Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Feather Creek Farm HT

... Was a huge success!

I could not be more pleased with how the season kicked off! And my new trainer has done oodles for my confidence, and obviously my riding is showing! But you'll read more about that...

Phoenix and I went to our first USEA recognized event of the 2013 season last week in Oklahoma at the Feather Creek Farm horse trials. We left our house bright and early at 4 am! The drive up was uneventful, thank God considering when we did the drive in February to school cross country, we added two hours to our drive because of tire and truck issues. When we got there, I noticed Phoenix had twisted a shoe and the tab of his shoe had gone DIRECTLY into his white line and he was not baring any weight on that foot. I went to go find the farrier, but the show office told me he had gotten stuck and wouldn't be on the grounds that day. They told me just to wait until tomorrow.

Um... what?

I asked them if they knew of any other farrier in the area and literally none of the 5 people FROM Oklahoma knew of another farrier to call. So my weekend started off pretty crappy. I was slightly panicing that my horse would have to stand like that all night, and also that we wouldn't get a schooling in before my 8 am dressage ride the next day. I googled farriers in Oklahoma, found the number to a farrier supply store, and asked them for numbers of all the farriers in the Norman area. So thanks to ME and not the show office, everyone who's horses needed shoes that day got them! I finally got to school Phoenix around 6 pm and he was fabulously relaxed and put in a fabulous schooling. I was quite optimistic for dressage!

The next morning my sister and I were up bright and early at the show grounds to start our day! My morning leading up to dressage was quite uneventful.. more of just sitting around waiting until my test. In warmup, Phoenix was a bit tense at first but settled quickly. His dressage test was our best one at a recognized event to date. I'm finally learning how to ride him correctly! His pace was great and he was relaxed. On the right lead canter, he kind of stuck his haunches in and broke to canter half a circle early, but other than that it was great! Even though we scored a 4 on that movement, we scored a 29.6 on our test to put us in 4th place out of 18 people! But as everyone knows, eventing is by no means a dressage competition.

Next was stadium, which was also our best stadium round to date! He was forward and balanced, and I got him to his spots, except for the last jump on course when I kind of forgot to ride and got a sticky spot, but Phoenix is a trooper and he saved me over it. We went double clear to move up to 3rd place going into cross country.

Cross country was great! Despite Phoenix always trying to kill me in warmup. The course was a very fair novice course, with offset combinations and a half coffin, and Phoenix didn't bat an eye at anything. However, coming up to the offset two stride combination, I noticed that the horse ahead of me on course was having some troubles at the jump, and even though I called out heads up several times, they weren't taking their horse away from the front of the jump, even though they were already eliminated. I ended up having to STOP Phoenix and wait for them to move out of the way, before continuing on. When I crossed the finish flags, my watch ended up going about 10 seconds over optimum time, which is about how long I had to wait for the rider to get out of the way. So I told the person at the finish what had happened on course and they wrote it down.

When I went to check scores, I noticed I had received time penalties that they took away for the incident that occurred, meaning I went double clear to finish on my dressage score! :)

Oh yeah, and we also finished 2nd and qualified for AECs! :D
And on top of that, my recap video of the weekend got featured on Eventing Nation!!

We leave on Friday to go to Texas Rose Horse Park and hopefully this weekend goes as smoothly as Feather Creek was!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pre-Season Update!

Hmmm.. where to begin! Sorry I've been so lackluster with updates... you know me.

Last time I updated, we were gearing up for the American Royal and Area IV Championships, both of which went excellent! My memory is a bit hazy now but we only placed one time at the Royal, mostly because those jumpers go crazy fast and I was just using it strictly as preparation for area champs and focusing on control. Phoenix is NOTORIOUS for getting strong after a jump and trying to run around the course, barreling heavier on the forehand as he does so. But the one time we actually did give it a go and push for speed, we ended 4th out of 20 people in our class! So I was very pleased with the cookie man.

Next stop, we hit the eventing circuit to go to Heritage Park/Area IV Championships. We laid down our best dressage test FOR SURE to date, but the judge royally screwed us in the arse and we sat in 7th after dressage with a 38. The person in first had stick straight arms and a horse completely on the forehand, but somehow scored a 24. Everyone in the entire event that was in ring 3 were really upset with how/why they placed the way they did. I tried not to dwell on it and went double clear on cross country.

Unfortunately, the next day we tapped a rail and dropped to 10th. If we had not had the rail, we would have ended in 5th.. so I'm slightly bummed. But overall I'm very pleased with how Phoenix and I ended 2012. I gave him a month off to relax while I severely reevaluated what I wanted to achieve with my riding and did goal planning with my mom and sister. Phoenix ended the year with four different year end awards: MACTA BN Reserve Champion, MACTA Novice Reserve Champion, MACTA Horse of the Year Reserve Champion, and Area IV BN Reserve Champion. I got an email that said we got some neato awards in our cross country colors so I'm pretty excited for the awards banquet in April.

In January, I started to consistently ride again with a fresh perspective on where I wanted to be, because I am not satisfied with going BN the rest of my fucking life.. excuse my french. And my old trainer refused to ever want me to move up. At the end of January, my sister and I moved trainers and have NOT looked back. We have improved tremendously in the month and half with our new trainer and are really starting to SEE and FEEl improvements in our riding. So that's great. My motivation and confidence is at an all time high. In February, we drove 6 hours to Feather Creek farm to get some cross country schooling in before our first event of the season (usually we start in May with our old trainer.. woo!) and Phoenix was great. He schooled the entire novice course with ease and my new trainer suggested that we go novice our first event of the season.. so we're already moving up before even going to one event!

We just recently had 2 feet of snow dumped on us so I haven't been able to ride in almost two weeks, so I'm a bit nervous for our event in 2 weeks.. but still very excited with where our season is going! I will update soon with season goals..

My dope ass clipping job.

Anyways my 18th birthday is on Sunday and we leave for Feather Creek HT next Thursday so here goes nothing!! 2013 be good to me!!!