MeadowCreek HT Part 2: Stadium and XC

At this show, stadium and XC were only 15 minutes apart. On one hand I love that, because that means for the jumping phases there’s just one tack up, one warmup, and badaboom badabing you’re done pretty quick. Definitely shortens the day and the amount of time you spend on the horse. On the other hand, it’s hard for derps like me to mentally prepare for two phases at the same time. Let’s face it, I can barely mentally prepare for one.

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The stadium course was a challenging one for me and Henry. The beginning was pretty twisty and turny, which made it a little harder to get into a good forward rhythm. The courses here also tend to be wheeled pretty tight, so if you aren’t always looking to save some ground you’ll inevitably end up with time faults. Inside turns and shallow corners are your friend. He pretty epically saved my butt at the “in” of the two stride where I completely missed, yet he still kept listening to me the whole way through (I keep waiting for the day he realizes that I have terrible judgment and decides to completely ignore my input). He’s totally unfazed by my suckage.

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pony got hops tho
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think he cleared that one?

We rattled the “in” of the one stride pretty hard (I figured he would since it was just plain brown poles. Boring.) but somehow it settled magically back in the cups. That was a gift from the karma bank, but we were double clear! We’ve been plagued by 4fault-itis at T, so I’ll take my clear round any way I can get it.

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apparently Henry thinks he’s doing the hunter derby

Michele was the hero of the day, helping me adjust things between phases and get my horse cooled down. Trainer is about to rocket that baby out pretty much any day now, so she’s a bit limited at the moment. Michele sponged him a bit while I threw on my vest, Trainer got my pinny adjusted, I put on Henry’s cross country boots, and then I was back on and headed over to the startbox. It was like a NASCAR pit crew.

They were running a bit behind, which I had no problem with… having a few extra minutes to walk around in the shade and get my head in the game is fine by me. I didn’t think any additional warmup was necessary so we just cooled our jets and waited our turn.

This is the first time we’ve left the start box at Training where I’ve actually felt like I could be competitive. I had my watch, I knew my path, I had a plan, and I wanted a double clear. I needed to prove to myself that I could really do this, and not just “survive” it. Granted, it was technically only our second full XC round together at T, but nothing on the course walk really bothered me (except the Trakehner… I knew that he’d jump it but I still refuse to get anywhere near it on foot… I made the mistake of walking up to it last year and that ditch still haunts my nightmares) and I had total confidence in my horse. The speed was quick at 470mpm, the course was long, and it was hot, but I know my horse is fit and capable.

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you don’t have to tell him twice, GO is his favorite!

Fence one was an easy little log, which we skipped right over. I landed galloping, wanting to establish a forward pace early and get a little ahead of my minute markers.

what do you prefer, pictures or helmet cam gif?

Two was a simple roll top which was also nice and easy

then over to 3, a little log heading into the trees

back around to the skinny rolltop at 4. Because of all the branches in our path I stuck way to the right on that one but it was no problem, and by this point we settled into our rhythm.

Those branches tho

Then it was down to the little house at 5

with 5 strides down to the big ass drop at 6. That thing legit used to make me piss myself. Dare I say that it’s actually fun now?

After that it was back across the field to the half coffin. I waited a little too late here to test my brakes and we almost went right past it, but once Henry realized where I was trying to go he spun right around and hopped through it (with his patented leap over the ditch, of course). Add more bling to that pony’s halo.

Then we motored across the bridge to the one option fence on course. Either you could take the straight quick route over the Prelim weldon’s wall, or you could make a loop back around and jump a T rolltop, which added a bit of time to an already speedy track. My big girl panties just aren’t strapped on tight enough yet for the weldon’s, so I took the rolltop loop. Honestly I should have just done the Weldon’s, the horse underneath me was not going to stop even if the damn thing was on fire. Next time.

As we were turning back around to continue on our way he tripped behind and very nearly sent me flying right over his shoulder. Remember yesterday when I said it was really serendipitous that I forgot my saddle? I swear the only thing that kept me on was the big outer rear block on Trainer’s monoflap. I felt my leg catch on that thing and I was able to haul myself back upright. Meanwhile, Henry never stopped cantering, just kind of flicked an ear back at me like “Oh Jesus, you’re not gonna fall off are you?”. I had to swing my right leg forward and out so I could untangle myself, assured the jump judge that I was good, and then kept going. Time was tight y’all, no time to dawdle!

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brb, just giving Henny a quick hug…

Bless Henny’s precious little heart (again) he just kept right on trucking and hopped over 9, a little brushy thing in the shade, like nothing had ever happened. I’m 99% certain he could do this without me if he could get his hooves on a course map.

apparently I forgot to take a pic of 9

Then it was out into the big field for the down bank to corner combo at 10AB. That corner also used to make me want to piss myself, but thanks to SuperHenny it was NBD.

After that it was around to the water, which I definitely rode a bit backwards to. It was a hard left turn to it and I was a little wary after the incident at 8, so I got too handsy instead of allowing him to come forward out of the turn. But Henny being Henny he had no problem compensating for my mistake and hopped down over the log into the water, then straight out over the other one, despite my handsiness forcing him to add another teeny stride. Thank goodness for horses that are quick with their feet and tidy with their knees.

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There was a little bit of a gallop before 13, a brush table, so I let him open up and cruise a bit and just jump that one out of stride. When we landed we opened up even more for our long gallop across to the other field. Here is where I knew I would find out how much horse I really had, but as soon as I asked him to go, he WENT, so I knew we still had plenty in the tank. Pretty sure I was breathing harder than he was.

After the long gallop I had to balance him back a lot for 14 and 15, the angled brushes. There was only one good line through there and the approach was a bit weird, but as soon as I found my line and got him straight he pinged right on through almost a little too eagerly.

MOM I GOT IT!!!

Then we had another long gallop down to the Trakehner of Death with the huge deep ugly drainage ditch under it. I gave him a couple little taps on the shoulder as we got close, probably more for my benefit than his, and while he definitely gave it some air time, he never even thought about backing off. I think the best part of that fence was my comment that you can hear on the helmet camera video a few strides afterwards (I’ll post the full video towards the bottom so you can see the almost-wipeout and hear all the commentary).

This is the closest I would get to it on the course walk. It looks cute from this far away.

At that point I felt pretty “home free”… 17AB was a pretty simple bending line of chevron to rolltop

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geez, I forgot to take a pic of this one too

then out into the field again over the BAT (big ass table)

to another little brush table that we shared with Novice as our last fence. Pretty sure it was the tiniest one on the course! Funny story, at our first ever event at BN I looked at that very same fence while we were course walking and said I would never ever jump it because it was huge. Heh. This fence is memories.

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Henry came home strong, still full of run, and under OT for another double clear!

We were the only ones in the division to finish on our dressage score, and the double clear stadium and XC moved us up to 2nd. Pretty darn thrilled with my pony, he’s really starting to feel like a pro at his job. It’s nice to know that he’s confident enough to where I can make some mistakes at this level and he’s completely undeterred by it.

After XC, Michele helped me get him cooled down and get him wrangled into his ice boots (which definitely is a 2 person job) while he ate half a jar of cookies, and then I packed his feet. Our standing deal is that if he’s double clear XC he gets every cookie I have in my possession at the time, and I’m always true to my word. I’m officially cleaned out.

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Have I mentioned he really hates his ice boots?

Overall it was a really fun show and a huge boost to our confidence. Of course I’d like to eliminate the mistakes, but now I know for sure that we can do it, and I have things to improve upon for next time. So damn proud of my pony though, he continues to step up to the plate and do his job without fail. It was not that long ago that Training was a distant fantasy for me and he’s made it possible in short order.

And I really can’t thank Michele enough for all her help, she was indispensable all day long… even helped me pack all my crap! That’s a true friend right there. Can’t wait to get back out there and do it all again (Michele can you move back to Texas please?).

74 thoughts on “MeadowCreek HT Part 2: Stadium and XC

  1. LOVE the gifs! and CONGRATULATIONS!!! That SJ portion made me dizzy just looking at it.

    Also, you have my complete awe and admiration for tackling the trakehner. That is probably the only jump I can foresee wanting to piss my pants over. Well, that and an open oxer. YUCK.

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      1. I am so glad to be back to a computer so I can play catch up. First we will never ever let you get away with forgetting about leaving your saddles home. Ever. Second, that course (Stadium) was a nightmare. It doesnt even show how bad it is in diagram form it just sucked. Hugely. And Henry nailed it all πŸ™‚ (With or without help from you:)! And CC. YAY I am so glad i got to see henry and amanda go in real life!! It was amazing. Had a great time (albeit my legs got fried in the sun) at the show! So glad i came in early to do this. Merritt and her group were great to meet too. But Henry yes, he is all that and a bag of chips too! πŸ™‚

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    1. It’s funny how much of a pro he is now. I remember when he still left the start box with some trepidation, needing his hand held. Not so much the case anymore. He’s like “I’d advise hanging on, because here I go!”.

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      1. That is SUCH a good feeling tho – esp when you know the horse has the education to carry through (as opposed to some other big bay who will go unnamed who definitely does *not* necessarily know all the answers but is pretty sure he can figure it out on his own anyway, thankyouverymuch lol)

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  2. That was awesome, well done! Possibly my favourite thing in the world is Henry’s ear response to your “good boy!” at the first fence: “YES, Henny GOOD BOY!!”

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  3. Damn! I forgot how long xc courses can be! I love reading your show posts- it’s a total memory lane for me at some of the same venues! Does Greenwood still run recognized events? That was my first win at training and I’ll never forget it! Huge kudos to you and Henry, such an amazing team!!

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      1. Half of it remains available to equestrians for schooling and they moved some of the cross country fences over. You can still go school there and they have some clinics and open type shows. It is called Marvin Savage Farm now. πŸ™‚

        Also, does it help to go back and watch the helmet cam footage after cross country or is it just for fun? I’m in no danger of doing eventing, but was curious.

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        1. Yeah I know, he doesn’t quite have everything though and it’s pretty condensed, so it really only works as a schooling facility. It’s a bit far for us to drive for what it has now honestly, considering Willow Draw is the same distance and has more.

          I like being able to go back and watch the helmet cam. Yes it’s mostly for fun, but sometimes I also see things I wouldn’t necessarily have remembered. It’s also great to have Trainer watch it, too, so she can see exactly how things went and what we need to work on!

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  4. Hennythingispossible for real!!
    He is such a beast on XC and it honestly brings tears to my eyes to see how much he loves his job.
    “Hang on, mom, I’ve got this!”
    oh and I love the combo of pictures, gifs and full length video! Thank you for taking the time to do that.

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  5. The gifs are totally the best part of this, partly because they show the fences really well but mostly because they show off how EXCITED Henry was to do this thing. πŸ™‚ Way to hold on out there, and set him up for serious success!

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  6. I love that you put both the photos and the gifs.. But if I had to choose, gifs all the way! Btw, amazing save out there! I probably would’ve eaten dirt…

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  7. I liked having both the photos and the gifs. The photos let me get a good look at what you’re approaching, then the gifs are fun to watch, especially watching Henny’s ears. Sometimes he is radar-focused on the upcoming jump, and sometimes there is a tiny flick back at you just before takeoff–I’m thinking those must be some of those “Mom, I’ve got this!” moments.

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