Monday, April 15, 2019

What I Learned

In the week since the show I've tried to reflect on what I've learned from it, rather than dwell on the negatives. 

I didn't realize till I saw the pro pics, but the brown jump behind us in the above photo, we jumped on a long approach of the left lead.  Aka, the exact fence we've been having issues with all winter.  And it never crossed my mind at the show that it was supposed to be our "bogey" fence. And we had zero issues with it.  I sat up, turned on our approach, left him alone till about four strides out then added leg when I saw the distance was going to be a little long. And it rode perfectly fine.  You would have never know that a month ago we couldn't do that.

I also learned when to say no.  Ending our second round one jump in, and saying no to a re-ride was not something I would have done a few years ago.  My pride would have forced me to keep trying while I (and my horse) would get more and more frustrated.  It was absolutely the right decision to call it quits before completely pissing off my horse and myself. This show wasn't our show, but there will be others. I'd rather save my horse and my sanity for another day than try to fix issues that weren't going to be fixed that day.

Seriously, not the most huntery fence for a hunter course but #peebsdontcare

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

LOEC Jump into Spring Show

Not to be dramatic, but this was probably one of the worst shows I've ever been to. Not because my horse was bad (he was a saint), or because I rode poorly (I really did), or the weather sucked (it did, but I've showed in worse), but because the show management was seriously lacking. While technically a schooling show, this was a USHJA Outreach show and part of our local GMO.

When I got there on Saturday I found my stall and after tucking Peebs in with water and hay I went to the show office.  Only no one was in the office. So I went to the arena to see what was going on and to see if I could school.  There had only been three other girls in the temporary show stalls when I arrived and they were just staring to school their horses so I figured it was ok for me to school. There was a bare bones course set up in the ring, two outside line, two single diagonals and a single on one quarter line. All were verticals with no second set of standards for oxers. All the fences were bright, jumpery style fences, one with a big red brick wall and one with a rainbow lattice. I figured they hadn't set fences for the show on Sunday yet.

 Peebs was super chill and calm while we warmed up to school, on the verge of being lazy, so I didn't jump much.  After I put Peebs away I went back to the show office, but there was still no one.  There were a couple people handing around the club room and I asked if any one knew when the office would be open.  They said the show manager and secretary weren't going to be around till the next day and there was no one to check me in. What show doesn't have any staff around when people are coming in the night before?

Waiting on the show photographer so this is the only media I have

 The forecast for Sunday was rain, lots and lots of rain.  This facility only has one indoor, and a couple outdoor arenas but they were closed due to rain.  On the prize list it said that schooling would be available in the indoor during breaks and I wanted to know when those breaks were.  Between each height division? At scheduled intervals? And how big was the show?  I needed to let my trainer know when to come up on Sunday and approximately when my classes would be.

Luckily when I came to feed at 7 on Sunday morning the show office was open.  The secretary said they'd have breaks between each fence height for schooling, but she didn't know how big the show would be. She estimated my classes would be about 2. So I went back to my hotel and hung out for a few more hours till check out.  I went back to the show, checked on Peebs, then hung out in the club room and watched the jumpers go.  The fences were the exact same ones as the day before, still no oxers, and the jumper courses were hunter courses (single quarter line, outside, diagonal, outside diagonal) with a jump off (bending line, one little rollback). It was honestly kinda embarrassing how poor the courses were.

I ate lunch, watched more classes, played on my phone, and watched more classes.  My friend, who boards at the barn hosting the show, showed up and we chatted and caught up. My trainer showed up and we checked on the ring and was told that while it was going slow they expected it to speed up because they were shortening the schooling breaks between classes because "the more advanced riders jumping bigger don't need as much time as the walk trot kids who don't know anything".  So we decided to go shopping. 

By  the time we got back to the show they were almost ready to start the division before mine so we slowly got ready. I got on and when they broke for schooling and raising the fences for my division (2'3" hunters) I was in the ring as soon as I was able. I was told to not jump till the ring crew was out of the ring.  We walked, trotted, and cantered about a lap each way before I was told I could start jumping.  I was able to do three fences before being told my schooling was over.  In total, I got about 8 minutes of schooling on the flat and over fences.  I wasn't warmed up, Peebs wasn't warmed up. I was super flustered and felt incredibly rushed. There was only 3 of us in my division and the other two had shown in the division before mine so they didn't need any additional warm up.

I didn't even leave the ring before our first class, an under saddle.  Peebs though we were still jumping.  He kept trying to canter during the trot work and was rushy and not relaxed. We did manage to get second out of three which I was surprised about. I was second in the order over fences so I was kinda able to catch my breath before our first round.  Peebs was still rushy, but if I took my leg off he wanted to break to the trot since he wasn't connected. Our round wasn't pretty. Another second for that one. Our second round was where the wheels really fell off.  I was still flustered and didn't really ride to the first fence. I saw a horrible, short distance and circled Peebs away instead of sitting up and leggin him on. We tried again and managed to get over it, but coming to the outside line I saw the same horrible distance and Peebs broke gait.  We stopped again and I walked a circle to try and get my head back.  I picked the canter back up and as we turned on our approach Peebs broke gait again (becuase I was riding in the fetal position without leg) and I pulled him out yet again. 

My trainer asked if I wanted to school him over anything during the next break but I said no.  I was mentally fried and didn't feel it was fair to him.  I know he would have jumped whatever, and I could have trotted the fences, and I was so mad at myself for getting upset.  I told my trainer what I really needed was a good 20 minute walk to clear my head, with another 20 minutes to properly warm up my horse. But since we couldn't get that, I was done for the day.  I got off and she went to go talk to the show manager.

The show manager was apologetic, and said I should have asked for more time to warm up. I said I didn't realize that was an option with the ring steward telling me schooling was done. She said the ring steward wasn't really paying attention to what was going on. WHAT? She also offered me a re-ride of my second course.  I said no.  Not only was I mentally not there, I felt it was very unfair to my competition if I got a second chance. And I wasn't sure that's even allowed. Again, this is only an Outreach show not a rated one but that just seems fishy and unethical to me. She then offered me a free class at their next show in June and I agreed to that, knowing there was no way in hell I'd be going back in June.

 I've been showing at this facility for years, but they've had a management change and not for the better. There were plenty of red flags that this show wasn't going to run smoothly but I didn't see them till afterwards. I'm sad at how far this place has fallen, and I hope they can get their shit together. But until that happens, we will not be back.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Lumps, Jumps, and Lunges

I realized I hadn't had a Cinder update post since the show over a month ago.  But in all honesty, until last week not much had happened with her.  After the show I let her be for a while and didn't mess with her like I did prepping for the show.  Which was maybe not the best idea for a smart young filly.

Apparently Cinder figured out if she wiggled her nose/butt/body against her stall door hard enough, she could get the latch to work its way free and the door would open.  She did it once while I was at the barn, but I had been in her stall earlier and figured I hadn't latched it correctly.  She's done it twice more over night and been loose when the morning feeder came. Both times she didn't appear to have gotten into anything, or done any damage except pulling halters off hooks and chewing a fly mask. She's super people oriented and is easy to catch as she walks right up to you.  She now has a clip on the latch so she can't work it loose.

Since she's started displaying bad boredom behaviors, I've started doing more ground work again, including teaching her to lunge. I had used voice commands for our in hand work (trot, walk, whoa) so when I put her on the line she already kinda knew what to do.  What she didn't know was how to stay on a circle.  The first lunge experience was me basically water skiing behind her and Cinder  being confused as to why I was there. A round pen would make it so much easier, but we'll work with what we go. By the second time she was able to make egg shaped circles and mostly going off my voice and by her third session she was pretty darn good.  We only do 5 minutes mostly walk and trot, and only 2 times a week but I'm super happy with her progress so far.

Last week the ponies got their spring vaccines.  Cinder had broken out in hives a couple of day before the appointment, but they had gone away in a day.  So of course she broke out again the day of their appointment. She's not bothered by them at all, but some were pretty big.  The vet wasn't too concerned and vaccinated her anyway.  He did have me give her some banamine that day and the day after.  Since then most of the hives have gone away, but if she breaks out again she'll go on steroids.  The barn got a new shipment of hay the week before she broke out, so we figure there's something in it that's bothering her.  The distribution of the hives is mostly on her barrel and girth area, so she must be rolling/laying down in whatever it is.

On Sunday I convinced A to come out with me and help me free jump Cinder. I don't want to do too much since she's not yet 2, but a couple small fences shouldn't hurt. We made a chute and started sending her over just a ground pole. It then went up to a cross rail, then a small vertical. She did maybe 4 jumps in total. She was pretty darn cute over fence and didn't seem phased by it at all. She even trotted it once on her own after we finished and were taking the chute down. Hopefully she continues to like jumping as she gets older!