Monday, August 20, 2012

Flirting with 4'

I probably should have clarified on the last picture that I had S up in the irons.  (That's why the lovely equitation...) You'd know it was me if I were staring down at the ground through the peep hole made by a chicken elbow... But I digress.  There are more important things to describe than my hypothetical eq. :)

Like Prairie.  Being a beastie.  At four feet.

After our super fun jump sesh with the scary liverpool, I told S I wanted to get her in the irons over some fences again so she could feel how responsive the mare was being.  Maybe then we could collectively identify some goals and strategy for our next few weeks of rides.  In a serendipitous twist, Supermom mentioned she'd be up for a visit with camera in hand - which meant we'd get some good pics of the ride (better than my iphone snaps anyway).

I dragged out a few fences (rolling poles with my feet to do a unexplained explosion in the slug population and their preference to attach to all the poles).  I set up the ever-scary gate, a 3 stride line on the diagonal, and oxer on the far long side.  I figured that was all S needed in order to string endless hunter courses of line/diagonal/line/diagonal/line. 

S warmed up over a few cross rails and P2 demonstrated that she is still leery of jumps (especially small ones) but she also gave S a glimpse of her new found adjustability (so long as she's in the twisted full cheek)
go hocks, go!
She's getting a bit better at sitting back and "waiting,"  but she's still over jumping everything like whoa.

Finally we put up the rails a little and started asking for some courses.  Changes are still.... unreliable, though they are improving if she doesn't get them right away, which is nice to see.  S let her work at a slightly "bigger" stride instead of trying to cram her into a tidy 12' measured pace.  All was well and Prairie was doing fabulously, aside from a propensity to smack the gate LITERALLY every time she jumped it.

Poles? no problem?

Gate? that needs to be hit.

She did better over the gate when we added ground line.
With everything at a nice 2'9" to 3'3" height S got some decently smooth, not horrible rounds in.  Here's a few different shots of the oxer...

Over jumping... and hanging her knees
(tidy little hind toes)
Finally, Supermom made S throw in some rollbacks (a little dodgy at times) and started putting the rails up.  Prairie was NOT interested in jumping at an angle yet and ran out a few times when S anticipated the turn.  But she seemed to be pretty honest, eager, and straight forward so long as S was deliberate about supporting her the whole way.  I don't think we can quite let go of her hand yet or she gets a little nervous and decides to go around the jump.

(the frame worthy shot of the day)
Final height 3'6" in front, 4'1" back rail
The mare makes everything look small - so here's a scale shot with Supermom.  Also, Supermom would want me to say that she's not "that short" the jump is just monster huge.  :)
P2 was a super good sport, and it was fun to put the rails up a bit and make her move.  It's hard not to when she's just so damn athletic with her (not so stylish) jump.  S even commented that one of her last approaches to the big oxer had "zero" impulsion.  Just a weeny, under powered canter and then BOOM.  Big Jump.

That's going to be fun when we master (or maybe just learn about) the other aspects of jumping a technical course. Or when we figure out how to collect our canter... buwahaha

Prairie was sweated through pretty thoroughly so after a few minutes on a loose rein it was off to the wash rack for a scrub down. I will say, I was pretty happy with how quickly she recovered and got her breath back.  At least one of us is in shape...
loosey goosey wind down
Finally, the three of us chatted a bit about where to go from here.  I've decided to take Prairie to a H/J show the weekend after labor day.  It'll be her first "overnight" show and I think a good one for us.  I want to enter in an unrated "Pre-Adult" division (basically 2') but Supermom thinks it's absurd if we do anything below 2'6".  S finally split the difference and we settled on the 2'3" Long Stirrup (with me in the irons).   We've got 3.5 weeks to get a bit more fluid in our courses and we'll be just fine.

Ultimately I really do not expect Prairie to be a super successful hunter, but I do think that she might be fun to spin around a Jumper ring.  I'd enter in Jumper divisions for this show, but I think it's wiser to get our feet wet with some slower, simpler courses with straightforward lines and less scary jumps. 

So, Hunter Land it is.

We'll get a full day of schooling in on the Friday before the show, and if they mare feels rock solid we can always adjust our entry, or add a couple Jumper courses if we're feeling cocky.  Mostly my goal is to get the mare some experience over fences and away from home.  And also get me showing over fences.  It'll be her first show away from our happy little schooling show park and my first time showing over fences since college.  I'm sure that entering an Equitation Division is a brilliant idea (eye roll).

In conclusion September is booking up!  The 7th-9th we'll be in Hunter Land.  The 14th-16th I'm taking P2 to visit Summer Camp for a weekend clinic. Then the 22nd is a quick little one day dressage show east of the mountains (assuming the current wild fires don't burn up the show ground).

Bah.  Of COURSE I just bought nice white full seats and a new dressage coat.  Of course I did, now that I need tan knee patch breeches and a huntcoat.  BAH.  Every time I think "self, now you have everything you need"  I go and enter shows in a new discipline.... sigh.  


  1. dang go girl!!! she looks awesome and like it's no big deal haha!!

    I am sure that you are going to do awesome at the show!! :)

  2. She is rocking!! And I totally agree with Supermom. Mare needs the 2'6" just to get her big self off the ground. I am sympathetic to your position--2'3" is just a hair more inviting for the brain.

    Love the jumping pictures! Ms P2 is doing awesome.

  3. Once again you make me green with envy. I want to go jump now!!

    She really is a stunning creature.

  4. Man, she make that 4' look like 2'6. What a machine! Y'all are going to step over that 2'3 course no problem.

    As for having NOTHING to wear to a hunter show, I am familiar with that problem. Did you know you can't even have tan full-seats? Navy coat, tan knee patch breeches. Oh and you MUST have the collar on your shirt embroidered with your initials. Blah. Give me the black coat and white breeches any day - it just looks so sharp!

  5. Incredible! You have a super-mare. Love following all your adventures. =)

  6. She DID make that 4' look like 2'6"! At first I was like that ain't 4'.... til I saw the last picture! I believe it now!

    1. I KNOW! when I was setting jumps and watching I was all impressed, then later when I was showing pics to random non-horsey family members they were just like "neat. that looks... small" And I'd get all offended, then look at the picture and be like, oh weird. it DOES look small.

      god willing she has the same effect on my waist when I'm on her back ;)

  7. ROFLOL! I love your last comment about showing the "small" jump pictures to family. Too funny. She does make them look really small.

    She is SO gorgeous! She looks great over fences (as with everything else). You really lucked out finding such an amazing mare. You must be so proud of her! :D

    Good luck at your shows! I can't wait to hear about them!


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