Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Less than a week out!!

Scooby and I are one week out from making our Preliminary debut, and we are ready!!!!!  I keep having to pinch myself that we will actually be jumping the green and white fences!!!!  Hahaha.  I am mentally prepared in case it does not go well, but I am taking a lot of comfort in that I know we could not be more ready...mentally or physically!   We have 13 completed Training levels under our belt and one Prelim/Training.  We are both super confident and bold going into this!  The one remaining question that I had, was his show jumping.  We struggled putting it together for awile (having only three sets of jump standards for our first three and a half years together certainly did not help!!).  This spring I went and picked up nine additional jump sets and have been having a blast putting together all sorts or grids and courses!  It has been a life saver!  Another thing that have I really changed, was how I rode him in Showjumping.  After studying tons of videos and photos of us, I have made some improvements to my riding, which has also really helped!  Our last Training level was at Plantation Field on June 11th, and we jumped clean!!!!  It was awesome!  However, on cross country, I missed a line in a combination and we had a very uncharacteristic run out!  Talk about an adreneline dump!!!  It happened at fence 4, and although we quickly circled back and jumped the second element with ease, I had to mentally get myself back together to finish the remaining 15 fences!!!  These things happen, but it was such a bummer knowing it was my fault.  If I had just put more thought into how I was going to ride the line, it would never have happened.  It dropped us from 2nd-6th, and although Chris and I were both dissappointed, we were thrilled with his Show Jumping.  During the walk back down to the trailers, Chris kept saying how badly he wanted this for us, that we have worked so hard, and that it was so unfortunate to have a silly run out, just when the show jumping finally came together!  I couldn't agree more, but again, these things happen, and on the very upside, Scooby and I went home safe, sound (minus a front left shoe!) and as confident as we went out!  Scooby does not know he missed a jump, so I guess if we are going to pick up 20 penalties, that's the best way to do it.  Here is the link to some pics from Plantation!


 Although Plantation had it's ups and downs, the stars alligned for us at Bucks County on June 19th, and it was all about the ups!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I chose to compete in a Prelim/Training division before making the full move up, and Scooby aced it!!!!!  Everything was best case scenario!  I have been working on the sitting trot with him for a long time and it has been a huge struggle.  Scooby is the most difficult horse I have ever sat on.  He is narrow and has A LOT of movement.  I work without stirrups for about 10 minutes almost every day, and just keep plugging away at it.  I still don't feel like we are totally in sync all of the time, but we are capable enough now to compete in the Preliminary tests.  I was more stressed about my Dressage test than the jumping last Sunday!!  Haha.  Now thats's bad!  I felt like the test went ok, but when we came out, Chris said we looked awesome!  Btw, Chris does not lie to me to make me feel better about things!  Hahaha.  I also made it clear to him that I did not want to know my score until after I was completely finished for the day.  I did not want to stomach a score in the 40's until I was done!  Cross country was amazing and he breezed through all of the Preliminary questions!  We picked up 9 time penalties, which I somewhat figured would happen even before I started the course.  Bucks County is very difficult to make the time even at Training Level, so with the increased speed for Preliminary, I knew it would be very tough.  They have a lot of combinations in a very condensed area.  There really aren't any open galloping spots.  My goal was to jump well and get as close to the time as I could, without jeopordizing his jumping ability.  It went perfectly!  About an hour later, we were off to our very first Preliminary Show Jumping course.  My realistic goal was to hopefully not have a ton of rails!!  All I can say is that I came out of the show jumping arena bawling my eyes and hugging my horse's neck!  Not only did he jump the best he has ever jumped on a course,  but he was one of only three horses to jump clean!!!!  I was ecstatic!!!!!!  He was literally tucking his knees to his ears!!!!!  It was such a sense of pride knowing that all of the hard work is paying off, and that I am doing things correctly to improve our weaknesses.  During all of my bawling, Chris dropped on me that we scored a 33 in Dressage and stood in fourth before Cross Country!!!!!  I could not believe it!  That is what we score at Training Level, and the Prelim test is much more complex.  We also scored an 8 on our counter canter!  Niceeeeee!  Despite having the 9 time penalties on Cross Country, we moved up from 4th to 3rd after Show Jumping!!!!! We actually only missed 2nd by one penalty point.  I could not believe it!!!!  It was such an amazing day!!  Hopefully we have many more of those!!! Here is a pic from BCHP!  I loved this jump!


Hopefully next week I have more good news!  The goal going into New Jersey Horse Trials is simple..... be safe, have fun, do our absolute best, and leave it all out there on cross country!

            Btw, here are a few pics from Bermuda!!!!  More to come!

The view from our balcony!
Formal Night! (Allessandra, Brother Bear, Christopher and Sister Bear) Yes, my brother and I call each other brother and sister bear!  We have done that since we were very young!!  LOL

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The New Arrival!

                                       ~ Cassidy Blue ~

                   My horsey sitter, Caitlyn, made this!  Sooooo cute!

So the new pony is here!  After spending an agonizing month looking at retiring racehorses, I found my next project!!!!  Now most of you may think that spending a month shopping for a horse is not a long time, and when you are shopping for an already trained competition horse, a month is nothing at all!! Try six months for most people!  However, when you are shopping for a track horse and have 100's at your disposal for all around the same price, a month is a long time!!!  It is even worse when you are like me and typically find a new project wayyy before the recent graduate leaves!  I do think though that our new boy was worth the wait!!!  His name is " Cassidy Blue" (we nicknamed him Kaz), and he is a 15.3 hand, Chesnut, who just turned 4 years old.  Now I know a lot of people fixate on height and want a 16.2 +  horse (something which I typically find very silly!  The best sporthorses range between 15.3 and 16.1), but boy oh boy is this guy solid and will take up any leg!!!  He is super substantial!  He makes Darby look like a peanut in build, and Darby is a solid guy!  Even better, despite being a more substantial TB, he is super graceful and light on his feet.  He has great hind end movement and a toe pointing trot!  Even better than that, he is currently barefoot......and sound!!!  He came off of the track in February and his owner pulled his shoes then.  I plan to put fronts on him next week, but will leave his hind bare and see how he does!!  What a concept?!?!  A Tb who does not need shoes all the way around?!?!?!  I know they are out there, but I have not owned any yet! HA!  Another huge buying factor me on this boy, is that he was started so differently than most ottbs.  For one, he was kept on the farm and shipped in to the track several days a week to train, so not only is he a super shipper, and in a way has show experience (going to new places often), but is also totally acclimated to farm life!!!  Yes, things like standing in cross ties, farrier work without ace, turnout, pretty much most everything that the everyday horse owner takes for granted, needs to be taught to ottbs.  He was also fortunate enough to have a wonderful trainer who takes excellent care of his horses.  Instead of galloping them often, he opts to work them at a swift walk on an incline treadmill.  It is much better on their joints and soft tissue, and also develops wonderful muscling and fitness!  Too bad I did not bring my camera to get a picture of this treadmill!  Talk about spooky!  Chris was like "well if he gets on that thing, I doubt he will be scared of anything!!"  Hahaha.  I think he is right!  I road Kaz lightly yesterday and he was a saint.  We had quite a bit of commotion at the barn also (of course there was!  I was riding a new horse for the first time!!) and he was a rock.  He was not even phased by the minis, who typically insist on chasing the horses up and down the fence line while we are riding.  I am quite pleased with him.  I think this guy has a lot of promise and will be able to go in many different directions.  We'll know more in a few months, but I am pretty optimistic that he is as nice as I think he is!! 
               Oh yea!!  Did I mention that if he was a stud, he could have been registered Paint also?!?  He has those high hind socks that come above the hock.......Such an interesting TB!

Btw, the next post will definitely be about Bermuda!!!!!!