and he has always struggled with his roundness and rideability in dressage.  However, I can confidently say that we have been making leaps and bounds in his work.  Granted, we still have a lot to do, but he has been soooo much rounder and more rideable.  He struggles to hold the roundness during his lateral work, etc, but he's getting there.  He was very rideable in our test.  It was definately the best test we've had at a recognized event.  We had two bobbles, but he came right back to being good.  There wasn't any spooking or acting silly.  He was great. We ended up with a 44.8, which was a bit disappointing, but this put us 13th out of 22, so I don't think the judge was giving away many scores that day.  I was still very happy with how my boy went, and I was looking forward to jumping on Sunday.
Bug has really started to know his job.  He's always been a pretty cool cucumber in warm-up for XC, but he has started getting a bit excited.  He was jigging in the walk, trying to veer toward the start box, and getting worked up when other horses would gallop past.  All I could do was laugh.  He wasn't bad about it, he was just showing me that he was ready.  When we left that start box, he shot out of it like he was shooting out of the starting gate!  He was ready!  My horse was AMAZING!  He jumped everything out of stride and was perfectly rideable!  There was no time on course where I felt like he wasn't listening to me.  It felt like the best ride.  I had one moment at a super skinny between trees where I got ahead, but he saved my butt.  The rest of the course rode great!  I didn't push for time, but I let him go at a pace that he felt comfortable and safe.  He was such a star.  A lot of the horses had trouble at both waters, but Bug handled everything like a champ.  I couldn't wipe the grin off of my face!!  He jumped around clear with only 8 time penalties!!  There was only one horse that made time, and that was a horse that had just run Rolex this spring.  haha  I was more than happy with him.  This moved us up to 9th.
I walked the show jumping course with the realization that it was very big, and it was going to be tough to make time, as it was outside in the grass in a big area.  I knew that I needed to ride forward and in balance to everything.  The SJ courses are known to be tough there.  I had my plan, and Bug and I went into the arena.  He was such a star again!  There were two places where I needed to push him a bit more to the base, but in true Bug style, he jumped way up over everything.  I was more than thrilled.  He was one of only 4 double clear rounds!!  
All of this hard work placed us 6th out of 22 in our very first Intermediate!!  I am sooooo happy with my superstar boy.  He is such a blessing and an amazing horse.  I am so happy and thankful!!

Here are the You Tube links to the video that I have now:

Thanks for reading our story!  Kick on!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

*Insert Creative Title Here*

I'm just dropping in for a quick update.  
 (pic is Bug showjumping at The Fork)

Bug and I have been working very hard and gearing up for the Lost Hounds HT and our first Intermediate!  Our dressage has gotten pretty amazing for home.  Can we repeat it at a show?!?!  That is the question!  I'm sure going to try to keep it all together.  It's amazing what this little horse has in him.  I ride around with a big grin on my face, as he's definately the coolest horse in the world!  Not that I'm biased...  We have also been working on our straightness and accuracy while jumping.  I don't have a very big arena yet, but I figure that if we can make turns to jumps in my little space, we can make any turn!  I'm so proud of my boy.  
In the fitness area of things, I have been trying to do some different things with Bug to keep things fresh.  It gets a big boring trotting around in circles, so I've started taking him to Stone Mountain State Park to do his trots.  They have lovely manicured trails and the shade of the forests eases the heat a bit.  They also have a huge creek that runs through the park as well, and Bug LOVES to trot and play in the water.  He thinks of it as a play date rather than fitness work!  We have also started going to the Yadkin Valley Hounds ( Timed Trail Rides (they're basically Hunter Paces) for our gallops.  Bug LOVES these.  I think he will be plenty fit and ready for Lost Hounds.  
We will be hitting up Hillcrest Farms Schooling Combined Test ( next Wednesday to do an Intermediate Combined Test and run through our dressage test an extra time.  We will be leaving Friday for Erie, PA!
                                         (Bug up the bounce bank in the rain at the Virginia HT)
As for my other boy, Renn, I took him to the vet today for an ultrasound of his leg.  He has no tears or lesions on the suspensory or the suspensory branches!  He can go back to light work starting Friday.  The vet said that he must have just had a strain, but we're going to be very careful and start him back slowly.  I'm sooooo happy!  I've been praying that he would be okay.  Thank God!  I was prepared to hear bad news, but I got the  news that I wanted.  I'm very excited to get back on my boy.
That's all of the news for now.  I hope all is well with everyone.  Heels down and kick on!