Pre-Show Prep Part II and other news

Tonight I have A coming to watch me jump and hopefully not flub all my distances, so I really don’t have anything exciting to report as far as our rides. I left off dressaging on Monday since I was too lazy to put the stirrups back on my dressage saddle and hopped over some 2′ fences, which we mostly did get our distances to, but being 2′, didn’t really make me feel wonderful going into the show.

Saddle has no leathers on it because I finally listed this puppy for sale!

Saddle has no leathers on it because I finally listed this puppy for sale!

But nonetheless, I’ve been thinking about my typical pre-show week and I’m once again wondering what everyone else does the week before the show. I heard your post-show routines, and loved hearing everyone’s approach!

Here’s my ideal pre-show week…

Monday: Dressage, riding through the test
Tuesday:  Dressage it up again (after all, the dressage test can make you or break you at this level!)
Wednesday: Jump! Schooling (preferably) higher than we would at the show (in order to make show jumps look itty-bitty)
Thursday: Foster gets the day off while I spend my day writing uber long lists about what to bring
Friday: Light dressage, focusing on transitions and relaxation. Pack everything humanly possible into truck and trailer

Now, obviously I’m already not sticking to the above plan, having not done dressage since last Friday, and I’ll be riding tomorrow instead of Tuesday, but the above schedule is our ideal. Something I have learned to live by is to not ride through my complete tests the couple days before the show. I find that whenever I try it, I put too much pressure on getting it perfect and get frustrated when things don’t go as planned. Instead, I find my time better spent mentally riding the test, revisiting the pattern in my head and making mental notes about establishing bend in a corner, or allowing him to move forward on a diagonal- that sort of thing.

Foster gets his window opened occasionally, since he has proved to us that the door makes a good foot rest

Foster gets his window opened only occasionally ever since he has proved to us that the door makes a good foot rest

In other news, I’m moving Foster to a new barn next week. Suffice it to say that the current situation just isn’t working out, and I would prefer Foster to be in an environment that supports our competitive ambitions with performance horse feed and footing, and offers a stable (no pun intended) turnout/stall routine. At the current barn, the horses come in only in super hot/cold weather or rain, and Foster and I both miss the routine of knowing when he will be in/out and getting some time to veg out in his stall.  I’ll be moving him next Friday, and I sincerely hope we are done moving for some time after that.

For now…




Fork CT Show Prep

Somehow, it’s June already, and the Combined Training show that seemed so far away is now just days off.

Right now, I’m feeling a lot of pressure, and I know it’s because I will have an unusual audience this weekend- my family. While my mum has come to a couple of my horse shows over the past several years, it’s basically been since high school that my parents really came to watch me compete. It should be noted that my mother taught me almost everything I know about horses, and spent many, many years successfully reselling OTT TB’s, and then running a just as successful warmblood breeding program. Her good opinion means a lot to me.

Mum meets Foster for the first time, about 30 days into my owning him

Mum meets Foster for the first time, about 30 days into my owning him

Add to that, that the last time my mother saw Foster a couple years ago (she’s only met him twice), he decided to be an uncharacteristic brat and actually ran away (kind of) with my sister. So we’ve got to prove that I did not buy myself a crazy, pig headed animal and that he is in fact the awesome-tastic beast that we all know and love.

After his bout of naughtiness, I give my sister a mini-lesson and we ended on a good note!

After being a naughty pony, Foster calms down and teaches sister about stretching.

So, I’m trying to tell myself to keep it simple, stupid, and stick with the plan of having just a couple goals for the show. The first is to again ride every corner, every turn, every fence. While my parents know I can be a ditz, let’s not go showing it off for them! I’m going to change up my warm up a little by doing a little less stretching (like, 10 minutes instead of 20) and incorporate some bright transitions instead.

And then for jumping- maintain a forward but uphill rhythm to each fence. This in addition to last show’s goal of soft elbows. I had an absolutely craptastic jump school this weekend (not his fault, but mine), which has made me lose confidence a bit, so this week I am going to get A to come check me out jumping and make sure I don’t eff up my horse before the show. Ugh.

I is good pony, I swear.

I is good pony, I swear.

Tonight, we ride dressage!



Chuggin’ Along…

Truthfully, I’ve been a bit boring this week. I’m sorry. The weather has actually been great, and I have been attempting to ride a bit on my quickly-getting-out-of-shape pony. What happened to all those goals about getting fit this winter? Oh yeah, it’s winter, which here in North Carolina means it may be nice, but it’s more likely to be gray, cold, and rainy. And when the arenas are closed, and it’s dark outside, that means no riding. Because while I have heard of people putting on a head lamp and riding in the dark, I prefer to value my life and not do so. If you have seen the size of some of the deer around here, you’d understand (I have a weird fear of being speared in the dark by one of the eight-pointers I’ve seen on the farm).


Oh hello deer from HELL!

So anyways, the last time I rode I set up trot poles. One set of 4 poles flat on the ground, and another that were raised at one end. We’ve done exercises like this before, but apparently it’s been too long- what a joke it was! First I took him through the normal poles, and he was not completely relaxed over them, but confident enough. So I took him through the raised set. Yikes. We cantered them, we jumped them, we stumbled through them. He got through them once with success, before I gave up on that idea and went back to the regular set so he would gain confidence. By the end of our ride he was lovely and relaxed going through these, completely soft over the top line, but picking up those feet beautifully. So, apparently footwork exercises are in our future!

Why you confuse me, mom?

Why you confuse me, mom?

Tonight I think we will go back to regular trot poles, and maybe set up one proper cavaletti (8″ vertical) to trot over. Or, if any one reading this has a fun gymnastic exercise to suggest, maybe we’ll do that and I’ll tell you how it goes- suggestions, anyone?


Last night I had the most amazing jump school. I took advantage of having the light still and decided to hop over the 3′-3’3″ fences as originally planned for tonight. For not having jumped anything bigger than 2’9″ in a while, I thought Foster was an absolute champ, and felt forward, straight(ish), and jumping in good form.

Well, I don’t know what happened over night, but when I got out to the barn this morning to school our test, I felt like I had gone from this:

giphy (1)

to this:

Horse Fail GIF


I was sliding all over the place, my fingers were numb, I couldn’t feel my legs- in short, I was spaghetti all over my horse. Poor Foster put up with my ridiculous monkey business for some time, before I realized that I hardly had the coordination to sit, much less do work. Nonetheless we somehow managed to finish with 10 minutes of respectable trot work, but the goal of riding through my test eluded me.

One of the reasons I know I felt like this was just from being a weenie in the cold. I am aware that I have relatively poor circulation in my hands and my pinkies go numb quite quickly in frigid temps, and while this morning did not necessarily fit that bill, it was much colder than what I have been used to. Not a great excuse, but still.

I suspect my breeches were also partly to blame, as they are ones that I haven’t used all year and felt I didn’t have the grip I needed in them. Sunday I will be riding in my new Kerrits Full Seats, which the reviews claim to be sticky sticky sticky. So hopefully that won’t be an issue at the show! Maybe I should practice in them tomorrow… hmm..

Oooh, pretty!

Oooh, pretty!

Lastly, I know there are simply days in which I am better coordinated, and vice versa. Do any of you have days like that? I would love to know if I am not the only one!

For now though I will put it from my mind- we were given last minute tickets to go see Michael Buble in concert and I am so excited! So I will leave you with my favorite Buble (and Drifters) song 🙂