Horse Life

Next Steps

After the total high that was Windridge Horse Trials, I’m already looking forward to the next one. I don’t majikally think he’ll never stop again, or expect that we’ll lead from start to finish again, but it was definitely a step in the right direction, one that I’ve pointed him towards the last 2 years and failed every time. We’ve never finished on our dressage score before…ever. He’s always had a refusal on either XC or in SJ (or both), or I’d somehow manage to eliminate us, OR I’d scratch because he’d be stopping at warmup jumps. So while ya, it was starter and all of 2’3″, it was exactly what him and I needed.

Oh, and I’m making Trainer B ride him the day before horse trials EVERYTIME. Not messing with a winning formula.


For most people, the season is coming to an end, but I’m in Area II and close to Area III so there’s still some to choose from. As I was perusing the USEA website, I saw that River Glen in TN has a starter division that maxes out at 2’6″. Bigger than the typical 2’3″starter courses that I’ve been at and sounded like the perfect segue to BN since it’d be half little jumps and half BN sized jumps. So I emailed the secretary to see if they would be offering it, and…ugh.

3f96a41762d4a39d130b9712d32d6b06--scandal-sonsThey ARE, but they’re running it as a one-day on Friday only with no stabling offered. Since I’m 4 hours away, that’s just not happening. Their BN course looks very inviting though, and they list it as average on the Omnibus. I’ve cyber-stalked YouTube and MyCourseWalk and the fences don’t appear to be daunting, with lots of galloping in between to get rolling.

BUT. BN = USEA record and what if Windridge was a fluke?

Another option is to go to Full Gallop the weekend before and run their starter course as one more practice before BN, then head to River Glen for BN. That would be great if the Full Gallop weekend wasn’t already a bit…full. That Friday night I’m taking my oldest kid to a concert and then Saturday I’m running the Spartan Beast: all 14+ miles and 30+ obstacles. Last year it took me 6 hours, which means I wouldn’t even be able to get to Aiken until Sunday morning. I can already tell you that even just walking the XC course (and even SJ), let alone riding it, not even 24 hours out from the Beast would simply suck.


This will be me the day after


The OTHER option I have is to brave going back to Carolina Horse Park for their unrecognized horse trial. It’s the same weekend as River Glen, but half the distance and half the cost. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?


I’m hesitant about that one because, well, my last experience at CHP was less than stellar. And not even the whole becoming a lawn dart in stadium. No, it’s because the schooling day was absolute madness and I’m NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN.

Throughout the year, they typically have the schooling day on Saturday and the horse trial on Sunday. But the November one is also a championship, so they’re having D/SJ/XC schooling on Friday, SJ/XC schooling on Saturday while simultaneously running the HT dressage, then running the HT SJ/XC on Sunday. I can already picture the chaos. When I went for the regular HT in June there were 250+ entries. With the addition of the championship, I’d imagine the entries would be even higher.




What I DO know is that P & I are heading back to Windridge for the 3rd weekend in a row, this time for XC schooling on Sunday. Then I’m hoping to get in another hunter pace the next Sunday in Tryon, and then there are 2 local jumper shows the last weekend in October to pick from.

Now I just have to decide the best route to take for all 3 phases! Feel free to chime in!

Option A: Run BN at River Glen and hope for the best.

Option B: Go to FG November 5th and do starter while trying to stay on despite having legs of jelly. Then go to River Glen the following weekend for BN.

Option C: Stick to the schooling and local shows in October and then brave CHP’s schooling HT.


P got off a well deserved Monday & Tuesday, then yesterday I went to go set up a gymnastic exercise. One of the things Trainer B noticed when he rode him is that P gets flustered if you don’t help him pick a distance, and it’s high time he learned where to put his own feet and for me to learn to stay out of his way. So I watched this handy tutorial courtesey of EventionTV and copied it at home. P’s never done a bounce before so I started with just the trot poles and bounce.


After an initial WTF moment when he considered making the bounce an oxer (I had seen it coming and had already grabbed mane) he was phenomenal through it. So I put the one-stride vertical up, and while in the past P has balked when he’s seen a mess of poles (let alone all different colors of the rainbow), he sailed right over. Rinse and repeat a few more times and he got to be done. So proud of this guy!



12 thoughts on “Next Steps”

  1. I’m going to toss out option D and tell you to go to Jumping Branch in November. It’s a wonderful, inviting, low key event that is just pleasant. Plus it’s unrecognized so yay for the price! I’m also pretty sure that the starter division has 2 required jumps and the rest is pick and choose from the BN course. Or do BN there and since it’s unrecognized it won’t count towards your USEA record 🙂

    I really like River Glen and do suggest putting that on your list of places to go but I’d probably like another Starter for confidence before tackling BN. Their BN is very inviting but there is 1 jump on the course that horses tend to look at hard and it has its fair share of stops (it’s a produce stand and looks very boring to us but something about it spooks horses)

    Hope this helps!!!! Good luck making your decision on what to do next! Chimi’s made it very easy for me bc he’s still LAME 😭😭😭 I’ve got my farrier coming soon to see if he can find a sore spot otherwise Chimi’s going to be making a trip to the vet 😫


    1. Noooooo Chimi!!! Could just be a crazy abscess that is comfortable residing in his hoof. Fingers crossed that’s the case 😦

      I didn’t know JB was still running shows! I remember they cancelled one earlier this year so I wasn’t sure if they were going to keep going since the facility is/was for sale. That was the one I went to and withdrew right before SJ because P was stopping nonstop in SJ warmup and I didn’t feel like public humiliation that particular day :\

      If Husband is still on medical leave I can go to that one, but if he leaves when he’s supposed to (Nov 15th), then I’ll be kid-ridden. I’d love to go back there, though. It was a super nice place and the XC course looked like a lot of fun.

      Agree that another starter would be the best. I’ll probably end up at CHP, and just hide until the craziness dies down.


  2. There is nothing wrong with taking it slowly and getting another starter under your belt or going the schooling show route if you can. The schooling shows tend to be way cheaper for me but then I am blessed to have both Chatt and Poplar very close.

    It might be too far but the same weekend as River Glen Chatt is hosting back to back schooling shows. You could do two different levels, BN twice, or do a CT and XC schooling on Saturday and the three phase on Sunday or any other combo. Chatt is a fun venue and I find their XC is very well done and nothing besides the arc jump is brightly painted or spooky. They sometimes dress their stadium up with flowers but I haven’t seen that in a while (there were no flowers for the recognized area champs!).

    You and P are making great strides! You’ve got this, whatever you decide.


    1. It’s just under 5 hours from me, but that format is really intriguing. I went on YT to course stalk it and found a video of you & Gus! You’re going to kill Novice in a couple weeks.

      I’d rather go the unrecognized route until I’m less suspicious of P stopping 😂 I’m a little wary of schooling HTs after going to Carolina HP and seeing that they’re so lax in their standards that some of BN was technically Novice 😳 But the videos I’ve found of Chatt looked pretty average and they have camping hookups. So that’s a definite possibility. Thanks for letting me know about it!


      1. Ha! Hopefully it looked like we were having fun. We’ve ridden at Chatt a lot, you’ll find good middle of the road to easy courses for their unrecognized if you ever head out our way. 🙂

        You guys have come a long way this summer!


  3. Can you do option D? All the schooling shows and pause on the recognized? Or maybe ask if you can school at the end of the day when things are calmer for CHP, maybe running just xc if you’re allowed? Idk thinks are pretty flexible in my area so maybe that’s not really an option haha


    1. After going to Carolina HP in June and seeing that fences aren’t really within standards (most of BN was technically Novice 😳), I’ve been a little cautious of schooling HTs. The starter courses at recognized events still follow standards. BUT Lauren just told me about a schooling HT at Chatt Hills in GA that looks enticing. I’m going to make Trainer B decide for me. I just can’t 😂


      1. Oh bummer. We’re pretty spoiled out here with our schooling show opportunities. The courses may be….odd sometimes but the organizers are always so accommodating and let you move up or down levels, skip or add in fences as needed, etc. Makes it a great opportunity to basically ride a full course in a show environment but to tailor it to your needs. Of course you wont place but who cares haha


  4. i love that grid exercise!!! also good luck with choosing. i tend to be pretty conservative about decisions like that so personally i would shoot for the outing likeliest to continue building P up and letting him feel like a goddamn champion rather than risking undermining the new confidence by pushing for more when it’s maybe not totally confirmed yet. so for me, that would be a starter at or about the same level P just crushed. ymmv tho!


    1. Yeah, that’s the plan. It’s so tempting to move on up because the 2’3″ stuff is just so easy for him, but confidence is the key. We’ll hang out at least the rest of the year at this height, then go to BN next year. A lot of events in Area III start out the season with softer courses that get harder during the year so that would be a good time to move up.


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