Skip to main content

Bel Joeor Sale and Giveaway!

Amanda from Bel Joeor is hosting a big sale on her Etsy site and a giveaway on her blog!  She makes beautiful saddle covers and bags.  I highly recommend checking out her shop and entering her contest.  


Area I Schooling Horse Trial Championships! - August 20, 2017

Area I started a schooling horse trial championships in 2015, which I found out about when I was pregnant and definitely not going to be able to compete in, let alone qualify for, about a month out from when the baby was to be born LOL!  I was bummed to think I never had the chance to try with Dreamy, but I wondered if someday Snappy would be able to do it.  Obviously we all sat around getting fat during 2015, me because of the aforementioned baby and the mares because they mostly just were fed, turned out, and brushed during my high risk pregnancy!  I didn't bother trying to qualify during 2016, because Snappy was just learning to be a show horse and we spent the year doing dressage shows and 2-phases, with our first three phase as our second to last outing in October.  We earned a second place at that event, giving us 3 of the necessary 4 points towards qualifying. You earn 4 points for a first place finish, automatically qualifying.  When 2017 rolled around, as you can read about on this blog, Snappy and I won all five events we entered this year at Hilltop and Green Acres, essentially qualifying five times over haha. 
All iPhone photos in this post taken by Rachel

It is a three hour drive down to Millis, MA to Apple Knoll Farm where the championships were held.  Our dressage time wasn't until 1:24, with XC at 2:56, and stadium at 4:29, but I still decided to leave around 8AM.  We picked up my horsey friend Rachel in Portsmouth, NH, about halfway into our trip south.  We arrived at 11:30, which gave us plenty of time to park, get acclimated to the grounds, and walk the XC course.  I have never been to Apple Knoll and it is gorgeous!  It is a great facility and it made me wish I lived closer to show there more often.  

After showing all year at Intro B in the qualifying events, it was a surprise to have the Championships ask us to ride Intro A.  Hmmmm..... Plus, I don't think Intro A flows well at all.  We did Intro A a few times last year but not at all this year.  We warmed up fine but the test emphasizes the medium walk, which is NOT Snappy's better gait.  Everything was a 6.5 on the test except for a 7 on rider position, which sat us at a 35 after dressage and in 6th place, just 4 points behind the leader.  I was bummed with the score, but for a test that doesn't show her strong points like Intro B and with a "pure dressage" BNT as the judge, I knew we would not be getting the great scores we have earlier this year.

Headed to dressage
Also, both Hilltop and Green Acres have fairly bulky XC courses; even though the division calls for 18" jumps, we did many fences at 2' and the course had 14 fences total.  The XC course at Championships was just nine teeny tiny logs.  Not kidding, you can see the entire thing here.  This is fence 1 and you can barely since fence 2 in the distance.  Every single fence was the same tiny log.  Every. Single. Fence. (Yes, while the first fence might look tiny and inviting, I sorta did expect there to be a few other types of fences and maybe some bulkier heights).  
Ummmmmm  :-(
I shouldn't complain because the course didn't give me any worries.  But at the same time, it was disappointing and completely underwhelming.  It made the entire thing a dressage show instead of a true event.  And let's face it, we may have won our five events this year, but not because we won dressage.  In fact, we were ALWAYS second in dressage and moved up to win because we went clean in both XC and stadium.  

But these logs were barely jumps (in fact, Snappy tripped over #7 because I don't think she realized there was a jump in front of her....) and if someone couldn't get over them in my senior rider division, well, then they probably weren't ready to show at all.  Snappy barely jumped the fences with any real effort, so many of the pics look like a huge trot stride with a log in the way hahahaha.  When it was over (and of course, it went fine and was boring), I told Rachel I didn't even have a speck of adrenaline or that awesome "high" you get after a XC run that makes you want to go do it again.  It was more like, "I tacked up, changed my clothes, and sweated like a pig (it was HOT!) for THIS!?!" sigh


The stadium course had ten fences and it was a good course.  There were some decent turns and bending lines, so at least it wasn't just tiny crossrails and a figure eight.  I had hoped for a mix of cross rails and verticals like we have seen this year, but it was just crossrails.  The course went fine, though Snappy was definitely hot and tired and sore (more on that in a minute....).  She was well behaved and even cantered between a few fences.

Overall, while I am glad I can say I qualified for and competed in Championships, I feel slightly underwhelmed by the entire thing.  Yes, I appreciate all the effort put in to hold the event, the farm is gorgeous, and it is always fun to show horses!  And I will probably try it again (hopefully at a higher level!) someday because it was fun.  I am proud of us as a team and for going out there and meeting my goal for 2017.
Sixth place overall!


This was supposed to be the highlight of our summer, not the end of our show season, but unfortunately we are done for the year.  I knew this going into the show. It was a day of excitement but also sadness.  I had planned three more events for our fall season, but in fact, we are done all together.  This was Snap Dancer's final event, as she is just no longer sound enough for more jumping and riding.  Her hocks, stifles, and pelvis joints are completely and utterly worn out, perhaps from her many years of racing (160 starts and 38 wins!), but also because her hind end conformation exacerbates the issue and makes it impossible for her ligaments to act as the shock absorbers they should be.  No amount of supplements, injections, or chiropractic work is going to keep her sound, though she does seem comfortable enough right now with a daily dose of Previcox and I will continue her monthly Polyglycan shots.  She was "ok" for the day at Championships, but I could tell by the end of her long day that she was sore.  In the end, maybe it was for the best that the XC fences were tiny and didn't challenge her to make a larger jumping effort.  Maybe it was meant to be and actually helped her.

In the end, our Area I Schooling HT Championships experience was a mixture of bittersweet feelings.  Happiness and pride at being there in the first place, slight disappointment at the lack of challenge, and intense sadness that I knew each experience we were having was the very last time I would ever do it with Snappy.  I tacked and warmed up for each phase knowing it was over.  That sense of finality was difficult for me.  

I am so grateful to have had so much fun with this mare in the two short years we competed.  I am thankful Rachel was there with me at Championships, not only being an awesome groom and photographer, but also giving me the moral support and friendship I truly needed.  Snappy will tell me when she's had enough of being stoic and the pain becomes too much to handle despite medications.  I know I will listen carefully and do the absolute right thing for her in the end.  Until then, I will watch this sweet plain brown mare happily graze in her field and devour too many horse cookies, and I will simply enjoy her company.  This mare can do no wrong in my eyes and will forever have a special place in my heart for coming into my life when she did and for teaching me so many things.

Click here to see all the photos from Rachel's real camera as well as from the professional photographer!

Celebrating!  Judgey McJudgey horse did not approve of our shenanigans!



Comments

emma said…
omg, Snappy's expression in that last photo, omg i die hahahaha!!

congrats again on the ribbon and the 'championship' experience. i honestly kinda expected that the dressage would be tougher than past events bc.... championships. (intro A tho???? reeeeally?????). but.... agreed that the xc course definitely seems a bit like a let down. bummer. like, just bc the jumps are 18" doesn't mean that you don't have design options, course designers! c'mon! i have personally seen the most freakin adorable 12" cabins complete with doors and window shutters!!

anyway tho - congrats all the same! at least in some ways it's nice to have a horse who's bored by all that and feeling ready for a bigger challenge!! and also super nice to have a local assoc that runs a schooling championship. my org keeps talking about it but hasn't made it happen yet. fingers crossed for one day!
OnTheBit said…
You did awesome knowing it was your last event with her. I basically get way too emotional whenever that happens and ruin the whole day because I can't focus.

I know it wasn't the end you wanted, but considering the walk heavy test and easy courses you two did great!