Horse Life, Horse Shows

Full Gallop- What I Learned and What’s Next

I’ve had a lot of time to reflect over the HT at Full Gallop the last couple days. I stayed home sick yesterday and attempted to go to work today, but was home by 1. I’m usually the sick person who still keeps going, but whatever this is has wiped me out.

i-really-hate-being-sick_o_950614The struggle is real.

Anyway, so here’s my observation on Full Gallop-

If we have to bring the kids or have that much driving to do, get a stall and stay overnight.

That was my mistake. I underestimated how draining driving 5 hours in one day (especially the trip back home) was. A stall would’ve gone a long way on Sunday. Since I obviously couldn’t bring P with me to walk stadium and xc, Matt had to stay with him and I had to bring the kids. It would’ve been so much easier to just stick him in a stall and go grab something to eat with the family, rather than have one of us always running after a kid or making sure P was properly occupied.

Check the Omnibus for course descriptions before entering.

Full Gallop is hosting a recognized event next month and I was on the USEA website checking out the Omnibus listing. I’m definitely not entering, but when I saw the xc course description, I realized that FG probably wasn’t the best HT to enter P into.


Wear spurs AND consistently train P to move off my leg.

I know this one is my fault. I’ve been having these issues with P for awhile where I have to ask not-so-nicely for him to move forward. I haven’t spent enough time lightening him to my leg so that he moves forward when I ask. It’s time to go back to basics with him and get him consistently moving forward and staying forward without me nagging. After dressage, I was questioning whether or not it was a fitness problem, but then feeling him power forward on xc when I asked made me realize it’s a training thing.

Don’t get overconfident on course

This happened in both stadium and xc. I was sure he would jump the coop so I didn’t push him forward enough to it. Sure enough, he stopped. Same on xc. He had just jumped every single obstacle so surely we wouldn’t have an issue at the last jump, right? Wrong. I let my reins get too long, I didn’t focus on the fence and, like stadium, I didn’t ride him forward towards it.

P’s xc boots don’t fit.

I’ve got the Premier Equine Air Cooled boots- smalls for the hinds because I read reviews that said the hind boots run really large, and mediums for the fronts. I got them last December but didn’t really use them on a regular basis until recently. I used them last Monday to jump and then on Tuesday when we went xc schooling. When we were done, my trainer noticed rubs on each of his feet- same place each leg. So I thought that maybe I put them on too low because I hadn’t seen those marks before. I used them on Sunday and when we were done with xc, they had definitely rubbed him again because the sore on his right front was bleeding slightly. I was definitely careful to fasten them higher and readjust after stadium. So I’m going to send the boots back (thanks SmartPak!) and get the fronts in small to see if those fit better. If not, all 4 will have to go back and we’ll try the Majyk Equipe ones. I definitely owe P a lot, running xc in boots that were rubbing him.


Sit back.

One would think I would’ve gotten the message by now, but the fetal position does not help me ride. SIT BACK.

Pilgrim is forgiving (to an extent), but he’s not a packer.

Pilgrim tolerates some things from me, but he needs a pilot, not a passenger. If I’m not 150% sure that we need to jump something, be in a different gait, stop, etc, then he gets really confused and just stops whatever he’s doing. I need to make decisions and stick with them, rather than ask Pilgrim to do something and wait to see if he does it. He’s 5 and still new to the showing thing, I can’t expect him to babysit me.

I would love a GoPro or a real video camera.

We had a video camera long ago, but I have no idea what even happened to it. I would love to buy the pro pictures, but seriously cannot shell out $50 for 1 5×7. I’m very visual, so it’s helpful to me to see what I look like in order to improve. And I want a GoPro just because I’d love to relive xc!

I LOVE Aiken.

I used to event in Areas IV and VIII, so this was my first trip to Aiken. It’s gorgeous there- horses everywhere. It was just littered with horse farms. If we ever moved again, I would love to move there.

I’m so grateful to be eventing again and I owe it all to Pilgrim.

When I took my 6 year hiatus after a bad xc accident 11 years ago, I never thought I’d ride again, let alone event. When I bought Jester in 2010, I just wanted to ride again. Then I bought Charlie in 2011 with the intent to event, but he had too many issues to safely let me get back into it. Then with Jester’s injury, having a 2nd child…it seemed like I’d never actually do it. It’s been bumpy, but I’m finally back.


So next steps. I’m heading to Tryon this weekend with a few girls from the new barn who are showing there. I probably won’t show, but I wanted to bring P to a weekend show without the pressure of competing. He’s never stalled overnight anywhere, so this will be the perfect time to experiment.

I’m considering entering the last HT of the War Horse Event Series at Carolina Horse Park in November. It’s the same distance as Aiken, so will definitely get a stall there. They have a maiden division which is 2’3″ again, which would probably be the wisest division to enter. I’m tempted to just go BN and see what happens, but I do think we need one more run at the lower level.

Then possibly back to Full Gallop in December for another unrecognized HT. I had planned on running BN then, but if it’s at FG, I may not. After seeing their BN course and how many issues/eliminations there were, it may not be the smartest decision. In BN, there were 5 eliminations and 1 rider fall, and countless refusals in XC. Not exactly confidence inducing.

As far as this week goes, P had Monday and Tuesday and was adjusted yesterday morning. I’m heading out there this evening to start working on forward!

4 thoughts on “Full Gallop- What I Learned and What’s Next”

  1. Oh I remember seeing you guys when I was judging! You looked great at my fence. I’m so happy to see you’re an amateur with an OTTB, that’s what I’m aiming to be too 🙂


  2. i’m super guilty about getting complacent with my horse (who’s just as new to eventing as i am) – not a successful recipe. also, spurs and a stick always and forever. you don’t need them until you do. and then… you do lol. but seriously tho – you guys had a really truly awesome event, and i love all of your takeaways!! my trainer is fond of saying ‘experience is that thing you get right after you needed it’ so i always walk away from each event wondering what new info i can add to the cache 🙂


    1. Definitely learned my lesson about the spurs! I’ve only used a crop with P once and it didn’t go too well, which is why I went with baby spurs and those seem to be just enough. I think I’m going to start carrying a crop though, to get him used to it. May be a racetrack thing…Love your trainer’s view on experience (and SO true)!


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