After our last outing to Fenridge (read Back in the [Eventing] Saddle for details), we decided to do another schooling show at MacNair’s, a lovely farm about an hour away near downtown Raleigh. After schooling a novice sized course at home I decided to keep things simple and do a beginner novice course, as our confidence and *fitness* definitely needed improving. Thanks to the rain that hits us Sunday-Wednesday, I am so glad we decided to take that route.
Wednesday and Thursday I was able to get on and ride in the driveway, as the arenas were closed due to the rainfall. Luckily the driveway is not paved, and we were able to practice some serious walk work and even jogging lateral exercises, but nothing in the way of cardio work. So that left Friday to run through our test and Saturday to hop over some fences as a refresher, with the show on Sunday.
Sunday has now come and gone, and I write about it now in hopes that it will provide a good comparison a few months down the road. Our warm up started out alright, but as soon as I asked him to start serious work the warm up arena became a war zone of dressage riders and maiden competitors schooling fences. My normally focused, wise, horse apparently left his brain in the trailer. Preferring to watch the ponies circle round and round, he did not appreciate my nagging to pay attention, and after 20 minutes we left the warm up arena and were waved in to do our test. PS this place really is quite inviting, and even though it was busy it was much less crowded than the Fork last November where Foster was a SAINT. Also I’m quite familiar with the place having shown there many times over the years:
I did my best to get him to relax, thinking about a frame that would help him stretch his neck forward and relieve the tension in his back. While there were some moments where we were successful, there were many other times when the tension got the best of us. The bright moment of the test was his walk- thanks to the practice we did this week he earned an 8. Thank goodness one gait is back to normal!
Showjumping was more successful, but again Foster was spooky. Not at the fences necessarily, but at random things- like Tyler photographing, the people along the rail, the mounted sprinkler on the fence.. Again this is a little odd for him, as normally these things just don’t phase him. Anyways, as a result I felt like I needed to bring him to a trot a couple times to get reorganized. Cantering the course though was a success, with no rushing and no horrible ugly super deep (or long) spots. And he looked so cute in his green ears 🙂 In the interest of honesty, here’s the video:
I would also like to do a quick shout out to the amazing group of people that came to support me. It’s not usual that I have cheerleaders and I thought that was super nice of everyone to stand around in the sun and watch me turn into a tomato! Y’all are awesome!
Coming away from the show, we are going to focus on not fighting to maintain focus and a steady connection and lots and lots of stretching over the topline to get him loosened up. Until we get back the quality in our dressage work we won’t move up a level. But if I had to write down a schedule for the rest of the year (in pencil, mind you, as plans tend to go awry), it would look like this:
Summer XC schooling as much as possible, lessons if funds allow
Aug 24th Jumper show
Sept 15th Horse Trials @ Beginner Novice level
Oct 6th Horse Trials @ Beginner Novice level
Oct 20th Horse Trials @ Novice level
Nov 10th Horse Trials @ Novice level
What about you guys? What plans do you have for the rest of the year? Does anyone have feedback on magnesium supplements for summer-sweating-related spookiness?