Texas Rose Fall HT: Stadium

Alright, on to the more fun phases! As I explained yesterday in the dressage post, I’ve changed up my format for show recaps to help me reflect on things a bit better. And for the jumping phases especially, I think this is really important.

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What went well?

I’m going to be brutally honest here for a minute and tell you that I was straight up shitting my pants before stadium. Emotionally, anyway. The course was big and it was technical, and the rounds I had watched before I went to tack up were not going very well. When all of the very experienced people in Intermediate are having lots of problems (including the 4* rider) it does not leave one’s confidence feeling particularly bolstered. I was starting to wonder wtf I had even been thinking, to try this, and at Texas freaking Rose – the biggest, most intimidating venue in Area 5 – of all the places.

As I was tacking up I told Henry that I really needed his help here. That I was going to do the best I could to help him out too, but he would have to meet me halfway if we were gonna do this. It might make me sound like a total loon, but I swear he understands.

We went in the ring, I took a deep breath as the whistle blew, and I committed to just TRY. That’s all. Just try. If we failed then so be it, but I’ll be damned if we came this far just for me to curl up in fetal position and ride in as if we were already defeated. I am a lot of things, but I’m not a quitter.

BOING

So I did try. As did my little gem of a horse. It wasn’t perfect, there were rails, but we did it. We fucking DID IT.

LONG SPOT BOING

Sometimes I helped him, sometimes he helped me. When I made a mistake, I rallied and kept riding instead of just crumbling and letting things fall apart.

VERTICAL BOING

It was very much a team effort, and we got it done together.

LIVERPOOL BOING, OH GOD GRAB MANE

I think I did a bit better job of sitting up than I did at Holly Hill, and I tried to keep riding forward without running him at things in a blind panic.

WHY DOES THIS JUMP LOOK SO BIG OMFG BOING

We made it through, and it wasn’t tragic, and I’ve never been more proud of a horse in my entire freaking life. Which is saying a lot, because I’m proud of Henry pretty much always, but never more so than on that day.

HENNY, YOU MAGNIFICENT BOINGY UNICORN

Rails be damned, there may have been a few happy tears on the way back to the barn, a whole lot of smooches in the stall, and Henry may have eaten like 2 dozen nickerdoodles.

What could have gone better?

Look, I was so happy to have completed the course in one piece that I did not even give a single shit about everything that went wrong. But, of course, there was plenty.

If you can’t laugh at this, we can’t be friends.

I suffered a little bit from show ring paralysis (I always do), and all of my half halts came a couple strides too late. This resulted in our one really big OOPS on the course, when after the triple I failed to get him back in time and we got down to the next oxer on a yucky half stride. Bless Henry’s golden little heart, it would have been much easier for him to just slide to a stop, but he tried his best to jam another step in and then climb over the oxer. It was hideous and embarrassing and we took a rail down with us, but he got us to the other side in one piece.

What can we work on to improve things next time?

The biggest thing is what I’ve been working on for a while – making adjustments sooner. I’m pretty good at landing from a slightly under-powered jump and immediately riding forward (like fence 1) but I’m not so good about landing from a bold jump and immediately re-balancing. While I’d much rather make a mistake going too forward rather than pulling too much, I still have to keep the balance. It’s especially important to do it sooner rather than later when he’s in this really mild hackamore, because last-minute adjustments just don’t happen.

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He loves his hackamore though

I also need to give Henry a bit of a longer distance to the oxers, especially when they’re square. He just does not jump them well from a deeper spot, never has, and despite all of our efforts, I don’t think he ever will. Which is totally counter-intuitive, but there it is.

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it would also help if we could put a liverpool under every jump, k thanks

So overall, was it a great round? No. Does that mean I’m any less proud of myself or my horse for getting through it semi-capably? No. I literally never ever ever thought we’d even contemplate this level, much less try it, much less survive it, and here we are, staring it in the face. I feel so much more confident now, in myself and in my horse, and I know that we can actually do this. The finesse will come, but for now I’m just proud of us and I can’t freaking wait for the professional pictures.

44 thoughts on “Texas Rose Fall HT: Stadium

  1. i just want to throw up looking at those jumps. And Dang Henny can bounce πŸ™‚ HA HA HA

    Great job. Whew that course looks EXHAUSTING! Pretty cool tho that you got that under your belt now though!

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  2. You two are absolutely incredible. Well done bouncing through a super technical course. You’re beyond justified in your pride! I’m continuing to love this new recap format, too. I can completely understand why it’s so much better for the mental game.

    I’m not sure my comment went through a few posts ago about this, but hopefully you’ll do a recap of the mental game books that helped you set up your new format and mindset. πŸ™‚

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    1. This particular approach is from Keep Calm and Enjoy the Ride, by Annette Paterakis. It’s a really short little book, but it hits all the main points! I’m also enjoying Brain Training for Riders, too, it’s just a lot more in-depth and thus taking longer to get through.

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  3. I’ve always enjoyed your recaps more than most, but I really really like the new perspective you have taken. I’m still relatively new to jumping and for whatever reason your new recaps come to life for me when I watch the video more than previously. Love love love it. Congrats on Prelim and kicking it in the butt! Y’all are a wonderful team!

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  4. that went fantastic – it almost looked like to that one oxer you realized on the way to it that you were more than halfway done a PRELIM stadium course and you were both like HAHA OMG WHAT?? but the best part is you bobbled, he dug you out, and you didn’t let it affect the rest of your round. That’s the hardest part.

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    1. That is exactly what happened.! LOL! I was so stressed out about finding a good distance into the triple (I have a history of fucking up combinations) that when we got through it well I totally just went blank for a second. Whoops. Sorry Henny.

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  5. Big High Five! To you and Henry. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and you faced it and conquered. Great job and love that horse to death. He is golden…

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  6. First of all, great job to you both! That was a long and technical course! However, I have to say, I will never quite understand the way you event riders think! All of the event riders I know are always nervous for stadium and EXCITED for cross country?!?!? What is this insanity?!? I do the medium JR/AO jumpers (1.30 meter), so I feel I am semi brave, but I would CRY if you asked me to jump around a training level CC course (pretty sure my horse would too)!

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  7. Go Henny go!!! And yeah “early adjustments” should probably be a tattoo because of how often my trainer tries to beat it into my skull. One day it’ll stick and I’ll actually remember to do that within 18 strides of landing. It’s hard, yo.

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  8. Wow what a technical course! I like the new way of doing the show recaps! Especially if it helps mentally sort things and focus more on the positives, I’m all for it. But I swear horses understand English. I’ve done that many times, where I’ve taken Amber’s face in my hands and looked at her and just told her I was a nervous wreck and I’d be my best for her but I’d need her help. I swear she understood, so I think Henny really did too ❀

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    1. I would have appreciated lines that weren’t set on weird striding lol. There’s no need to complicate my life.

      But yeah I swear sometimes Henry can totally understand what I need from him. Horses are so perceptive.

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  9. Nice job!!
    So, if I am going to watch stadium before my ride, I pick riders I want to watch. I don’t watch levels above me because the course changes and yeah, things look bigger and get more technical. So, I try to find a few riders I know will ride well, even if they are on a green horse, and I go watch how they handle the course. I don’t need to watch an ammy like myself struggle, I need to see how the really good riders that I respect handle it. It doesn’t always work out time wise, to watch these riders, but I’ve learned I gain nothing from watching riders I don’t know or don’t want to emulate. Just something to maybe help calm your nerves for next time? Cause I get it, SJ is nerve wracking!!!

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    1. I only had time to watch Intermediate before I had to go tack up (which was only a handful of riders, none of which were struggling amateurs LOL), and I really wanted to see how a couple of lines were riding, since they walked on a half stride.

      But I actually like watching a lot of rounds if I can, it lets me see how the course is riding and if any particular patterns are starting to stand out. It gives me something to focus on. I actually wish I had been able to sit there longer and watch more!

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  10. YAY! Such a fun post to read. I’ve been thinking a lot about that saying that overnight success doesn’t happen overnight, and I feel like you’re getting to live the most fun part of that – the success part when you get to look around and just kind of marvel at the stuff you are doing!

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  11. YAY!!! You have always been someone I look up to, and MAN what a ride (who cares about rails when survival is your goal haha)! You are amazing and so is Henry. Now that you have your first Prelim under your belt, the next one won’t seem as scary!! πŸ˜‰

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  12. Great job! One rough jump at a new level is nothing to shirk at! To be able to get around a Prelim course at a show (where NO ONE rides their best) is pretty dang impressive. It look really smooth and in control, with lots of great moments. Way to go!!!

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  13. I know you’re not out there to be a role model per se, but it’s been such a positive influence for Chloe to see you push yourself to be better, and how you are striving to handle the tough moments. Your honesty hits a chord with her and I love the impact it has. I appreciate you sharing your journey!

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  14. Yaaasssss! You two!!! Going out there and getting things done. So exciting to watch, I’m so glad you have video! And see? Henry can just push that rail out of the way when it gets a little tough. No biggie. Congratulations on a great stadium at PRELIM!

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  15. That was an awesome first trip at the level! ❀ Henry is such a nice jumper, and it's clear that he trusts you completely. πŸ™‚

    I suspect that Henry is liking the longer spot to the bigger oxers because he is a bit downhill, and that gives him more space to get his front end up. As the jumps go up even more, he may start telling you he needs that extra space in front of them to elevate over.

    Great communication between you – I would not have guessed that was a first-time trip. πŸ™‚

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