Monday, March 28, 2016

The weekend of Dichotomies

Yet another weekend has gone by and this one was a bit chilly but beautiful weather all the same. With it being a holiday weekend, I didnt get in as much riding as I would have liked, but I am excited for the small bit I did squeeze in.

sneak peak at our weekend!
I was a bit disappointed Friday when Emma mentioned P couldnt make our standing Saturday Jump lesson. I knew I needed to jump or do something with the Dom Schramm clinic coming up this weekend...and I was a bit unsure what to do. Emma mentioned she was going XC schooling and I was totally in to go, but my scheduling didnt work out with hers :(

BUT I got a good kick in the butt from another barn mate and we decided to take our own field trip anyway. So my disappointment turned into some fun!!!

So yes we did go XC school!!

I am not going to lie, I really wanted to wimp out on going because of nerves. I know that is so silly...I would have to go sometime right? But I was really hoping our first time would be under the guidance of P or another instructor to keep Tillie and I on track with trusting each other like we have gotten jumping in the ring. 

But I got talked into it from my barn friend to go and just take it easy and do and jump only what felt good...make it about riding out in the open not the jumps. AND she reassured me I had my pelham to use this time if needed. 

The Pelham certainly came in handy

Once we got there and got all tacked up, I hopped on and took a deep breath. I could feel immediately Tillie was tight all over and super "up". She was sweating profusely despite being a cooler day and was looking all around while power walking it and zig zagging between my legs telling me she was ready.

I took another breath and tried to remind myself we havent done this since Halloween so let her settle in and be patient. I would have loved to let her walk around until she relaxed before pushing up into a trot, but she kept wanting to jig so I felt that getting her moving would be better - so we picked up a trot.

One thing I realized is that she really does a good job enticing me to get handsy....she picked up this itty bitty race horse trot haunches swinging everywhere and I really did try to use my seat and leg to get her tempo where I wanted it, but no go.

So I tried not to overthink this and just decided to just keep moving. You know singing the Dori song from finding nemo in my head. I eventually decided the trot was as good as it was going to get and pushed into a canter. She did ok here and I started to push and pull the canter a bit to test just how much I could let her go without her losing her cool. I am sure we could have pushed more, but what she gave was satisfactory and I wanted to keep it safe and avoid major blow ups....that may be the wrong mindset but I want to try to teach Tillie jumping and riding out here can be just as low key as the ring.

Anyway, I bit the bullet and decided to start warming up over a few small logs with a few goals in mind:

  1. Conquer cantering xc fences even downhill ones and just cantering down hill in general
  2. Really sit on Tillie and dont let her ever get her head down which leads to bolting
  3. jump a down bank until I dont get nervous anymore
I can say I was able to successfully do all three!!!

Warm up - weeeee!
She started off a bit quick on landing and a few times had to really sit on her and use the pelham, but it WORKED. After 2-3 attempts on her part (especially landing on a jump downhill) which required me to really get after her, she settled in nicely minus some general spookiness towards odd lighting which is a bit odd for her, but I am not worried soooo much about that.

I stayed a bit reserved for the first 20-30 min just jumping small logs and coops. We moved on to a BN and Novice ramp which Tillie jumped without issue and without bolting on landing so I was satisfied to walk over to the next field with the more legitimate questions.

I decided to go right to the water complex and we trotted in and out of the water 2x before I trotted up the small bank and right away before I could overthink it came back and cantered down the bank.

All smiles after the down bank
I am a bit disappointed I didnt try the larger one, but for now I did my goal and trying not to be too hard on myself.

I wanted to keep a rhythm so just sorta kept cantering and jumped what came along and felt good. Next came a sunken road question, which wasnt too high height wise but a solid question which Tillie seemed quite bored with. At this point I knew I needed to try some of the more beginner novice/novice sized fences but was having a hard time committing...luckily the barn mate said ok go do this one now! I usually dont have qualms about height of fences, but XC I still dont quite trust I was a bit skeptical. 

My barn mate reassured me that it wasnt that large and just see what happened. LOL in hindsight that logic isnt the best approach, but it worked out for us so I guess it wasnt soooo bad. Anyway, I took a breath and decided to give it a go...I jumped a friendly enough looking fence for momentum and came around to jump the big roll top. 

Tillie soared over it without batting an eye and it rode really well...I continued cantering through the field and finished over a larger house which tillie chipped the first time. I came around a second time (the clip on the video) and she found a nicer spot. At this point she was doing a really nice job staying calm and not getting grabby with me.

As I landed from the house jump, I spotted a brush fence a little ways up and decided to give that a try. It looked good and scary and was in the shade halfway...and sure enough Tillie was very unsure about it and did some dodging. It was a bit narrow which I know Tillie isnt a fan of and will be a question Ill need to work with her more on...I gave her a pat to reassure her and came back around and she jumped it without hesitation. 

I ended things after that since she felt so great by this point and I didnt want to over do it. In hindsight I should have jumped a few things more, like the roll top, to work on her form. 

Once again, I am a bit disappointed to see the footage and she is jumping everything over her shoulder and looking at the fence the entire way. Which I know, I know is her being careful and unsure....and she never touched a single fence which is good...and she is jumping them without issue like this, but still. I just dont like that its not correct. Im trying not to let it bother me and know it will come with more practice...I just am hard on us.

I guess you cant have your cake and eat it too always and I should just be happy we didnt have any major blow ups or out of control gallops! I guess this is the epitome of a dichotomy...I am thrilled with how things felt, but a bit let down at looking back at the footage and it doenst look as good as it felt. My last xc clinic, I had the same reaction to images I saw of her jumping :/ so I guess I just need to accept this is how it is.

Anyway here is the footage:


  1. I LOVE the photo of you guys in the water! And that roll top is seriously beefy! You guys are awesome!

    1. thanks :) I am trying to stay positive about it!

  2. The form will come with time. This sounds like major progress from XC last year. And remember how hard you have worked to get the ring work where it is. It's never going to magically translate like we want it too. You guys are doing great!

    1. Youre right...I need to take the wins when I get them!

  3. Pelhams are a wonderful thing! You two are rocking out there :) I seriously can't wait to hear about the clinic!

  4. so awesome that the pelham worked so well! glad it was a great schooling!

  5. I think you two look awesome on xc! That rolltop frightens me :O

  6. Looking good! I'm so impressed. All those jumps scare me.