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NEJA Winter Schooling Jumper Show - April 25, 2021

Our final NEJA show in their winter series was at the end of April. On a whim, I decided to kick it old school and wear my rust breeches and navy coat. I definitely got a few "looks" from some of the HJ crowd, but it was worth being the weirdo eventer girl haha. It was a gorgeous spring day and our rounds were all excellent. Rejoice really seems to enjoy her newfound jumper pony status and powered around like she knew what she was doing haha.  My goals for the day were to win the ground poles speed class by taking a sneaky route someone's trainer would not approve of again haha like I did at the March show and to remember my jump off round like I did NOT do at the March show! Though there wasn't a super sneaky route to take in the ground poles class, I made sure to set her up for tight turns and rollbacks. We did win the class out of nine riders! Whoot! Our speed cross rails was also a good class, with Rejoice willing to listen to half halts, turn on a dime, and also

Green Acres Schooling HT - August 15, 2020

Again, before I recap this show and why we did it, I need to give some training background. After the not-so-good TE at CourseBrook's USEA event, Babette rode Ellie and we made some decisions. Ellie was stopping at fences with me because I did not always put my leg on, yes. However, in riding Ellie, Babette was able to realize that there were times that everything was "correct" and Ellie would still stop. She was fussing and flipping her head up at half halts before a fence that there were times she legit did not even see the fence until the very last moment. Then we had the OMG A FENCE surprise stop that even Babette wasn't prepared for. 

Huh.

I nervously worried aloud that maybe it was because she had an eyesight issue? No, as Babette was able to show me, when Ellie accepted the balancing half halt before the fence, saw the fence, and you were able to then put your leg on, she was fine. Like amazingly fine. Ellie had been jumping in the NS beval, so Babette had me move the reins out of the bottom ring. Ellie was still not impressed with the idea of half halting instead of blasting to every jump, but it helped immensely. Babette jumped her over everything, including a bunch of big Novice fences and even asked her to come into fences at angles. Ellie became a little jumping machine and Babette gleefully asked, "Can she be my next Novice horse?" (Side note: since the training ride with Babette, Ellie jumps in the NS bit she uses for dressage and it works super!)

Then it dawned on me. We were signed up for the fall event at Course Brook on September 5, but I suddenly wondered if Babette would ride her for me instead. Like maybe my horse needed a confident ride around a BN course with Babette and I needed to SEE her going around well for things to come together. Babette readily agreed to take my spot as rider (and then asked if she could bring Ellie and I to Aiken for the winter or at least send Ellie down....hahaha I wish!)

Having Babette ride Ellie gave her a TON of information. It confirmed for her what Ellie is doing and how to help me ride her more successfully. Sometimes I cannot always verbalize what is happening and the instructor cannot necessarily see it, so for me to have someone who will ride Ellie once in a while is crucial. 

So at that late July lesson/training ride, we made a plan. This is the reason I decided to enter the little schooling HT at Green Acres in NH and step down to Advanced Elementary (2'3") just to get some confidence. I needed to have a "test" of all the things we started to work on in lessons. I went into the HT just wanting to get around the courses and jump everything. The nice part was you could have up to five refusals and not be asked to stop midround, so I could at least get her over EVERYTHING. Once your horse starts stopping, it can break down your confidence in a weird way. Like I wasn't scared to jump, but I started being scared of having a stop.

Our dressage was decent enough, still struggle bussing in the canter a bit, for a 34.72. And we were clear in stadium! YAY! That was a huge boost for me and I knew we could make it through XC. 

We had to go straight to XC after stadium. She hopped over the first two fences like nothing and I was feeling good.  Then at the third fence, we had a group of people crossing right in the line of the fence, leading a horse no less, because the path between trailer parking and everything else went right through the XC course. Uggg. It should have be fine, but of course I had to yell out COMING THROUGH and then got myself all worried and we had a stop. UGGGGG. It was a stupid little yellow box and we definitely should not have stopped, but it was just bad timing. It didn't help the group with the horse was just kinda moseying through and not really thinking about where they were actually walking. Thinking back now, I know had I put my leg on and said JUMP THIS NOW, she would have, but at the time I just couldn't seem to do that and "allowed" the stops. When she backed down a little, instead of putting on my leg and saying GO, I went "oh yeah, you're right, let's stop".

I tried to not let it rattle me and we jumped around the rest of the front field of jumps just fine. But then we had two more refusals at two different fences (and I cannot recall which ones), so technically we would have been eliminated but as I said this schooling HT allows up to five refusals. So I could keep going and we got around the entire course. It wasn't ideal but I am happy that when I asked her a second time we were able to get over the three she stopped at. 

We ended up in fifth place in our division of either 6 or 7. Onward and upward!

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