Monday, May 31, 2010

The "draw" is up and we're in.

There's nothing like seeing your name in print to give you heart palpitations. The "draw" (or list of who is officially entered) for Aspen Farms is up and we're on it. It's a fairly prestigious event to enter as a first timer, not exactly low key. But gorgeous. It fills up every year with a wait list. And very close to the barn, I will be able to bring Jasper home every day and won't have to stable him there.

Me. Jasper (show name Calcedon). Beginner Novice. 18 other people in my group.

June 12-14, Yelm, WA
Thur: Cross-country course open-3 pm.
Fri: Dressage
Sat: Show Jumping (N/BN)
Sun: Cross Country (N/BN)

I'm actually most nervous about the show jumping. He's never seen anything but poles, and I know there will be flower boxes, picket fences, etc. Come to think of it, I don't think he's ever really seen an oxer. We are planning on taking a stadium jumping lesson next Sunday, but I don't think the jumps are much other than poles.

Our dressage has improved greatly. I join in on one of the lessons every chance I get and have learned a ton. I am grateful to have an athletic horse who's pretty balanced and very willing. He's done very well despite me up to this point. I knew I was lagging in dressage skills, and the more I learn the more I realize I don't know. Right now we are working on his trot... I am posting with "purpose" and not just following him with a passive seat. It encourages his inside hind leg (well, both hing legs really) to come underneath himself with greater reach. We're also working on transitions, I must not just think it and then quit riding. Push through in downward transitions, tickle his mouth before upward transitions. This week I also need to work on quick transitions, the dressage test is in the small arena and I imagine things are going to happen very, very quickly. We're definitely not quick at the moment. ...Woops, didn't get canter on THAT circle, let's try another one! <-- don't think that's gonna work.

We're going cross country schooling at Northwest Equestrian Center tomorrow, pray for sun. Or just 'not rain'. I had to go buy knee high rubber boots last night in order to keep my sanity in all this mud.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Into the Sea

The ocean is a spiritual place for me, when I am on a beach with sand and crashing waves I feel like I can breathe again. Calm, meditative...

Not so much when you take your horse there.

There are many things horse threatening things between the trailer and the water. Blowing sea grass, blowing sand, dark sand, light sand, deep sand, the sand that comes off your hooves, driftwood, tire tracks, seaweed, your own shadow.

The foamy stuff left on the sand from the last wave. The waves coming in. The waves going out.

It was very exciting.

Jasper got to accompany Jessica and Josh's 3 stallions that were going to Long Beach, WA for a professional photo shoot.

Luckily he had a big strong (pony) stallion to lead the way...

(Photos courtesy of Carolynn Bunch, check out her website. Thank you Carolynn!)

Cardi providing moral support.

CARDI! Do you not SEE those waves coming STRAIGHT AT US??

Oh, the foam...

During a very athletic head-down-sideways-4-feet-all-at-once leap 10 feet above the horse eating waves, my cell phone fell to the bottom of the sea. I'm just glad I didn't end up there too.

Horse vs. ocean was a very cool experience. And I figure if he was able to set foot in moving ocean water, water complexes on cross country courses shouldn't be a problem. Right? ... right? ..?

I took a few candid snapshots of Josh and Jessica. Here are a few beach pictures of Cardi from last year.

Heading down to the beach through the parking lot.

Jessica & Josh

Nothing like the pro photos, but you get the idea.

Check out Jessica's website Equi-Librium later on for the pics.


Friday, May 14, 2010

No show.

I am not going to the show on Sunday after all. Instead, I am back at home dealing with my renter situation. You would think that by the age of 40 someone would have figured out how to pay (incredibly cheap) rent. You know, you put a check in an envelope and mail it at the beginning of the month.

ANYWAY, just wanted to thank everyone for all of their well wishes and support. It looks like we might be going to a *-real-* recognized 3-Day in June at Aspen Farms. I was really hoping for a test run this weekend but it wasn't meant to be.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

1-Day Event on Sunday...

We're signed up to compete in a 1-day event this Sunday at Northwest Equestrian Center. I think there are all three phases in one day- dressage, XC, stadium. Beginner Novice level... we can trot into the stadium jumps, right? And wrong leads in dressage are only one score, right? I'm a little nervous, but we're past the 2' division...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cross Country jumping at Aspen Farms

Jasper went to his second cross country clinic early Sunday morning! My friend Terri called earlier in the week and said there was room in the Steuart Pittman clinic for a Beginning Novice horse. It was part of the Area 7 Adult Rider's Eventing Camp that lasted over the course of 3 days, but there wasn't enough stabling available to fill all the clinics so they needed some people to haul in every day. She brought her horse Jed up from Portland and they rode in a rating clinic with Jonathan Elliot.

We hauled Jasper and Jed over very, very early in the morning. Both of us wanted an hour or so to hack around the course before the clinic started. We unloaded and Jasper didn't scream, spin in circles, or kick in place. He didn't pull back when tied to the trailer and all halters and lead ropes stayed intact and in one piece. He didn't run over anyone and send them to the first-aid tent. In fact, he stood at the trailer and ate hay out of a hay bag. Is this MY horse??? I was ready to load up and leave 15 minutes after we got there and call it a successful day.

Aspen Farms is beautiful. Rolling hills of green grass, lots of galloping trails, and the jumps are awesome. Terri and I hacked around at a walk and Jasper slightly spooked going by most of the jumps. He did go over a ditch though, no problem.

Steuart is a good instructor and a very nice person in general. Jasper was an absolute rock star. It's like he's been thinking about our other time out at XC and figured things out in his head. He was forward to the jumps and didn't suck back like last time. Instead of breaking down from canter to trot to jump, he accelerated from trot to canter. He jumped most everything out of stride and I didn't do a thing to help him other than just staying still and keeping some leg on. He STOOD STILL for short amounts of time when it was someone else's turn. Baby's growing up!

(YIKES! Turn off your sound)

The only refusal we had was the logs right before the water. He actually jumped it awkwardly the time before, but somehow I lost my stirrup and leather off my saddle and it landed in the pond.

Better it than me.

I was really, really lucky to have the Andreas show up and offer to take pictures and video for me. Andrea and Andrea are clients and friends of Jessica and so kindly got up at the crack of dawn to come to the clinic. Maggie (the organizer) also took some nice shots. I am a little aghast at how bad my leg (and body) position is in some of them... always stuff to work on I guess.

Contemplating the down bank.

Jed & Jasper

We jumped this today. It was big.

Anyway I really couldn't have asked for more. It was a total blast. A possible horse trials in our near future??