Monday, August 23, 2010

Jug Mountain Classic

So the weekend was a great success! Not quite a smashing success -- that would have required three blue ribbons -- but successful nonetheless. Bullet points, because I'm at work:

* I learned a LOT listening to Karen O'Connor -- both technically and about the temperament of the highest-level competitors/clinicians. I got so much out of her lessons, even if they're over our heads at the moment.

* Jumped my first "vertical" -- a brushbox. No problem. Stephanie says it was 2'3, I think it was pushing it to be 2'. :)

* Jumped my first grid, a 1 stride to a 2 stride setup. Had some difficulty until I remembered to SIT DOWN before the fences. I'm learning ... :)

* Did well on Intro A, though I got a mark I didn't think I deserved (a 3 for a good transition, only late? I can see a 4, but ... ah well. I are not a judge.). Good enough for a win on the test class, but only 3rd in the Intro division. Still, I <3 ribbons. They get me through dark days when I hate my riding and my horse. ;)

* Had problems on Training 1, because Rev stopped on centerline to poop. :/ That got me flustered and stressed, and then the rest of the test was inconsistent. Though we did get a comment of "some really nice moments to watch," which is encouraging. Didn't place, not by a looooong shot, in the Training category, but that's expected and totally okay.

* Jump round went well -- the warmup area left something to be desired, but was okay. We had a stop at a crossrail made of 1x8 planks painted black and white in this pattern: <<<<>>>>. I knew when I walked the course that that fence would be a problem, and I was really positive going in, but apparently not positive enough, since she stopped. On the other hand, she stopped dead center on the fence, so at least I had a good line going into it ... :) I kicked her butt over the fence the second time, and we finished with just that one stop. When we were done, I asked if I could school that fence a few times, seeing as it was a schooling show, and the judge said yes. So we did. She kept running out left, until the judge (a friend) helped me a little ... we got over the fence, but I didn't feel confident in her advice. I took a second schooling round over the whole course, and as I rode my circle before the whistle, I had a DUH! moment: she's running out left. So use your left leg, dummy! Sheesh. So I did. And she popped right over it. :) The second course ride went much, much better. :)

* Ended up in second place, even with a stop. Woot. :)

* Lots of riders on the show day seemed to have forgotten everything KOC said and made a lot of mistakes -- can't throw stones, since I had a stop myself, but there was one fence that was causing a LOT of riders to drop rails. I think, in my oh-so-vast wisdom, that they were just not on a good line, not getting enough strides in before the fence, and didn't have the impulsion they needed to get over it. I don't recall if the fence had a groundline or not, but I seem to think it didn't, from my course walk. Hm. I didn't have a problem at it, but then again, it was only 20 inches high for me. I wonder how I'd have ridden it if it were higher, whether I'd have had a problem.

* My friend who gave me a ride took a nasty spill and ended up with a mild concussion, but is okay now. We'll see how things develop.

More later, most likely. :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sweet relief

Oh, hallelujah. We won't be leaving until Friday morning. Dark o'clock on Friday, but that's okay. I'll still have Thursday night to do things like clean and cook. Not to say that I won't be cleaning tonight, but ... still, much easier to have two evenings to do everything.

Also, my friend is letting me sleep in the back of the trailer, rather than a tent -- another hallelujah!! I would absolutely positively any day of the week and twice on Sunday rather sleep in the trailer than in a tent. It'll be safer for the corgs at night, too.

Okay, a lot of stress just fell away. Deep breaths.

Funny -- it's not the riding that's worrying me! I know I can do it, and if things go pear-shaped there, I can scratch and have no harm done. It's all the life things included in Going To A Show that were stressing me out. Nice change, enh?


Why is it that the week before a show is always when things go pear-shaped in my non-horse life? Yeeesh! Looks like I'll have a long day/night tonight to get everything done that needs to be done before the show.

Things like laundry, dishes, housecleaning, packing my own gear, getting the corgis' gear ready to go, getting the cats' care stuff ready for my friend who's taking care of them, cooking a potluck dish, grocery shopping ... ACK.

Oh, and riding. Somehow I have to get on my horse tonight, too. And I have to find a way to get up in time to longe her tomorrow morning -- I am pretty sure we'll need to be leaving tomorrow night, since my friend has a KOC clinic at 9 AM on Friday.

Aaaaaaaack! *flail*

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ketchup! (warning: long!)

I've been working a lot lately, both in the sense of long hours and the sense of being busy-busy while I'm at my desk, so I apologize for the lack of updates, for anyone following my blog. :)

So what's happened since the Derby? Well ... turns out I separated my shoulder and sprung my ribs. The shoulder separation was only a class 1, so it was as minor as they get, but boy did it hurt. I ended up taking 3 weeks completely off from riding to let my shoulder heal up. Better 3 weeks now than 6-8 later, if I re-injured the joint, right? My ribs are still sore, but they're healing. They take a while.

So in the last 3 weeks, I've been back in the saddle, working hard at things like canter departs and getting Reveille to accept the bridle better. One of the things that the dressage judge commented on at the derby was that she's resistant to my hand, which is the gospel truth. So we're working on it, and I am proud of the progress we're making in the medium walk and free walk! It's not consistent yet, so that's step 3, and then step 4 is getting the acceptance in the trot. We're approaching the "nose slightly ahead of the vertical" place, woohoo!

Up until last Thursday, everything I'd been doing was on the flat, no jumping. This last weekend, though, was Event Camp part II -- woohoo again!!

So I asked MT if I could have a jumping lesson before camp, just so that I'd not be in the position of not having jumped for a month before a weekend full of jumping. A few weather-related shenanigans later, Rev and I had a lesson on Thursday night. I had a really good time, actually, and I discovered that a lot of my worry and fear had dissipated after Rafter K and 3 weeks off. (Probably because, during that 3 weeks, I spent about 75% of my time thinking about jumping and how to do it better!) We weren't perfect, but we did a lot of things right, and I learned some new details.

Okay, I thought, we were ready for camp!

So. Friday we had 2 cross-country lessons of an hour and a half each. I had an absolute BALL. :) We started cantering fences confidently! I'm really learning how great Rev is to ride over fences, and it was super-fun. It was also super-hot, but ... well, that's summer in Idaho. Friday night, my quads and my core were much more tired than I thought they'd be, though. I'd thought I'd made more progress on the fitness scale!

Um, turns out I'd ridden all of Thursday and all of Friday with my right stirrup an inch shorter than my left. Whoops ... how embarrassing! I *thought* it felt weird!

Anyway, Saturday was more jumping fun, and a couple of other riders joined us. I love having more people in the group lessons (up to a point), because I get to pick up so much from their rides in addition to my own.

But by Saturday late evening, I was absolutely wiped out. I'd pushed past muscle fatigue into ... well, whatever comes after that. Enough that I overslept on Sunday morning and missed my course walk! ACK! Fortunately, the course was simple, and we'd jumped everything on the course over the previous two days.

Turns out, though, that all that fatigue and sleepiness was probably directly related to the fact that I came down with stomach flu about 30 minutes before I was supposed to ride the full course. I tell ya, there's nothing like leaping off your horse, shoving the reins at a bystander, and then bolting for the bathroom. :/ I was pretty annoyed at myself for getting sick right then -- it couldn't have waited an hour? I really wanted to finish camp, but I have a rule about throwing up -- one and done.

Anyway, I'm at work today, maybe inadvisably, but I have to earn money for our next outing next week!

We're heading to McCall for the Jug Mountain Classic, and I'm excited. :) A friend is generously giving Rev and me a ride up there, since I don't have a truck or trailer. I'm thrilled to have another chance to get Rev out and about, and what's more, Karen O'Connor is doing lessons at the show! I can't afford a lesson with her, and at this point it's pretty well over our heads, but I am definitely going to audit everything I can and absorb as much as possible.

So this week -- after today, which is a well-deserved rest day for me and Rev both -- we'll be practicing Training Level test 1 and balance in the canter, and we'll head north on Friday morning.