PH Spring USEA HT: dressage and stadium

Somehow the weather gods were with us at Pine Hill on Saturday, because we majorly dodged a bullet! While Austin was getting 3-4″ of torrential rain and flooding, we only got a couple of very brief storms. Aside from two lightning delays, it wasn’t enough to impact the show at all. And really, I think the little bit of rain made the footing perfect.

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Does he look kinda wild to you? Yeah well…

It was VERY humid though, which concerned me a little. It was warm enough to make the humidity a little miserable, especially in the morning before any kind of breeze picked up. Since my horse doesn’t handle humidity well, and we had a very long day ahead of us still, I opted to keep the dressage warmup a bit light. Ha.

Ha.

Ha.

The first half of the test was ok. A little tense, a little behind my leg, but not awful.

And then it started raining, which coincided with exactly when our canter work started. That was the excuse he’d be waiting for. So began the rodeo. He never actually bucked but his hind end bounced like a basketball through literally all of the canter work. If I put my leg on, it just bounced higher. The tail was spinning like a helicopter (I’m assuming for extra lift?) and I could practically hear Henry’s evil cackling.

can you feel the sass?

By the second canter loop I couldn’t help but start laughing. What else do you do? There was no salvaging that. He even spooked at A as we came up centerline at the end, like he’d never seen THAT before. Real nice. Much grace. So dressage. And that’s how we got our worst dressage score ever, with a 40. But hey, there are worse things than having a horse that feels a bit too full of himself to dressage. I just could not stop laughing at him the whole way back to the barn.

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Henry. 100% Henry.

Jokes on him, he has to go to a show this weekend and do ONLY dressage. HA.

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I only had an hour between dressage and stadium, so I pulled his tack off, stuck him in his stall to pee (and he peed A LOT, which made me wonder if that contributed to all the bouncing…) and drink some water, then ran down to stadium to look at the course one more time. This was our first time having both a triple and a double combination in stadium, but the only jump I was really worried about was the big square oxer at 6. It came off of kind of a weird turn and looked a little big, and have I mentioned I hate square oxers? Surely you can see where this is going.

I should also say that the ground at home had been so hard for the past couple weeks leading up to this show that I wasn’t able to jump much. Henry has literally been living in Magic Cushion, and I jumped maybe two fences that were of height and maybe 10 total. We haven’t had a stadium lesson since before the last show, in February. We were definitely rusty, and rusty isn’t great for either of us when it comes to stadium.

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The rain stopped by the time I got back on, and Henry warmed up great. The issues we had in stadium warmup last year seem to be resolved (knocking on wood) thank goodness. I went in the ring focused on getting the job done, and not feeling too terribly nervous. We had a rail at 2, a big vertical, where I think I just didn’t keep his balance rocked back quite enough. It doesn’t take much for him to pull a rail at Prelim, so millimeters matter. The turn back to 3 was fine, and I was actually really happy with how 4 and 5a/b rode. 4 was another tall vertical off of a tight rollback turn, so lots of potential to mess that one up, but we didn’t. Then it was around to 6, the big square oxer. In all of my carefulness to make a good turn, I really ended up hanging out a bit too far, and then the distance was long. I had to ride up to it quite a bit, and while he cleared 6 with room to spare, we landed with WAAAAAAYYY too big of a canter and I didn’t react quick enough to put him back together in time to make the striding work. That resulted in a gross yucky half stride out, taking the rail of the vertical with us. 100% my fault. Not a good ride into that line at all. I overthought that fence, for sure. Lesson learned. Maybe.

The rest rode well, although he did tick the front rail of the oxer out of the triple. I was happy with how I rode that line, so oh well.

Aside from my mistake in the line from 6 to 7, I was happy with it. That was the only real oops. Mostly though, I was pleased that Henry felt so confident at everything. He was looking for the next fence and taking me there (albeit sometimes a little bit too enthusiastically). The size of the fences are much more comfortable for both of us now, and I’m glad that we could make a mistake and keep going like nothing happened. I’m getting a lot more confident too. And honestly… I was kinda just thrilled to have our first two recognized Prelim phases in the books. I just wanted to get it done without doing anything monumentally stupid.

After that, it was time for the good stuff! Cross country recap tomorrow…

9 thoughts on “PH Spring USEA HT: dressage and stadium

  1. I am just laughing because you can clearly tell he thought Dressage was DUMB, but SJ was AWESOME… Imagine the look on his face when he realizes that he doesn’t get to blow through Dressage and get to the fun stuff next weekend.

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  2. Uh…those fences look huge!!! Congrats for getting through spicy dressage and on to stadium without mentally being stuck on it. Not sure if you noticed, but your write up of this event is so positive focused even with your mentioned blips and sass.

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  3. tail sass for the win Henry. And Remus one time had to pee all day long at an event. And would NOT go in the stall I got him or anywhere till he got home that night> it was not our best event but he wasnt a bouncy house like Henry! Oh Henry. He is so cute thought with that tail….and spooking at A hilarious 🙂 never seen that before mom 🙂

    Glad stadium went as well as it did. I mean it would be pick up sticks with those jumps for most of us so way to go!!

    Can’t wait to read about CC!! 🙂 GO HENRY GO!

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  4. I knocked that oxer down. It was neither big, nor square by the time I got into the ring, but I managed to pull just enough in the air to leave one end of the front rail on top of the wall. I think my Moose might have chatted with Henry over drinks Friday night, because my first canter was a bit as you have described yours. And then a small child shamed me into buying a black bridle with a blingy browband…

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    1. You didn’t have to knock one down to make me feel better, ya know.

      The fact that you now own multiple pieces of black tack means you’re almost fully converted. The white breeches are the last piece.

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  5. Oh Henry… so much sass in the sandbox. Looking good over fences though! And I’m impressed that you rode up to that big square oxer instead of picking to it. Even if the rest of the line didn’t go as planned, it’s still a better mistake. Congrats on a great day! Can’t wait to read the rest.

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  6. Helicopter tail for lift…I have a permanent visual of him hovering above the ground, ass higher than head, tail a-blur while you cling to your new heli-pony.

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