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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

Course Brook Farm USEA Horse Trials - July 19, 2020

So, this was the big recognized BN event I had planned for and hoped for in 2020. Ellie and I had done well at the BN 2-phase in May and the BN cross country derby the week prior. I thought we could do just fine.

Yet, we had started to have a problem with jumping that sort of began slowly and ended up becoming a real problem. At the time, I had a bad habit of taking my leg off and expecting my horse to jump, as my previous Standardbreds were so incredibly honest. Ellie is brave and willing, but as the fences got bigger (not that BN is that high, but 2'7" was certainly the largest we had jumped by 2020!) and I just sort of sat there passively, Ellie started to stop.

She would stop if she thought the jump looked a bit scary, she would stop if she just didn't understand the question, she would stop because she really wasn't seeing the jump. Hmm. It took Babette and I a while to figure this all out, but the catalyst was this recognized event at Course Brook Farm in MA.

We had competed at Course Brook before, in fact we won our Elementary division in 2019 at their schooling trials, so I felt really confident. Probably too confident. Dressage went well and we were sitting 9T in a division of 13 riders with a 35.5 in dressage. Not our best test but for the busy venue and our unbalanced canter, I was pleased. Ellie was calm and relaxed and I was excited to jump. Babette was there to coach us, and we were to go into show jump first and XC fifteen minutes later. 

I am still angry that the USEA tests are not available in a nice app, like the USDF Test Pro.
So this is how I study my test at my trailer. DUMB. 😂


Our jump warm up went well, no stops, and I was ready to nail the show jumping round. I admit, there were things on XC that made me a little worried, but I figured we would be fine!

Ellie and I trotted into SJ, picked up a canter like we owned the place. She was a little hesitant to fence 1, but I remembered to put my leg on and over we went. She peeked at fence 2, which was a related distance to fence 3 (five or six strides, I cannot remember now haha) and our canter lost some of its punch. I felt her start to slow but I was like ohhh she is cantering so nicely, just loping along....yeah no. I didn't put my leg on and we ended up having a stop at fence 3. 

So, at least her braids looked good?
I tried the loopy button braids for long manes by myself and it looked decent!
This is also the only media I have from the entire event. Whatevs

OK, good wake up call for me. I tried to shake it off and regroup. I wanted to do well, I wanted to give Ellie a good ride, I wanted to prove to myself I could actually do the thing. So I went around and started the combination again. We jumped fence 2 and then fence 3 and...

OH SHIT. Yeah, I heard the whistle and immediately realized what I had done. In my effort to shake off the stop at 3, I stupidly went around and jumped fence 2 again, as if it were a combination and not two separately flagged/numbered fences. Totally a ridiculous mistake but whatever.

Except, I burst into tears. Yup, right there at the busy and crowded out gate I stood there bawling. Poor Babette is so patient with me LOL! I mean, I wasn't making a scene but I was definitely having a hard time not feeling like absolute crap and the tears wouldn't stop. I just felt like I had let my horse down, let myself down, let Babette down. I was sad I couldn't even go out on XC, but deep down I was a little relieved as well. I was just an emotional mess. Babette is the best instructor ever, and she was kind and reassuring and made me feel better enough to get myself together.

So our first recognized event ever and we ended up with a TE. Better than an E, I suppose.


And the fact is, I am never planning to sell Ellie, so her USEA record absolutely does not matter. I am also an adult amateur who has trained her myself, and I never plan to go pro or event past Novice level LOL! But of course, when you are a neurotic Type A person as I am who puts waaaaay too much self imposed pressure on myself for who even knows why, you think about things like OMG there's a TE on her record!

The following week I had Babette ride Ellie during my lesson slot, which gave us both a ton of information and a plan going forward. Looking back I remember being so upset, but it also was a really great opportunity for us to break through some issues that needed to be fixed. With 2020 already being a shitshow for everything anyway, it felt totally appropriate to take a big step back and get my act together. 

Comments

  1. Aw, that's frustrating, but like you said - it ended up being a great learning opportunity! I'm actually dealing with some of the same issues with Archie right now too.

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    1. Yup, sometimes at our lowest is when we truly learn and improve. I knew that intellectually but it was emotional tough. It amazes me how much horses teach us!

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  2. ugh totally relatable (says someone who has a public record that... isn't particularly impressive haha. and who also has earned some TEs the hard way...). for real tho, i think every green horse has that moment where they sorta stop and question the entire training process -- usually at a very inopportune moment, sigh. here's hoping your step back to a new plan paid dividends!

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    1. Right? Like who cares what our USEA records look like other than our own stupid pride haha. I do think it was a very normal moment in her training and being so emotionally invested made it that much harder on me. This is when I am so thankful to be able to rely on the help of a professional and not have to go it alone!

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