Monday, September 5, 2011

Kazzy is now an event horse!

Kazzy successfully made his eventing debut today, and by the looks of this pic, I am sure you can tell how fun the day was!!!!!

Oh yessssssss.......It did not just POURED!!!!!!!!  Thankfully, I was at least able to get through Dressage before it let loose!!!  We were not so lucky with jumping!  Chris was only able to get a couple pics of the jumping because he did not want to destroy my new camera!  As much as I wanted photos to use to advertise Kaz on my website, I am thankful that I still have a camera!!

Kaz was just as well behaved at the horse trial, as he was when we went cross country schooling.  A complete gentleman and was totally content to just chill out on the trailer when we arrived (standing on the trailer at the show is something we typically must teach new horses).  His dressage warm up went very well and he actually produced a super solid dressage test which put him in second place.  He was totally focused (something else that does not usually come until they do several shows) and scored several 7's on his trot work.  The canter work went as well as could be expected.  I did not realize we would be cantering in our test until a few days before the show, when I actually sat down and looked at Intro C.  Like I have mentioned, his canter work is going well, but in my opinion, not show ready!  On the very up side, he picked up both leads on the first try and did exactly what he could for where he is at in his training.  On the down side, they were still slightly sloppy and he scored a 5 on the one and a 6 on the other.  I was thrilled with him though!  I grinded him this week trying to get him as far along with the transitions as I could before the show, and he produced for me.  The first place horse only beat him by one point, so it was exciting to think that if he was a just the slightest bit better with the canter, he would have swept the competition.  VERY impressive for a first show with an OTTB.

Warm up went just fine for Show Jumping and he jumped super well over his first course.  He did not really look at anything and really rounded over the fences.  The only downfall to the show jumping was that he had the last rail down...bummer!  Not really though!  He was soooooo impressive! 

Cross Country went very well also!  He was more concerned about the mud puddles than the jumps!!!  Again, he barely looked at anything and did everything that I asked of him! Such a good boy!  He finished the day in second place....Not bad for his first time =))  That darn rail kept him from winning though!! 

I constantly have to remind myself that this horse has only been in full training with me for the last two months.  I bought him in June, and before I even started his training, he popped a small splint while out in the field.  Although he was never sore, I wanted to minimize any calcification, so we did not do too much at all for about a month.  Since July, he has really hit the ground running with his training.  He has been incredibly smart with everything!  His flatwork is months ahead of where it should be and his jumping is going just as well.  By the end of July, he was already starting over fences (anyone out there who knows me, knows that I do not rush my horses.....EVER).  He is just that quick with his learning.  He competed in the 2 ft division today, but could have easily done the 2'3".  Chris and I were talking about hanging onto him to compete for next year, and while I would LOVE to, this is still a business and I need to offer him for resale.  If I have him come spring....AWESOME!!!  He is going to be a true contender!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Difficult Run Horse Trials And More!

I have been trying to finish a post about Difficult Run for about two weeks, but my schedule has been sooooo chaotic lately!  Before I go into DRPC, here's a quick update on everything!  We had a medical scare with Scooby last week and it was feared that he fractured his coffin bone.  Talk about heart dropping....When you find your horse out in the field with his leg completely elevated and unable to walk, and then taking 20 minutes to get him down the driveway to the horse trailer so that we could ship him to a clinic..horrifying.  Especially considering how much Scooby means to me...Aside from Chris, he is my everything.  Amazingly, to everyone's surprise, his x-rays all came back great and this turned out to be very minor (the most severe bruise the vets had ever seen).  He is totally sound now and started training again this week.  He will jump tomorrow for the first time.  I am so thankful.....I even sent my entry out for Marlborough.... =))

I just don't know what I would do without my Scooby =)

So Kazzy is doing amazingl!!  He did his first cross country school last weekend and was a rock star!  Soooo solid and not at all afraid of the fences.  Usually, the first cross country experience includes rocket launching over the first couple of logs.  Not him!!  He was amazing and such a gentleman from the time he stepped off of the trailer.  I just can not believe that he has only been in training for about two and a half months.  He has his first schooling HT on Monday and while I am excited for him, I just realized that the new Intro C test includes cantering!  His canter work is going well, but I do not think he is quite ready to canter in a Dressage Test at a show!  Should be lovely!!!!!  Hahaha.

Here are two small video clips from his first cross country experience.

Finally! Here is the post about Difficult Run!

Difficult Run went super well!  It had some ups and downs, but much improvement from Fair Hill, and I came home flying high!!.  To start, Dressage was not our best.  It went just ok, but I will say that I felt great with the sitting trot (always an ongoing struggle when riding Scooby.....bounce bounce bounce!).  It was the best that I have felt with it.  We also had a very nice head toss and buck in the medium canter!!  HA!  We scored a 38.2.  Again, quite a bit high for us, but completely justified.

 Show Jumping went very well.  Scooby jumped the absolute best that he has ever done!  We did have two rails, but he felt great!  Even with the three consecutive clear rounds he had recently, this was by far the best he has actually jumped on a show jumping course!  Everything was very smooth.  One of the rails that he had was a triple bar.  We took off a tad bit too far back and he just skimmed the top rail with the back of his hind legs.   I could feel him trying to make the stretch over it, but he came up just a little short.  A little more power into it would have saved us!  The other rail was the last jump on the course.  No excuses for that one!  It was a lazy rail!  I was thrilled with the ride though!  The course was technical and easy to pick up time penalties, but I rode it exactly like I walked it, and he was amazing!  Very adjustable and attentive!

Cross Country was fantastic!  Scooby accidentally took out the back of the start box before we even entered it!  The horse that went ahead of us, came galloping back down past us, and well.....that got
Scooby a little excited and he backed right into the box!  Down came the pvc piping and by that point, the starter was at 5 seconds.  When the starter was at 1, I was able to coax Scooby into the box and off we went!  Thank god!  Such a brat at times!  A very eager brat!  The course was quite different from Fair Hill.  Fair Hill had many big fences and several combinations, where as Difficult Run did not have all max height fences, but the combinations were more technical, and there were also several very narrow, max height fences.  Those were the scary ones!  Fence three was jumping from the sunlight into the shade over a very narrow, but solid, max height coop.  I was a little concerned about this one because of the fact that it was intimidating, but also because it is off a bending line right next to the stabling.  If horses are super smart about one thing, it is there sense of home!!  Surprisingly, Scooby did not try to pop his shoulder out towards the barns and he jumped this narrow fence fairly well.  Not perfect, but honest!  The next several fences were fairly straight forward and then came the first water complex.  It was an A/B/C/D.  You jump a narrow double Chevron with a palm tree looking thing dividing the two sides/ run through the water/ jump a bank out/ one stride to another narrow double Chevron, again being divided between those blowing palm trees.  My plan was to jump the left side over the first Chevron and the right side of the second Chevron.  I was sure Scooby would at least take a look at the fluttering palms.  When I rode to the A, my plan was to get as close to the center of the jump as I could, while still staying to the left.  This way if he veered out slightly, I would have some space still.  As I rode to it, I implemented my plan, but to my huge surprise, Scooby did not look at all and actually jumped the very center over the palms....Hmmm.. ok...not entirely what I thought would happen, but he definitely listened to my pushing left leg and did exactly what was asked of him!  Good boy!  He finished the rest of the combo with ease and cruised around the next half of the course like a pro.  All of the combinations just flowed!  It felt like we have been at this level for awhile!  We were also doing great on time and everything was feeling spot on.  We then jumped 15 A/B (a narrow bending line combo) and headed off down the field and around the bend to fence 16 (a large/max height oxer).  As I made the bend and started to line up for the fence, I was flagged down by the fence judge....My first thought was.....Ohhhh Crap...I missed a jump....How could I do this?!?!  I walked this thing three times!!!  My mind immediately went back to Flora Lea.  It was Scooby's first Training Level, and not only were we three fences from completing it, we were also three fences from finishing 4th in his first Training.  Well we never saw those last three fences because we were flagged down and told we were eliminated for missing a jump....I was devastated.  I walked the course twice and never even realized I totally skipped a number while walking...BUMMER!

As I pulled Scooby up at Difficult Run, in the split second all of this is racing through my head, the fence judge quickly informed me that the horse in front of me had a fall.  Oh no...I was relieved I did not mess up, but then my thoughts were immediately with the horse and rider.  I did not have any information about what took place (which may be a good thing).  All I knew was it was going to be awhile.....and it was.  It took about 40 minutes to clear the course.  During this time, Chris came back to where we were at to make sure we were ok, and to offer support in the event that I did not feel Scooby would come back well after this time period.  Some people may look at a hold as a time period where a horse can catch their breath and actually be refreshed when restarting.  I don't really think those people have ever had it happen to them.  What actually happens is the horse's adrenaline subsides, they think they are finished with Cross Country and they are tired.  This is not the norm, so when you pull up and are walking for 40 minutes, you are typically in the latter portion of your cool out.  My plan was to just keep him moving and see how he felt.  I was definitely confident in him.  He may be new at Prelim, but he is quite an experienced event horse at this point.  I was pretty sure we would pull it together, but I wouldn't know for sure until I got him galloping again.  We had 4 more fences left on the course, so it was not a lot.  Unfortunately, the scariest fence on the course was fence 17 (a big corner jump, set on a corner in the treeline).  It was very intimidating.  I was not sure how it was going to ride even when we were in a rhythm, but now I really didn't know how it was going to ride.  We were at fence 16, so that gave us one jump to get back into a groove.  I figured I'll just give it my all and hopefully Scooby responds correctly.  Once we got the clear to start again, I trotted Scooby way down the field, this way I could get a good gallop in before fence 16.  When I asked him to gallop, he had a relaxed, not in my hands, gallop.  He gallops like that at home when we condition.  On cross country he is in my hands.  I pushed him into a strong gallop and gave him a few taps as we made the turn for the oxer.  He jumped that very well (phew), and then we headed down to this monster (at least I thought it was a monster!).

We came around the bend and I tried to give Scooby as much space as I could so that he could get a good visual of the fence.  I kept my left leg super closed and really opened my right arm.  He jumped it very well!  Woohooo!  The next fence was a log drop into the water.  That rode very well.  Fence 19 A/B was two fences offset at a sharp angle.  In order to ride this without penalties, you have to jump A almost sideways and then ride a diagonal line to B.  We've ridden some introductory combinations to prepare us for this type of fence, but this was our first real one.  My plan was to collect, collect, collect.  Scooby is very good about jumping where I put him and it paid off here.  He felt like a pro!  The last fence was a trakehner.  Very straight forward compared to Fair Hill's and it rode that way.  We galloped through the finish flags..... after spending almost an hour on Cross Country!  Needless to say, Scooby really did not require too much coolout.  It took us less than a minute and a half to finish the course and by my best calculations from being stopped and then restarted, we should be right around the optimum time...that is, if they are accurate on their end.  A lot of times it does not work out that way.  I was very relieved when I checked the scoreboard and only had .4 time penalties.  The most important thing is that he jumped so confidently around, but I was much more aware of the clock and stepped it up in a safe manner.  I really wanted my score to reflect that.  I am so happy that it did.  We finished the day in 5th place and actually were the closest to the optimum time out of all of the Prelim horses!!  Soooo exciting!

Here is a small video clip from Cross Country....

               Scooby chilling after Cross Country....It's a tough life being an event horse!

Here is the link to the grc pics....Show Jumping is showing much improvement!!!

From here, we get ready for Marlborough =)

I love my horse soooooooo much and I am so thankful that he is in my life!  Everyone....give your horses pets and kisses!  You just never know when things can change....