Monday, August 8, 2016

Training Level Debut!!! WE SURVIVED!

Well guys, its been an interesting weekend to say the least. I am still recovering from a nasty summer illness...which affected me more than I realized and just has generally slowed me down. I have pushed through though and prepped for yesterday's training debut just a bit slower than I would have liked.

At least I didnt have any melt downs braiding the night before...and I did manage to do three whole braids all by myself before Meri stepped in and helped so we wouldnt be there all night.

All ready to go!

I did try to walk some of my course the night before because I was anxious to see what we were up against...and well, I wish I had more time after dressage to walk and walked it then because it definitely made me the point that it completely threw me off my game for dressage and stadium.
Really eerie walking the course at dusk...

Course walking a dusk = creepy and terrifying

I did text a few of my fellow equestrians that evening after walking the first half of my course, slightly freaking out...and every single one were really awesomely supportive and encouraging. Reminding me that Tillie and I have got it!

Dressage break down:

Warm up for dressage at this event was less than ideal. They had two rings running, one in grass, one in sand which I was happy to hear we would be going in the sand. The downfall to that was the warm up was only in a very uneven grass field next to the grass dressage ring...none near the sand one.

She warmed up nicely enough...despite it being really crowded. I did have trouble warming up in our lengthenings because of this which I think led to some of our trouble.

Tillie and I always have issues in dressage with her focus when we cant warm up near the ring. Combined with my lack of focus meant a break in gait in our trot lengthen and a really bizarre sticky lead and wrong lead transition into our first canter lead...and after the first lengthening break, we just didnt recover.

Here is some of the disastrous test:

If we hadnt put in such a stellar test earlier in the week, I might have wanted to kill myself. I would have preferred the better test be in this competition, but it happens. Some days are better than others.

Stadium breakdown:

Being a bit disappointed in myself and not giving tillie the best ride in dressage that I could have, I was a bit anxious to jump. Tillie found a nice rhythm flatting her up in the warm up ring and popped over the little X without issue. There werent any inbetween fences though and when I went to the vertical Training height jump she snagged the rail and got quite offended.

NOW she doesnt want to touch the poles!

After that she was jumping out of her skin...and I had a few moments of OMG.

She went into the ring the same way and I admit, I froze and stopped breathing going into the first line...She pulled the rail (which MANY people did and only 3 people went clear all day in Training). I should have half halted her and made her wait...ah well. The 2 stride turned into a hairy 3 stride and then the one stride line Tillie simply just didnt pick up her feet...and then I soared right past jump 8 winning us a TE - whomp whomp. Tillie was certainly feeling feelings on this day and you can see her head shaking at me multiple times through the course.

Jump 1 before it went down hill
I just dont think we ever hit our stride...we had some nice moments but the whole picture just wasnt there:

Trainer P set the course and told me later the lines were tight and I needed to probably compress her more in them...and she agreed I just stopped breathing. She was very sweet though and told me to shake it off. First Training level event nerves is no joke and laughed and said well now go run XC and the pressure is off!


I warmed her up for XC and we finally did hit our rhythm. She jumped each fence right in the sweet spot and got her leads I asked for and was rideable and adjustable.

Here are the fences on our course:

Tillie jumped this one VERY uphill and landed uphill!

This brush was pretty large...It rode fine though!

I wish I got side pics of these...the A element was pretty wide and tall to a bending
5 or 6 stride line to the B depending on the line you took

This fence scared the pants off me. I had a few other concerns, but this is the one that set me into freak out mode. Not only was it maxed out Training height, it had a bit of a down hill drop on the other side. Plus the gappy space under and placement of the flag sort of freaked me out.

Water to bank up - two stride combo

fence #8

#9 after a gallop through the woods

This was also a pretty tall brush. It came up to just under my bra line

BIG and WIDE table...i should have gotten better pics of it. Def maxed out training...but it rode nicely

14 A of the coffin

C element of coffin

Looking back at the coffin from the C element

Trakhener - more novice sized...not huge



I was really nervous about the first half of the course. I was confident once I got past the water complex, we would be all good.

Jump #6 had me tweaking big time...luckily trainer P was there when I mentioned it and said oh you do a great job sitting up and not laying on your horses neck so youll do fine with that one with the drop!!! Just let your reins slip out!

Luckily we got it on video and just watch it...look at the air time!! That fucker was huge and I almost cried tears of joy when we got through it...not only got through it, but ate it up no problem!

I am sooooo beyond thankful they still let us run XC because it was the saving grace of the day. Tillie was confident, bold and taking me to the fences. She never once got flat galloping and was looking for what was next. We found a wonderful rhythm and she compressed well for me at the combos but also took a nice forward stride when called for it too.

I just wanted to kiss her after! Even with our not so great morning in the first two phases...but we completed a true recognized Training level XC course and that to  me is a win. Not only did we complete it, but it felt GOOD.

Sure am I disappointed in the first 2 phases? Absolutely because I know we can do better, in fact we did at Loch moy just the weds before. I know though, that I was way too distracted by the XC and now that it went as well as it did, I can breath a little easier having confidence knowing we CAN do this at Training level.

So rather than dwell on the not so great of the day, Im choosing to celebrate the fact we ate up XC and it was FUN!

So lots of homework for us to try to even out the phases at this level.


  1. Hopefully you get a lot of practice time in between this event and your next one to really work on what you need to. Have you considered adding schooling Jumper shows to your schedule to work on your stadium?

    1. I have been :) We just did one the wednesday before and it went super well...most of our stadium lately has gone well and much smoother. This stadium really was an odd/off day for us but I am totally for more jumper shows to practice. If I could hoard more practice runs in all phases I totally would!

  2. If it makes you feel better even olympians have mental screw ups. Example: WFP's 20 points today
    You guys have got this. The first one is always the roughest.

    1. lol thanks :) I think ive been spoiled this season with all the good events and outcomes...but Im reminding myself it isnt about the score or what is on paper. Thanks for always being there to listen :)

  3. Well, I'm sorry it didn't go better, but at least you got to do XC anyway. That course looks like a lot of fun.

    1. Thank you :) I am staying positive...I believe we can do it!