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CNER Eventing D Rally - October 6, 2019

I almost didn't attend the last Pony Club rally of the year, because I wasn't sure if I wanted to show in the dressage show on Saturday and then the rally the following day.  But seeing as this rally with Central New England Region (through Atlantic Pony Club) is only for riders at the D level, and my plan is to earn my C-1 next year, I knew that this was my one and only chance to compete.  I also figured Ellie was more than capable of doing two Training level tests the day before an event.  And as a D-3 rider, I was required to do BN Test A and jump 2'3", which seemed like a perfect move-up opportunity.
Of course, it was an early morning adventure to get to the Groton Fairgrounds in Massachusetts, a place I had never been to before and is 2.5 hours away.  I left the house at 4:30am (OUCH) and luckily had a super easy drive down to MA.  It was only 29 degrees when I left, and it wasn't much warmer when I arrived at the grounds just before 7am.  There was still fros…

Esprit Equestrian Center Combined Test - July 29, 2018

After a July full of dressage and jumping lessons, plus just the one little show at the crazy local fair haha, Ellie and I tried our first combined test this past weekend.  I entered the introductory division, which was Intro B and tiny crossrails.

This venue has an interesting indoor in that the long sides have a half wall with an aisle and row of stalls.  It is a small and dark 20x40 ring inside so you are right against the half wall.  The stalls were full of horses, so there was a lot of noise and activity on the other side of the half wall.  And when I say half wall, it is really slightly above Ellie's head so she couldn't quite see what was making the noise.  I had a feeling this would cause an issue, since the tests are all ridden in said indoor.  She warmed up well and I just tried to be super nonchalant about strolling into the indoor when it was our turn, thinking she might just be super chill about it too.

Yeah.

Ellie was rather terrified by the indoor therefore it was not our best test by any means.  There were horses moving around, people throwing hay, stall doors rattling, and someone was filling empty water buckets right on the opposite side between H and E, so the entire test was erratic with poor geometry.  I am thankful that when she is upset she just stops, turns her body around, and stares instead of doing stupid things like bucking or bolting, but uhhhh, pretzeling your body and coming to a stop several times in the middle of a dressage test just doesn't work well hahaha.  If I had been able to bring her in there ahead of time for maybe ten minutes, I think we could've definitely worked through it.  But the show had started early in the morning and my ride time was 1:06, so that couldn't have occurred. Granted, we had about 1 minute in there before the judge rang her bell, but that definitely was not enough time to settle her.  I had to just grin and bear it, but I felt shitty for giving her a less than pleasant experience.  Oh well.  It was two trot circles and a diagonal free walk, so whatever.  
no test pics since the indoor is NOT conducive to photos
I did scratch our Training 1 debut, which was supposed to occur just five rides after our Intro B test, because there was no way I was riding it for the first time in that environment.  I guess I just wasn't thinking when I sent my entry a few weeks ago.  But it is the closest combined test to us at 1 hour, 15 mins away, so I don't have a ton of options to get her out and about to practice.

Overall, we ended up with a 37.81 on the test, with two 5.5s on the first centerline and the medium walk E-H, both with the comments "some shying" hahaha.  These are the two points were she stopped DEAD in her tracks, once as we trotted by the judge into the corner by H and then again at H coming the other way at a walk.  We also had two 7s, for each of our trot circles where she didn't need to be anywhere near the long sides hahahaha.  The rest were all 6s with comments like "moving off rail" which really meant  she was pretzeling her body away from E and H and "hesitant" which meant she wanted to stop and look at things but I made her go forward.  Poor little mare lol.  I think the judge was super kind, fully aware that Ellie was a capable horse that was just upset by the ring environment.  Our collectives were all 7s with a 6 on geometry, which is usually a strong suit for me, but clearly having the correct geometry on a nervous horse wasn't happening hahahaha.  Judge's final comment was: Lovely horse!  Shows a nice soft connection when relaxed.  I was understandably a little bummed we didn't do as well as we are capable of, but I think Ellie was quite good for the circumstances.

As I was back at the trailer getting ready for stadium jumping, I just prayed she wouldn't be a freight train like she was at our jumping lesson last Wednesday.  I didn't want BOTH phases to go poorly LOL!

Thankfully, there were only three people in our division and we were at the end of the day around 2:35, so it was quiet in the warm up.  I trotted her over the little crossrail in warm up and she was just backed off enough that she accepted all input from me, so we had a lovely couple of jumps over it before it was our turn.  We had a half halt and I could push her up to the fence in front of my leg.  Perfect.

We had ten little jumps in our course and I knew I had to ride her to each fence.  I love that instead of just plain little X's, they leave the fillers from the larger fences to the sides of the standards, so the jumps are still a bit looky.  The first five jumps rode quite well, and while Ellie was a bit hesitant and unsure, she listened and went around the field at the pace I asked for.  I liked that she was willing to let me guide her and listened to my input.  Confidence is good, cockiness is not.  So it was nice for her to feel more brave as we went along.  I let her canter after each fence but brought her back to a trot before the next.


our opening circle
I let my guard down by fence 6, a little red and black X with a plank as a ground line.  She politely went, ohhh no thanks and stepped out to the left.  Stupidly, I turned her too sharply and though I could just get her over it.  Nope, I did not set her up at all and of course she stopped again.  Ugggg why do I make poor choices?!  So I circled around and reestablished the trot and DID NOT WANT TO GET ELIMINATED, so lo and behold, she popped right over it.  I could have kept it to 8 penalty points had I reapproached appropriately the first time, but oh well.  Sixteen penalty points it was!  I had not looked at our dressage score before we jumped, figuring we were in last place anyway, so this wasn't about being competitive at this point anyway.
fence 6 - third try is the charm!
Fence 7 had big blue plastic barrels off to the side and Ellie definitely had a moment of ohhh maybe I should stop here.....but I was determined and off she went.  
no touchy



Fences 8 and 9 were a related distance that we did in six strides, as I had her trot in and canter out.  She was being so darn good that I took the chance to canter around to the final fence, and over she went!  YAY! 


fence 8



to fence 9 six strides later
final fence!


yay mare!
We ended up finishing second with a whooping 53.81, the highest score I have ever gotten on any horse on any CT or HT hahaha, but we learned a lot.  Ellie had exposure to another different venue and scary indoor, and while the test wasn't great, it could have been a lot worse.  She did keep it together much better than I had though when we first entered and she went HOLY CRAP WHAT IS THIS PLACE.  I am glad I made the choice to scratch Training 1 for now.  We will have a chance to do it in mid August at our lesson barn.  She was soooo good to jump when she listens to me, which might not always happen of course, but it showed me that she CAN.  I learned I cannot get halfway around course and stop riding her, because she is still green and I cannot let her down.  


jumping photos are just screenshots from the video, oh well
We have a chance to redeem ourselves this coming weekend, as they are doing back-to-back combined tests.  So another shot in the scary indoor, with hopefully a better test.  Now that I am writing this I wish I had handwalked her into the indoor just before we left, since the show was over and I am sure they would've let me.  Crap!  Didn't even dawn on me at the time... And my goal is to go over all the fences and have a clean round, since now we have been there and she has seen all the jumps, and I will RIDE TO EACH ONE haha.

looking quite Morgan-y haha


we managed second out of three because someone was eliminated in stadium
What a good mare.  I am really having fun with this little horse!  She's the best!


Comments

  1. Yay! It sounds like despite some setbacks with the setting, it was still a good show! And you came out with lessons learned, which in my book means it was good!

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    1. Yes! It was a great day with lots of learning for us both, so I am really pleased!

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  2. Congrats on 2nd! That sounds like a super spooky arena.

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    1. It is definitely known as being a tough venue because of the indoor!

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  3. Well done and good for you for putting yourself out there. Are you able to go out on a not-show day and show her the indoor?

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    1. Yes, they would definitely allow me to truck in for that! I just need to find the time to do so!

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  4. Aww what a good egg tho! She looks great in the pics and it sounds like she learned some important lessons! Also tho, 16 penalties for two refusals?? That’s expensive - usually a rail or refusal in stadium around here is 4 penalties a pop.

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    1. Hahah sooo expensive is right!!! I actually though they miscalculated, and I should have had 8 points for two refusals, but when I looked at the MECTA rules, that is what it said: For Untimed Stadium Rounds, penalty points will be as follows: Refusal = 8 pts; Rail down = 4 pts; Fall of Rider = Elimination (timed or not).

      UGGGG.

      First place was a 36 something and the third rider was eliminated, so we were going to be in second no matter what anyway haha.

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  5. Congrats!! She is beautiful and you both handled the experience well.

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    1. Thank you! It was a good day despite the bobbles, because we learned from it all!

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  6. I dont think Remus would have done as well in that arena as Ellie did. That kind of shit gets to him too (can't see but there is noise) UGH good job and she is the CUTEST over those fences OMG. Love her.....

    What a good girl she is...You ain't half bad either ;) LOL

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    1. Yeah, I hear you. Most horses don't do well in this arena. I was actually quite surprised she just stopped and wanted to look. I figured there would be bolting and theatrics haha.

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  7. What a cute little jump she has on her!!

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    1. Right?? She is so friggin cute, I can't handle it. Such a little pony!

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  8. I love her ears throughout the jumping phase!

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    1. She was so happy!! I loved all the pics showing her ears forward.

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