Wednesday, November 11, 2009

River Glen Horse Trials

Well River Glen didn't go exactly as planned, but it was still a really great experience for me and May and I would definitely consider it a success for our second Preliminary.

We arrived at about 4 p.m. on Friday and unloaded May and Faith (Cali's horse who was doing her first recognized show at Beginner Novice) and got everything set up. Then we got on the ponies and did a bit of riding in the warm up ring. May was great and felt loose and supple even with all the drama going on in the warm up (horses rearing, backing up, etc). Faith also looked great and we were both please with our rides.

My first ride was at 8:46 the next morning and May warmed up like she did the day before and she felt great. Then the ring steward called us into the arena early when there was supposed to be the first Prelim rider in front of me but apparently she had scratched - awesome, I had to be first to go. We went in and did a good test, but it wasn't great. May was a bit spooky and distracted around the warm up ring and I got her attention back but she was still a bit unresponsive. We ended up with a 37 in dressage and in fourth place - which was better than I thought we would get. I had thought that our 10 meter canter circles were perfect, but later I found on the dressage test that the judge gave us 5's on both of them. I watched the videotape back and there is NO way I should have gotten 5's - they were balanced and she was round and bouncy - not hollow like the judge said! Oh well, I guess it's all subjective..

So then we were on to stadium. I was once again the first rider to go which made me a bit nervous. May was a bit dead to my leg in warm up so I assumed I would have to ride the first jump very forward, which I did. Well then she decided to take off with me to the second jump! Definitely didn't see that coming, so we had a rail at the second fence. The rest of the course rode nicely albeit she was still running with me and not really backing off the fences. We had another rail down at the last oxer of the triple and the very last fence. She just barely tipped both of them and they went down, which is still very strange for her. We're going up to Holly's this weekend and I absolutely can't wait - I really need to refocus on my spot and see why she's been taking down so many rails lately, even in my lessons with Chimene. It's very abnormal for her to have rails down at all - in fact, over the entire summer with Holly, she had only one rail down. I'm hoping to get this fixed before Pine Top.

So I was done for the day after my stadium round and I got to coach Cali in her dressage and show jumping warm up. Faith was pretty full of herself and decided to start rearing with Cali but Cali was cool as a cucumber and just sent her forward and Faith finally figured out that she was going to have to work. They're dressage test was totally awesome - MUCH better than at FENCE and she was tied for fourth (out of nineteen!) after dressage. After a few hours, they went to do stadium and went clean and I was super proud of Cali for getting Faith forward and over all the jumps. They moved up to third after stadium.

Sunday was cross country day, which I was very excited about but also extremely nervous because I'd never done a course as technical as River Glen's. My nerves seemed to go away as I got in the start box and it was just total concentration on the task at hand. May came out of the start box great and the whole course felt awesome because she was so backed off of the fences. I was SO glad she finally wasn't pulling me around like she had at Training level. I asked her to really gallop forward and she'd go "what? gallop? are you sure? well...ok...". But she was really incredible and even when she questioned if I was really SURE if I wanted to jump that jump (yes, I was) she trusted me and jumped great. We had one miscommunication/pilot error that resulted in a stupid run out, but it was totally my fault. There was a set of downhill triple logs to the a sharp right hand turn and a large steeplechase brush. She got super close to the logs (which is what I wanted) and her stride was short enough that I thought I could turn closer than I should have to the brush and she just didn't see the fence in time and hopped out to the side. She went over it afterwards without a problem. I was super proud of her boldness at the water, which was a log two strides to a log into the water, then a left hand turn to two skinny chevrons places two strides apart. She boldly went into the water and then collected herself for the two skinnies. We also came in about 20 seconds under optimum, which I was extremely excited about since we had so many time penalties at FENCE and I was afraid that this would be a definite problem.

All in all, she was awesome and I think she's going to be a great Preliminary horse. She's backed off but not to the point that she doesn't want to do it and honestly it made riding her SO much easier than at the lower levels. It really was one of the easiest courses I've ever ridden. Funny enough, we still got a ribbon! Eighth place out of thirteen, so not too bad for having three rails and a run out. A lot of people had other problems as well.

Cali and Faith went later in the afternoon and they were great - Faith was nice and forward and taking the fences right out of stride. They had a dumb run out at fence nine (Faith was spooking at something and Cali just didn't have enough time to correct it) but they successfully completed their first recognized horse trial! She's considering going to Pine Top because she wants to end the season with a clear cross country round.

It's been raining for the past two days so May's gotten those days off and on Thursday we travel up to Holly's for much needed lessons!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

To clip or not to clip

So here's my dilemma: do I clip May or do I leave her unclipped? I've decided to make a pro and con list (yes, I'm THAT dorky) to help decide.

- She'll have that nice sleek look that I love
- We're going Preliminary now and not only is it more professional, but it's also functional for when I do my gallop sets and such and it won't be so hard to cool her down
- Like I said about, it's professional and I want to be taken seriously by other eventers (and especially other professional eventers)
- I need to learn how to do it anyways if I want to be a groom

- She doesn't have much hair to begin with so I don't know how much it will help for cooling down
- I'm a little afraid that she'll have that mousy look and not be a pretty sleek brown
- If I clip her now, I'll have to clip her at least once or twice more before the spring season

So that's where I am right now. I'm leaning more towards clipping her because I think most of the pros outway the cons. I keep getting mixed reviews from different people about clipping her because she does have such short hair. But I won't have to worry about until after this weekend (River Glen!) anyways.

We're leaving for River Glen on Friday morning and I'm really excited. The course is supposed to be average for Preliminary with some tough questions so I'm curiuos to see how May reacts to the course after FENCE. I just want a really great run and I'm hoping to go a bit faster than I did at FENCE so I don't get quite so many time penalties.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Successful Showing for CIET!

The schooling show at FENCE was a great success for the Clemson Eventing Team. Cali (who competed her cute little mare Faith), Elisa and I trailered Faith up on Saturday afternoon to get her settled in and walk the courses. We pulled in, unloaded Faith and bedded her stall, borrowed a water bucket for the weekend (oops!), gave her some hay and went to The Farm House to put my saddle up for sale. While there, I bought a fabulous pair of brown rubber reins (can't live without those!) and saw this adorable coat that I definitely need to get for Teddy:

It's a Moxie coat and would match May's cooler! They would look so cute together!

So after wandering around The Farm House and making a new Christmas wishlist, we went back to the show grounds and walked to cross country and stadium courses and talked about how Faith was going to dominate the Beginner Novice division. Then we ate dinner and went to sleep in the camper trailer.

We woke up bright and early the next morning to get things going. Cali was already out checking on Faith when Elisa and I woke up so we ate breakfast and got dressed. Cali's parents arrived about forty minutes before her dressage test and we were all chatting it up when we realized - oh yeah, Cali's got to get on in like 10 minutes! We rushed around grabbing tack and clothes, tied a not-so-lovely stocktie on Cali and got her up on Faith and in the warm up ring.

Faith was awesome in the warm up and her transitions from trot to canter were especially good. However, in the test, as what usually happens, both Cali and Faith got a little tense. But they got through the test fine. Then on to cross country!

Cali was super happy with Faith in cross country, despite a dirty stop at jump four (which had Halloween-spinny decorations on it, something which I would have stopped at too). She finally got into a good rhythm and easily cantered over everything. Stadium went well too despite a dumb stop at jump three. The rest of the course went really well and Cali rode awesome, especially to jump seven when Faith didn't really want to go over it.

The rest of the eventing team did great as well, although I wasn't able to watch all of their rides. Lauren ended up third in Novice with just one rail in stadium. Morgan catch rode a cute little mare and ended up fourth with no jumping penalties. And Katherine won her Hopeful division! Poor Julie couldn't ride her horse in cross country or stadium because of a stone bruise but his dressage test was very nice.

We put up our Eventing Team banner outside the office along with our t-shirts and while we only sold one t-shirt (bummer!), I think we got a lot of exposure for the team. It was a fun day and all of us came home both happy and tired.

A picture of FENCE's gorgeous cross country course!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Clemson Eventing Team's first horse trial

So this Sunday the Clemson Intercollegiate Eventing Team (CIET) is competing in our first horse trial as a "team". I say this loosely because the team itself isn't competing against other teams, but it's the first time the team will be up there competing together individually. Our eventual goal is to compete as a team against other teams like in the Adult Challenge or even at the Virginia Horse Trials which hosts college teams.

We chose an unrecognized horse trial to go to because most college students don't have the funds to compete at the recognized level. I've been extremeeeely lucky in that my parents have been behind me 100% by paying for my horse and for me to compete. They've been awesome and I know they love the sport as much as I do. I'm only going up this weekend to watch, support, and walk courses because the levels don't go above Novice but I'm really excited. A lot of the team members are coming up to support those who are riding (we have five members riding) and I think we'll have a lot of fun cheering people on.

We'll also be selling our AWESOME t-shirts!

We're hoping to get a lot of exposure out of this show. Go Clemson!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

She did it!

Well, my trainer Holly completed the CCI*** at Fairhill which means: SHE CAN GO TO ROLEX!!

Obviously, I'm excited.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to go watch or groom since I'm still in school, but I heard that almost the entire cross country course was turned into soup. Out of 78 entries in the CCI*** only 35 finished. The majority of riders withdrew. It was totally nerve-racking waiting to hear the results because I knew that if Holly didn't ride, she wouldn't have the chance to go to Rolex.

Holly and Stewie (her crazy but extremely talented Thoroughbred), earned a respectable 58 in dressage to put them in the middle of the pack. She rode cross country and went clean with only 19 time penalties and then went double clear in stadium to end up in 15th place.

She said that Stewie was amazing, which he usually is. The horse absolutely lives for cross country. And when I said crazy, I do mean crazy. He's only 8 so he's still young but he definitely knows his job and he loves doing it.

It's really exciting to see them doing so well because Holly is such an amazing person, rider, and horsewoman. She's one of the funniest people I've ever met and she's also one of the most talented riders I've ever seen. And, to top it off, she knows her shit.
I can't wait for Rolex now - I wish it was coming up sooner!

Photos: Holly dominating the Fairhill three star course. Photo credit:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Showing Off

The last two horse trials May has been amazing. She's been soft and supple in the dressage, beasted the cross country, and picked those knees up high in the stadium. I'm really looking forward to seeing how she does at the Preliminary at River Glen.

So as a tribute to her (because I do love her), I figured I'd post some of my favorite pictures just to show off.

A dressage picture at Tryon Riding and Hunt Club horse trials. May was awesome, however I screwed up one of the movements of the test. Funny thing is that I rode Prelim test B at the last show and Prelim test A at this show and somehow managed to mess up the trot to canter part on both of them! Guess I should read those tests more carefully.

Up and over one of the coops on the course. These two coops were set at a really steep angle and Don (who walked the course with me) suggested that since it was my first Prelim I should take the long route (circle after the first coop and take the second), which I did. It rode great but I'm positive that next time I'll take the short route.

One of our best stadium rounds to date! May hit every spot and she jumped up and round over the fences. We were one of only four rounds to go clear in our division. The mare is really turning out to be great!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A New Day

So this is my first post on my blog. I'm going to really try to keep up with this thing and what's going on with myself and my horse May (Maybelline Cover Girl). Just a little bit about me, I'm a senior Communication Studies major at Clemson University graduating in December (scary thought there), I'm president of the Clemson Intercollegiate Eventing Team (CIET), and I'm currently eventing May at Preliminary.

A little bit about May: she's a Trakehner/Thoroughbred, 10 years old, 15.3 hands, bay and (obviously) a mare. I bought her from Mary Quarles when she was 6 years old and she really hadn't done much of anything. The past four years have been both wonderful and difficult for the two of us but we've finally reached my goal of Preliminary. I'm hoping to take her to a few CCI*'s and if she's up for it, maybe go Intermediate.

We hauled up to Holly Hepp's ( this summer and I spent the time there as a working student. It was absolutely the best thing that's happened for us and my riding has just soared. I still go up to Holly's once a month for a tune up (and to hang out with her and all my favorite barn people). May and I are very excited for the rest of the fall season and for the spring season.