Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Aspen Farms Eventing Derby April 2023

 So, when your trainer mentions doing an eventing derby (xc and stadium fences in an arena) the week after you get back from a two week vacation, you obviously say yes, right? Originally I was just going to have Trainer A take Cinder, but I was feeling brave and signed myself up to show as well. I did a round at starter (18") and A did a beginner novice round. I will say thank you to show management, as the courses were set so soft that I said the starter looks tiny. 

I honestly think the crossrail was the biggest thing we jumped. All photos bought from Ashley Kemp photography. Horrible quality brought to you by blogger

Trainer A was also showing another client horse, Jazzy, and her gelding Metro. My division was going first with my ride time at 8:47 and Metro's last round at 5:30. A had four rounds on the mares between 10:40 and 12:45. We opted to take A's new-to-her 4 horse LQ trailer which was great, because I ended up taking a nap in the afternoon on the couch. 

Pretty much jumped this from a walk.

Between Cinder not wanting to load at 5am, and the 2.5hr drive, we were a little later getting to Aspen than we liked. I quickly walked my course, tacked up, and got on. Thankfully they were being lax with ride times and taking people as they were ready. Cinder was a little up in warm-up, but settled once we started jumping. The plan was to start trotting the first few fences, and see how she felt as the course went on. 

She throws her tongue out when she's unsure of something, and my mouth is open because I was talking to her the whole time.

The arena we were showing in is beautiful, with tress all around it, a large hill on one side with places for people to sit, and an ambulance parked in one corner under the trees. Cinder didn't care about the people on the hill, but the ambulance and paramedics under the trees were absolutely terrifying. Coming out of the start box she felt good, popped over fence one (little log) and then stopped and tried to turn away going to fence two when she saw the ambulance. I got her going again and we continued onto two and three (both little logs). Four was the cross rail above, and it was heading towards the ambulance. I think Cin was a little confused as to why we were trotting logs, but once she saw the cross rail it clicked that these were jumps, and she actually jumped it. She was still scared, and tried to stop on the way to five (the wood boxes) and we jumped them from the walk. 

The start of her saying "Hell no"

The original plan was to go straight after the boxes, go into the corner next to the ambulance, and then turn to fence 6. Cinder was pretty sure we were going to die if we stuck to the original plan, so we just walked between two bigger jumps and picked the trot back up once we turned away from the ambulance. I was a little worried that she was going to try and bolt going away from scary corner, but she didn't and locked onto the little vertical we had as the next fence. The last two fences we shared with the hopeful division (2'3") but they still looked small to me. They were a little coop and another log. They both ride fine and while it wasn't the round I was hoping to have, I was really happy with how I rode and handled things. I'm finally feeling confident that I can get Cin around (baby fences) if she has a melt down and I trust her enough to know she's not going to try and kill us by doing anything stupid. 

Cinder didn't really like this yellow oxer and jumped it big to show her displeasure

I hand grazed Cin while watching other rounds go, while A got Jazzy ready, and while A showed Jazzy. Then we switched and A got on Cin and I held Jazzy. A did a quick warm up with Cin (she was getting tired and thought having to go twice was bullshit) before taking her to the ring. Cinder was still convinced the ambulance was terrifying and stopped at fence 2 because she was so busy staring at the ambulance she didn't see the fence. A got her over it, but their course took them into the scary corner between fences three and four and Cinder stopped on the way to four. A got after her and Cin kept moving, but was rattled. They made it around the course, but it wasn't pretty. There was another rider ready to go after A, but then no one else had come up from warm-up so after the other rider was done, A asked the judge if she could go in and just trot around. The judge gave the ok and A went in for a schooling session. They did a big trot circle by the ambulance and Cinder was able to relax a bit and trot away calmly. 

Again, not the round we were hoping for, but a good schooling opportunity. And now we know that Cin dose not like ambulances so if future shows have them parked next to the ring, we will school the shit out of her first. Cinder also learned a lot about having to hang out at the trailer, and on the trailer, all day at show and behaved herself pretty well. I'm sure being exhausted played a role, but for the most part as long as she had hay and a friend she was quiet all afternoon while we waited for Metro to go. I entered this show as a schooling opportunity and to keep getting Cin out to things, and it was a good growth experience for both of us.  


  1. What a beautiful venue!! Poor Cin with the horse eating ambulance, but I'm glad they were able to let your trainer school her some to end on a positive note!

  2. I mean, she's not wrong. None of us want to be near the ambulance!
    Sounds like a good learning day, even if things didn't go as smoothly as you might have preferred.