I have so many feelings about this.
I am excited, proud to have qualified, feeling a bit like I don’t deserve it, and overwhelmed at the thought that I have 2 months to keep Jack in one piece: a skill in which he is… lacking. dearly, dearly lacking.
I’m also conflicted as to how much I should invest in this effort. It’s so hard to know how competitive I would be, and so therefore how much extra I should put into an already expensive event (thinking of extra lessons, etc). Jack is competitive at home (aka the Carolina Horse Park), but would our mid-upper 20s dressage score be enough to be enough to have a shot at a ribbon in a championship environment? That’s where I’m doubtful.
Still, this big once-in-a-lifetime event definitely has spurred me to take care of things I’ve let fall by the wayside for the last year.
For instance, I’ve been a bad horse mom and haven’t had my saddles refitted in almost 2 years. Eek. So likely they need a good hard assessment, and the fact that my jumping saddle now wants to slide a few inches back makes this even more critical.
Jack could definitely also benefit from some chiropractic attention. Homeboy is just big, and can be hard on himself physically, and I feel like his hips in particular are probably out of whack.
So in light of all this, he’s seeing both a new chiropractor, the saddle fitter and the vet for a check in next week.
And before that, I’ve got 3 lessons coming up this weekend, in an attempt to whip myself into tip top shape from a jumping perspective and try to iron out the kinks.
Am I crazy? How far do you go to prepare for a big show? What about the biggest show???
AECs are definitely on my list of things I really want to get to before they leave the KHP. (2020 maybe??) I would say, go with the expectation of having a great time with your pony at a great venue with some great people. From talking to some people involved in the event, it’s already shaping up to be AMAZING for everyone.
Do you know if the AECs will be there next year? I don’t know why I haven’t heard where it will go after 2019!!
And also- good point and thank you. If things don’t work out, the hubs and I are going to go tour distilleries and racing barns instead. So I need to remind myself that it’s not the end-all-be-all.
Perspective… is hard sometimes. LOL
Yup, it will be at KHP in 2020. The location of AECs changes every 2 years.
I would think that after 2020, they will pick a location further west, but that is pure speculation.
I thought that, but then it was at Colorado for just one year, and then wasn’t it at Texas for 3 years? But good to know it’s staying at Kentucky again. That’s a back up plan for the back up plan lol
The AEC’s have historically gone in 3 year rotations. However, the last 3 year chunk was bit on as a co-op between Colorado Horse Park and KHP – with 2 years to be held at one venue and one year to be held at the other. They haven’t announced yet which will be the 2020 location, they usually do that the week after AEC’s wraps up.
They actually did announce the 2020 location when they announced the 2019 location. Unless there has been other news since this:
I figured it would be KHP after the CHP stuff that went down last year lol. I know they’re supposed to be working out ways to reduce all the fees too… wonder if they did that? I qualified this year but as long as they have AEC’s at the end of August it will always be a no-go for me.
No clue… my recommendation for a championship-level course at the horse park would just be to come for Team Challenge in October. Better weather & Cheaper.
Yeah that would definitely be my preference for KHP! AEC’s aren’t my favorite. I’ll get to KHP someday…
Girl… me too hahaha
I agree with Emily! I say go into it wanting to have fun and do your best. I would imagine quite a few people will end on their dressage scores. So, you can’t control who wins dressage, so don’t beat yourself up too much about wanting to be the best. Just do your best 🙂
Very true! I really truly will just be so excited to ride there, that will be a huge win for me. Always dreamed of it!
I have learned from my first few years of competing Henry that when I start to spiral or change a bunch of things before a big show, it never ends well. A couple months out we’re still working like normal, tuning the fitness and the dressage, keeping the jumping sharp, and working on small improvements and minor tweaks. By the time we’re a month out, I’m just cruising. Keeping the horse loose and happy, keeping us both fresh mentally, enjoying the process, etc. Trying to cram too much into the last 6 weeks or so has never gone well for me. You can’t really ADD a lot of training in that time, but you sure as heck can undo a lot or burn out the horse/human.
Try to enjoy this part. Enjoy the fact that you qualified, and that you’re getting to (hopefully – stay in one piece, Jack!) check an item off your bucket list. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, stick with what you know and TRUST IN YOUR TRAINING. After all, it’s gotten you this far.
Thanks- these are actually really good points, and a helpful perspective. I think bar the chiro and the saddle fit, our training program will basically stay the same. I need to not obsess over the little tweaks though as you put it! We have two schooling shows between now and then, and of course they’re at our home venue, so I’m hoping that will be enough to keep us sharp and get show atmosphere in a low-pressure environment.
So basically Jack needs to stay in one piece (please please please) and I need to not go overboard with the Type A-ness.
PS- the backup plan right now, since I have to book travel, is that the husband and I go do the Bourbon Trail- another bucket list item for us. So if riding plans go pear-shaped, there’s still cocktails and horse farms to make up for it.
I love that you have a backup plan! I agree with everyone else, just go in for the experience and do YOUR best, and everything else will be gravy 🙂
Yes! Thank you for that- I will definitely be trying to give it all I’ve got, and that’s good enough for me 🙂
Bourbon and cocktails and visiting another yellow pony I hope 😉
good luck with the prep and congrats on qualifying! in your shoes i’d definitely want to make sure every i was dotted and every t crossed, but within reason. try not to drive yourself crazy with all the pieces outside of your control haha, but otherwise i say go for it! if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, right?
That’s my thought! If I’m going to drive 8 hours to get there, I want to be the best version of myself (and hopefully ditto for Jack, but… Jack.). We won’t be going out and switching bits or buying saddles or doing any of those crazy things, because we won’t have any money leftover anyway! LOL
Go and have fun! You never know what’s going to happen even if you are prepared and competitive- it’s horses yo. I agree with what Amanda said and don’t change to much but saddle and chiro should help keep all pieces together without changing them to much. Also love your back up plan!!!! Go forth and kick some ass at the AEC’s!!!!
Totally- and you’re right- it’s horses! And Jack doesn’t horse well sometimes. I’m hoping to put my efforts into the things I can control and just let fate take care of the rest. For everything else- there’s bourbon.
Okay, so this sounds kind of silly but I try my best to make everything seem ho-hum in my mind. I do NOT handle pressure well, so I adopt the attitude of I do what I want to do, take as many lessons as I want to take and do my best to get a picture at said NOT BIG event, haha. And if that doesn’t happen, then instead of spending the money on a picture, I’ll buy new breeches.
Horses man — you can’t make plans within ear shot or they’ll hear you and turn everything upside down just to remind you they can!
I was always advised not to change anything within a month of the competition. You want to go into it well rested both mentally and physically and raring to go! Have fun no matter what. You qualified!!! That’s a big deal in and of itself. The rest is gravy.