Monday, April 4, 2016

Blenheim Spring II - The Ammy Days

The short summary of my three days showing Winds last week is that things went okay, then they were a bit tragic, then they were somewhat better. 

Classic photo-of-a-photo moment
The longer story is that it's really obvious I haven't shown in a year, and haven't ridden Windsor outside since...... germany. 

He is, a god damn saint.  Horse deserves a halo.  (Also, this horse wears his ears WELL, getting good photos is not going to be a challenge... )

I have literally never had a horse who is so frigging easy to manage at a show. 

He is quiet in his stall.

Quiet on hand walks

Quiet in warm up

Quiet at the back gate

Quiet in the ring...

Quiet in the wash rack...

He's just the same god damn horse (gelding!) everywhere, every time.

East, but not always interested...
And that is so EASY, that my poor overachieving brain has to find something else to wig out about.

So I decided those things were going to be reading my distances in the lines (face palm) and left lead changes.  Because why leave well enough alone.

One of Windsor's best features is that no matter where I throw him at the jump, a) he jumps and b) he doesn't get mad.

This is in stark contrast to Prair who was unhappy (and freaked out) if you missed her distance by more than 6" either way.  Her panic attacks have left me with severe PTSD about missing, but I got pretty good at not missing because I always knew were I was with her.

Winds is so adjustable, and so sensitive to contact, that when I go to take a feel and lock in on a fence, he backs off the distance (even though I swear I'm not pulling) and things go to shit. 

Then I get into the lines and his stride is so adjustable I spend all 4 or 5 (or 6) strides changing everything all the time and end up somewhere I shouldn't be on the out.

This is not ideal.

(and maybe led to me leaving a stride out... MAYBE).

So, things were a bit rough on Friday for my Eq rounds (though we pulled a 2nd after we cleaned things up in our last trip) and I didn't really beat myself up because - new horse, so that was great.

Saturday, I had expectations to add some polish to everything and totally self destructed.  I chipped, I pulled, I kicked, I waited, I leaned in on my changes, it was ugly.  I thought my trainer was going to demote me to cross rails.  really. I did.  She had every reason to. 

(I really like the girl at the end telling her trainer I got 5 in the 6... dammit)

Saturday left me really discouraged because, while I'm used to having issues to work out - I'm also used to FIXING THEM and not just repeating the same mistakes. 

By the end of the day, Windsor had finally had enough of my bad decision making and started tuning me out, which led to better distances, but isn't exactly the end goal.

I ended up Reserve in the Eq - mostly due to that one 2nd place ribbon and a win on the flat (thank god).  The other two rounds over fences were... interesting.

Sunday, we started with an Under Saddle which was going great until I let him almost step into the wrong lead right in front of the judge  (BAD) and that killed it for us.  I am figuring out how to find his ideal pace where he swings his shoulder a bit more and carries a nice little hunter frame.  We'll dial that in next week no prob.

Finally, I had two more Hunter rounds which were EXCELLENT (given our new relative scale of tragic to acceptable) and even the parts that felt fast or tense look pretty hunter-y on video.  so yay me. 

Our ribbons were worse (since apparently everyone else also stepped up their game) but at least I finished the week with a solid sense of competency and excitement about what lies ahead.

All in all a great start.  We ribboned in every class, which is something that I sort of expected given his CRAZY CUTE factor, but we've got a long way to go before we're kicking ass and taking names in any sort of consistent manner. 

I just have to keep reminding myself that I really don't know him that well yet - we haven't been outside in big rings EVER before this and Winds also doesn't totally understand his new job description.  I think once we get used to at least one of those things - we'll be a much more consistent team and maybe (just maybe) we'll get out of the baby ring.

See you next week!!!


  1. Omg I feel you on left leads and disappointing weekends, however your boy is ADORABLE. I seriously love how y'all chipped (pretty bad no offense) into that first jump on one round and he's all like, "Doop de doop we chippy dippy oh well great let's jump more because it's sunny out and life is beautiful!"

    Expect he probably said all of that in German. ;)

    1. Also you're an amazing rider and you will have him figured out in no time. Worry not!

  2. Also I mean the chip was significant not the ride was bad and I'm going to stop commenting now because I'm sounding like a crazy person.

  3. I love him. Pretty much want to steal him. Can't wait for next week to live vicariously through you!

  4. LOL comment away. The chip was BAD. but maybe not the worst thing that happened..... He is cute though. And the fact that he canters away is why I think he's a prince <3

  5. Even though you said your rounds were "tragic to acceptable," I still think you guys look great! Winds is completely adorable and doesn't seem to care about wonky distances or chipping or leads. With more time and practice at shows, you guys will only continue to get better! Can't wait to hear about next week, good luck! :)

  6. Yay congrats on figuring him out so much better at this show! I know exactly what you mean about it being trickier to manage an uber adjustable canter vs a horse who will take you exactly to the spot they want. It's a constant struggle with my mare lol

  7. I think you guys look great for your first show! Also, it's nice to see what they do when we make ammy mistakes. I do the AO jumpers and have CHOCOLATE CHIPPED to 4ft oxers. My gelding is just like Windsor about it. I swear that Charlie, my jumper, is thinking, "hmmm that jump sure came up close, but don't worry mom! I cleared it!" Haha, I have a mare and a gelding and while my mare is amazing for so many reasons, it's pretty awesome to have a gelding that is ALWAYS happy!

  8. So much awesome, you guys make a great team. Imagine the damage you're going to do to the satin dispensers when you have some more mileage under your belts.

  9. Oh yeah you'll get it dialed in. He's too awesome not to. :D :D <3 <3 <3

    Yeah someday I'll learn how to write comments again.

  10. For a first show on a new horse, especially one that's new to the discipline, there's a lot of really good stuff happening in those videos. The mistakes look like they'll iron themselves out with a few more miles, no biggie. He's adorbs.

  11. Learning curve, you guys will have a killer second week!

  12. First show of the year is there to shake the dust off! Y'all did amazing!

  13. Seriously-he is adorable. And while it might not feel perfect, look at all the great stuff that you learned? You two will be putting in flawless rounds in no time!


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