Horse Shows

Ride Times and Nervousness

After our super exciting XC/Stadium schooling on Tuesday, good lil’ P got Wednesday off. I went over to the barn to groom and hand graze, and to try on new open front boots, but he needed the day off. The BM said he laid in his field until it was time to bring him in and then he slept in the corner of his stall for about an hour until it was time to go out again. Good.

Yesterday I went out and rode in the dressage saddle. I really hate that saddle and feel like I fight it more than what’s normal. It fits P, which is why I’ve kept it so long (since it was the ONLY saddle that fit him during our 6 month jump saddle search), but it’s going to be time to start looking for a new one soon. My leg simply doe not fit and since the knee blocks aren’t removable, my choices are either 1) stirrups too long to where I lose them all the time, or 2) stirrups correct length for my leg, but the blocks are in the way and my leg gets put in the incorrect position.

Not a nice, long dressage leg

Anyway, our ride was…eh. Not spectacular, but no real issues besides the fact that he gets behind my leg and I feel like I nag him so much to stay forward. We were in the small schooling arena again and there were 4 other riders taking a lesson, so that + all the jumps in the way meant that we were limited in what we could do. He didn’t feel very “bendy” either direction and seemed just generally bored with the ride. I had to pony kick more than once and really felt like I was working at 70% and he was working 30%. So far I’ve never used spurs or a crop, but I’m thinking it’s time to stick the baby spurs on. I always escalate my aids- squeeze, harder squeeze, then kick, but when you need a specific movement at a certain letter, there’s no time for escalation. I highly doubt a dressage judge would be very impressed with me kicking him around the arena.

Luckily, we’ve got a dressage lesson with trainer PW tonight at the old barn, so we’ll get a change of scenery + a dressage arena to work in (alone). I struggle with the trot to canter transition when he’s behind my leg the most because then he runs into the canter and I bounce like a ragdoll and can’t maintain a steady connection to the bit. So I expect that will take up a big chunk of the lesson.

I finally received ride times this morning, thanks to a lot of late entries. Since Full Gallop is 2 1/2 hours away, I was waiting for ride times before deciding whether to get there Saturday afternoon or go up Sunday morning. Getting there Saturday would mean having to book a hotel and reserve a stall, as well as find a friend or neighbor to let Kaiser (our dog) out and feed him, so this was cutting it kinda close.


I’m just going to take a second to talk about the name “Tadpole” for a division. I’ve seen the division name before, but it generally means x-rails or ground poles. At Hillcrest, Tadpole was the name of the division that does Intro B, x-rails and has only 5 mandatory xc jumps (no water or ditch). Maiden was the name of the division I did, which was Intro C, 2′ and all 13 xc jumps, including a ditch.

THIS Tadpole division is BN A, 2’3″ and all 12 xc jumps, including a ditch and a water complex. Can’t we have a more substantial name than Tadpole? When I told my mom I was competing this weekend, she asked what I was doing and I told her Tadpole and she said “Oh, how cute!” Not cute. We’re badass.

dd1aedc9c6dcb6cac6789a5358e95e47287bdaac6a246fb2fd425798b2548e59Anyway, our dressage time isn’t until 1:10, so luckily I don’t have to go down there Saturday. I’m grateful for that, but it also means we’re probably going to have to bring the kids. Our normal babysitter could only watch them until 3 and there’s not really anyone else I feel comfortable asking to watch them all day. Justin is 7 and super polite, well-mannered and easy going. Baby Noah just turned 2 and is a sociopath. No exaggeration.

I like to get there early and get P grazing and hanging out so we’ll probably leave the barn around 8:30 AM. That puts us there around 11, so plenty of time to get situated. I have a new warm up technique I’m going to try out, courtesy of the wise words of Denny Emerson. Seriously, if you don’t follow him on FB, I highly recommend doing so. He’s hilarious and super candid about what he’s done that has or hasn’t worked. Gives hope to a mere mortal like me.


Also this morning, I just found out that Full Gallop posts their course maps on their website. No pictures, sadly, but a description of each obstacle. I even checked on MyCourseWalk, but they only have the Prelim course up there. While we were xc schooling on Tuesday, I opted not to jump the coop, the cabin or the rolltop that were there because of how tired he was. KC for the win.


And what the heck is a Palisade jump? On further inspection (Google), apparently, it is this contraption:

double-palisade-cross-country-jumpYep, didn’t school anything like that either.

Competition-wise, it’s steep. There are 19 others in the mighty Tadpole division, so naturally I Facebook/USEA Rider and Horse Search stalked them. Naturally.


There’s some steep competition, though. 7 are pros who have competed at Prelim or higher. One horse won the BN3D last year. 4 Amateurs that compete regularly at BN/N. So not too much hope of coming out on top, but at this point, that’s not even my goal (I’m lying, it is). But seriously, my MAIN goal (after winning) is to not get eliminated. I suppose that’s step #1 to my goal of winning.

the-fundamentals-of-competition-are-to-be-competitive-thumbSo tonight- dressage lesson + I have to memorize BN A. We’ve shown BN A once, at our first CT back in August. I was so busy freaking out about the stadium part that I lacked any sense of geometry, but we were able to pull off a 39 (61%). I don’t love BN A because it has a longer free walk than P has an attention span for, and it doesn’t have the canter down the long sides, which P excels at. So hopefully we score much higher than that on Sunday.

Tomorrow- crossfit (for me ) + hack day (for P and I) + tack cleaning + trailer cleaning + horse cleaning + truck/trailer packing day. Yeesh.




4 thoughts on “Ride Times and Nervousness”

  1. lol yea i don’t love ‘tadpole’ as a division name either… a lot of events up here will call a 2’3″ division baby BN, which maybe seems better? idk haha. also palisades aren’t always as airy as the pic you showed – sometimes they just look sorta like upright ramps. ie, usually not spooky. anyway i hope you have a blast and that P man has his xc thinking cap fully in place!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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