Friday, June 18, 2010

Aspen Farm Horse Trials 2010

Aspen Farm Horse Trials, Yelm WA
Recognized by the United States Eventing Association
Area VII
Division: Beginner Novice
Participants in division: 20
Friday: Dressage, BN Test A
Saturday: Stadium Jumping
Sunday: Cross Country

Jasper: Just turned 5.

Jasper's first recognized event. Really, his first event period. Mine too.

All photos courtesy of Action Taken Photography

I felt the dressage test went pretty well. It's a very simple test. I completely forgot where I was and what was next on three separate occasions, bent out in a corner when I was supposed to be circling, had some pretty speedy transitions because man, those letters come up FAST in a small arena! He felt pretty good, I think I was too nervous to even really notice. He didn't argue and was fun to ride because he was excited and "on his toes" but still paying attention.

After our test I loaded him up in the trailer and took him back to the house. A while later Terri calls and the first thing she says is congratulations. "For what?" I ask. "For winning!" she says. "Yeah, right. We totally blew a bunch of stuff." Silence. "What... are we in last?" "I'm looking online at the scoreboard and you won! With a score of 29.5!" More silence. "I don't think that's possible..."

29.5 is 70.5 in "real" dressage. In 3 Day Eventing, the lowest score wins. So, for instance, for every rail you knock down in stadium jumping you get 4 points added to your dressage score. For every refusal on the cross country course you get 20 points added to your score.

The stadium was BIG. I went to the arena to walk my course in the morning and asked where the BN course was set up. "This is it" she says. "The fences are HUGE! And there's huge combination (I swear it was a one stride) and a bending 3 stride line!" "Well," she says, "you can trot it..." One of the trainers there said that if I could get my horse through this course I could get him through a Novice level course.

As they were calling my number to be on deck, Jessica asked where my medical armband was. Uh... for stadium? She's a good sprinter. They had one at the Gallop's saddlery booth.

Grab mane and hold on. It was Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

The first jump on course. He... cleared it.
My stirrups felt really, really short but in these pictures they look too long.

Yep, cleared this one too, think? It was problematic, because he also landed galloping. So it really shortened up the distances between the fences- the fact that he landed way beyond the landing area and was already galloping, but not necessarily balanced or ready for the next jump that came rushing toward us at a thousand miles per hour.

You don't have to have good form if you just overjump everything.

Look at how hard he's trying. He thought some of these were really scary. Plus the fact he really hasn't had much experience with oxers. Thre were a freaking lot of oxers.

The combination. It was a sea of blue and white rails. I swear it was only a one stride. I'll be able to tell once I get the video. He was very surprised there was another jump so close and on landing over this one veered right to go around it. I pulled him left which resulted in:

"Skyrockets in flight..."

And a discombobulated landing.

The last fence. Whew. Through all of that we only had one rail down. I was pretty pleased after all of the adrenaline wore off. There were only 6 clear rounds out of 20.

Cross country was just such an unknown. He hadn't seen anything like some of the fences on course, I had no idea what he was going to do. We had a refusal at the second fence, (the first "real" fence on course) I believe he was just too overwhelmed by his surroundings. We had just galloped through a path in the woods that opened up to a big field, there was a big dark scary jump next to ours, and at the last minute he noticed the jump judge.

He took it the second time just fine, took the 3rd OKish, took the 4th pretty well, then found his stride. I found myself pulled to the rest of the jumps. I tried trotting into some of the really scary ones so he could get a good look at them, and he would pick up the canter on his own. I think he started to have fun about half way around, it's always fun to gallop.

(If you don't see your distance you just close your eyes)

I checked online when I got back to the house and it looked like we dropped to 13th after the refusal on course. Then Terri called. "You got 8th!" "No, I got 13th." "No, they did the scores wrong, I'm looking at it right now and you got 8th! Get back over there and go get your ribbon!" Needless to say, I got back over there pretty quick and now have a giant brown ribbon to show for it. And a gift certificate to a tack store that I already used to get a white all-purpose pad and a pair of socks.

I couldn't be more pleased. Not only did we complete all 3 phases without getting disqualified (my goal), but I have an official event horse. Plus (and this is kind of a big plus) he didn't scream the whole time we were there. He was relaxed enough to GRAZE. He did do some landscaping when tied to the trailer, but who needs nice grass when you can have churned up sod chunks, rocks, and dirt. He didn't pull back while tied to the trailer, the halter and lead rope are still in one piece. We've come a long way, baby! Should have the video of the stadium and xc in a couple of weeks.

On Tuesday we came home, and next weekend we're going to a one-day horse trials put on by a pony club. On July 17th there's a combined test/derby I think we'll go to, then one last recognized horse trails in September down in Idaho. I think a lot of trail riding will be had from here on out! Oh, and I'm making jumps. Going to set up some grids, see if we can figure out how to jump. :)


EvenSong said...

Wow...just WOW!!
Isn't this just about his first "real" event? You're right about the over-jumping, but he'll learn (I hope).
Those first two shots he just looks absolutely regal.
Do you realize that if you hadn't had the refusal, he would've won the division? I don't mean that so much as a spoiler, as much as "Look how far he's come!" in what, just over a year! Wait 'til he gets some mileage on him...Oh the places you'll go!
Way Ta Go!

Albigears said...

Yeah, this was his first real event. Really, his first event period. Mine too. I'm going to edit and put that in! Should I add that he's a 5-year-old OTTB and he WON the dressage?
Winning, of course, would have been awesome. I feel strangely happy with the results though. He really couldn't have had better behavior and he tried his guts out. I've compared this experience to our first outing (a dressage show) and we've come a looooooong way!!

jacksonsgrrl said...

Lovin' the advice, "You don't need to have form if you just overjump everything", and "If you don't see the distance just close your eyes!"
You're my kinda people Megan! Cause I'd be closing my eyes and grabbing some mane, and trying to pray on some of those, I admit! Where did my jumping days go? And is it really like riding a bike? I won't know till I jump 3'9 again, and we may not be seeing that for a bit on Jackson Green. I can't believe how well Jas cleans up! He looks SOOOO good in his braids! Makes me want to go braid, and clean Jackson all up and then do, well, something! Perhaps 2'4? :) Congrats! So proud of you!!!
You are an eventer! BAD ASS!

Albigears said...

Mindy- I've never jumped 3'9, so there!
Although in some of those pics...
If you get Jackson all prettied up you must take pictures.
And thank you!

Rising Rainbow said...

Congrats! What a great finish for the first time out for both you and your horse. That's absolutely amazing.....and pretty darn cool.

Merri said...

the dressage: pretty!
the jumping: you got over the jumps!
cross country: YOU GUYS ARE CRAZY!
great job!
- The Equestrian Vagabond

PruSki said...

AMAZING!! I am sooooo jealous! You guys looked awesome. Congrats! What a good boy!

cindy lou said...

Congratulations! i'm a new blog follower and i plan to take my pony to his first events this fall, and my biggest fear is that he is gonna scream the whooole time. y'all look great! congrats on winning the dressage!

starrynights said...

Congrats on a job well done. Especially for the first time for both of you. Good job hanging on during stadium. Your horse looks like he has tons of heart and that is so important in eventing. You can always teach them proper jumping technique, but you can't teach the right attitude. I hope to be back on my horse some day and see you at one of the trials here in the Northwest!

jacksonsgrrl said...

Ha, ha, ha! I will probably never jump that high again either! That was when I was 15 without a brain in my head! I would be astounded to do an even smaller version of what you did on Jas! I CANNOT believe the size of some of that stuff, and that he was just so awesome! Well, I believe it cause I know you are a hell of a rider, but WOW! And I know you are a hell of a rider because how many people go to a racetrack in Ireland, don't tell the boss that they don't know how to ride a racehorse and actually excercise them for how many months was it again? And what DO you hang onto when the whole mane is braided? I've never done cross country!!!! Just stadium on a total schoolmaster...
So what's next? Are you still working at the dressage barn or what is the deal? And thanks for the kind comments on FB, it is a very tumultous time, and YES I do want to go to Florida. RIGHT NOW!!!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

wow wow wow...that Jasper is a beaut and so young and talented. great job with him!! Soooo impressive

BritnieAnn said...

I love it!! Such great pics! Yall looks awesome in dressage, the bunny hops over stadium are hilarious, and you look like NATURALS in xcountry! So glad it went so well! Yay Jasper! And you!

Shannon said...

Congrats! Love this story. I have a little rescue pony doing the same level up here in Area 1. Sounds like your guy loves the new job!

Albigears said...

You guys are awesome. Thanks for the words of support and encouragement. He does have heart. Maybe his new barn name will be "Bunny Hops"...

allhorsestuff said...

OH!! You tow are just doing fabulously so!!!!That WATER PHOTO is worthy of a poster!

Jasper is so great...he totally gave his all!