Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Wonderful weekend weather!

All adventures stolen from Graduate Riding School Blog

While the subject line is true, and definitely made the weekend just that much better, it really has very little to do with our adventures... This really should've been up on Sun -- sorry for the delay, it's been a *tad* bit busy!!! Enjoy :)

So was an interesting weekend... Saturday a friend and I went to play XC. She's a h/j person who's never done XC before so that's always tons o fun, n my entire goal w/ Sienna was to get her out, have some fun, and build some confidence. We had a great time. H/J friend jumped some seriously solid XC fences and while she definitely wasn't too sure on take-off, she was pretty happy on landing *g* And I think now has a bit of a new understanding about why our height limits are so low (comparatively -- at Olympic level eventers jump about 4'6... Compared to the 6'+ in the jumper ring...) We trotted by the training level corner. The same size fence in stad she wouldn't even blink at, but that, esp at the top of the hill, definitely required some respect. hahaha So yeah, was a lot of fun. Just did PE and E w/ Sienna *yawn*. And by the end she was jumping reasonably well.

However, the lack of confidence and amount of hesitance (when she's schooled this property several times in the past) re-solidified my decision not to compete her. And I was really having trouble with the idea of going and not competing. So then I thought of borrowing a student's horse and just goofing around. Ok, that has potential. And then I thought of my supergroom Nicole who's been grooming for me for years (hahaha if you're new here, maybe consider reading the Cedar Run blog from last year you can see how our days differ at the same show. I wrote my version and asked her to write hers... :) who hasn't been able to show the last couple years due to being in university... Who was going to come out super early, even knowing there was a good chance it'd be just dressage. N who *also* happens to take lessons on this particular horse. Who I was reasonably certain would love to show him. So I called horse's super kewl owner and got permission n then texted N to see if she'd rather show than groom :) Yeah, like there's any doubt!

So I found a friend to braid for her, since she wouldn't be able to get there on Sat and I had neither time nor inclination. Since friend braids for Royal-level hunter people, N's braids were SO far above and beyond anybody else that day. hahaha was pretty impressive.

Early Sunday morning I get to the barn. Running a little late due to a - stupidly early, b - stopping at Tim's, and c - realizing I'd set the load time earlier than we really needed so not stressing about it in the am. N was already there with horse fed and everything ready to load in the beast. I had decided to bring Sienna too, mostly to keep N's horse company and partially to teach her to be at a show and be chilled. So I fed her while we loaded everything into the beast. Load both horses who just walked right on (makes the morning so much less stressful!) and off we went.

It's a long drive, but a nice one. Although both passengers slept a good portion of the way. hahaha don't blame them -- it was still dark out!

Got there to be greeting by a smiling Cedar Run volunteer handing out property maps and an equally enthusiastic parking attendant. Since we were all of the second trailer there, parking was not exactly a challenge. Have to say, as nice as the show was last year (their first) this one was significantly better. Super organized (due in part, I'm sure, to Jeannette being the secretary. I swear that woman's a horse-trials god. :) The xc course had been significantly improved -- even since schooling there a few weeks ago. E got to run through the woods and up the big hill, and as with last year, had the option of water. A HUGE plus in my mind. Dressage was on the grass field and stadium in a new sandring. I was sad they didn't
include their castle, but certainly the course that was there was fair and level-appropriate. And excellent footing all around.

So we unload the horses who were a little high, but not bad. N's non-horsey friend was quick to pick up the basics and help out, gathering various pieces of tack to help her get ready. Her horse was definitely ready to go, but not doing anything tragic. I held him for her while she got on -- an entertaining challenge as I had Si in the other hand. He was quite bouncy when we got to dressage w/u. Wanted to run and play and even tossing the odd mini-buck (his specialty!)

But N stayed calm and rode him really well. Kept riding him forward and let him see the world. Soon enough he discovered it's not *that* scary and then it was time for tack check and in. The competition ring was on grass and a ways from the warmup so I was curious to see how the horse, who's only ever done hunter shows, would react. But he was cool. N while their test wasn't competitive (we didn't expect it to be, N hasn't quite found the buttons at home yet, so away was less than likely :) it was calm and accurate. And the judge quite liked the horse which is always a good sign :) For a first time in the dressage ring, it was pretty impressive. I know N wasn't really thrilled -- she's ridden competitive tests before and knows enough to know the difference. But she hasn't ridden greenbeans before, and I know enough to know that for a first test that was great (I told her, but I don't think she believed me :). No concern over the white fence of doom or fear of the judges or anything. A *little* nappy towards the ingate, but even that not tragic. Circles were mostly round. Corners actually corners. Both leads on the first try. All good really :) Perhaps I should've reminded her of Sienna's first few trips in the dressage ring. hahaha

So we cooled her horse out and I pulled out all of the beautiful braids. I had to do it because N's never actually braided with string before. Yikes. Clearly I missed a rather serious part of her education! Oops. hahaha but since they were very well done, it was much faster for me to take them out -- and less risk of cutting a braid! -- then to try and explain and she have to search for the string for each braid... Esp with a moving horse. So she held Si while I did that. One braid actually broke my stitch ripper. Sheesh! Fortunately I had back-up scissors :) So all good. Load both horses on the trailer to hang out and eat while we walked the jump courses. XC made me wish I had decided to compete Si -- what a great E course. You don't get low level courses that are really fun very often. N PT was challenging but entertaining -- it too had been upgraded since last time. Had a while to relax and hang out before going to jump. By this point it was getting hot and was actually cooler on the trailer with the shade and the breeze than outside, so we left the horses there till it was almost time to tack up. They were relaxed and happy as could be. The woman in the trailer next said there was nothing from them while we were gone, which is always good to know :)

So we cooled her horse out and I pulled out all of the beautiful braids. I had to do it because N's never actually braided with string before. Yikes. Clearly I missed a rather serious part of her education! Oops. hahaha but since they were very well done, it was much faster for me to take them out -- and less risk of cutting a braid! -- then to try and explain and she have to search for the string for each braid... Esp with a moving horse. So she held Si while I did that. One braid actually broke my stitch ripper. Sheesh! Fortunately I had back-up scissors :) So all good. Load both horses on the trailer to hang out and eat while we walked the jump courses. XC made me wish I had decided to compete Si -- what a great E course. You don't get low level courses that are really fun very often. N PT was challenging but entertaining -- it too had been upgraded since last time. Had a while to relax and hang out before going to jump. By this point it was getting hot and was actually cooler on the trailer with the shade and the breeze than outside, so we left the horses there till it was almost time to tack up. They were relaxed and happy as could be. The woman in the trailer next said there was nothing from them while we were gone, which is always good to know :)

So then we tack up for stadium. Head over with lots of time to spare so watch a few rounds and then start to warmup. N he was an old pro. Quiet, relaxed. This being his first HT, I was pretty happy to see that. Admittedly this ring is the one he'd be most comfortable in, being somewhat like the hunter warmups he knows from his previous life... All was good.

Until N went in the ring. And she who I've never seen a sign of nerves from completely froze. :( Boooo. So the first fence had an approach that was a little fast and a whole lot on a curve, and her horse kinda followed the line she put him on... Oops. But she regrouped and trotted him over it, all well and good. 2nd fence, which was quite tricky, he looked at -- but she was back on the ball and got him over beautifully. Unfortunately the next one was on a bending line to the left... The pilot kinda overshot the turn and chose to turn right instead. Oops. She knew it wasn't legal, it was a reasonably call by the time she got to that point. Her pony was a little confused by the manouver, but when she told him she really *did* want him to jump it, he smiled and nodded and did his job. Unfortunately that was followed by another steering disconnect, which lead to them being dismissed from the class. *sigh* Nothing tragic or exciting -- just the demise of abilities due to unexpected show nerves. There's a first time for everybody. We'll know much better next time :)

So we hung out and let the horses graze for a while. N dedicatedly gave her horse a bath -- even though he was cooled out by the time we got back to the trailer (it's a solid 15min walk). Then it was just hop back on the trailer for the drive home.

So while the ribbon results were a little disappointing, the day in general was still a lot of fun and was finished off with super-yummy milkshakes after the horses were home and taken care of :)

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