Sporting Days HT April 2017 Dressage

I thought we’d start this recap off with ALL THE DRAMA (TM) or better known as “How I almost got disqualified at my very first event.” To do so, however, I need to back up and tell you what happened on my lesson the Wednesday before. *cue flashback music and fade out*

LT had us working on our dressage, naturally, and Gus was really not feeling it. He’s always been a little bit bridle sour when he’s annoyed but this was beyond that. Gus would not stop shaking his head and giraffing as we worked through our test. LT was standing at C like a judge and as we came by her and transitioned to a walk she cried “stop! He’s bleeding!” WHUT? Sure enough, the bridle had pinched him and he was bleeding from a little rub. Poor guy! No wonder he wasn’t happy. We figured it was a combination of me clipping him earlier in the week and the hardware from the crank so we moved the crank further up on his face and doctored up the cut. Thankfully, that seemed to do the trick and we had no more bleeding and Gus was happy to get back to work with only normal green horse connection issues. Crisis adverted.

So now fast forward to Friday at Sporting Days where we are using the arena for one quick dressage lesson. The rub is heeling up nicely and we are doing great work. Eric, aka Mr. Wonderful, brings me a bottle of Gatorade to chug as we take a quick break and says, “he’s bleeding again.” MOTHER !#$%&*. This time super trainer thinks that the bit is now rubbing where the scab was. We end warm up and decide to be very careful during our official warm-up the next day since Gus is clearly not in pain and is willing to work.

And I promise, it was not gushing or even dripping blood. Super trainer and I never would have pushed forward if we thought we were doing permanent injury or that Gus was in pain. This was a very minor rub that hit us at just the wrong week.

Will it shock you to hear that after just five minutes in warm-up the rub was bleeding again? No? Well, it was. So now we had a quick tack change to a bit that would not pinch or hit the rub and hope for the best. We also shortened what had been planned (and needed) 45 minute warm up to a handful of 20 meter circles and a canter transition in each direction. Thankfully Gus was on his A game for warm-up. It would have been helpful to get the right amount but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

Finally, after all that drama, I was able to enter the ring and trot down centerline. We rode a decent but a no-sparkle dressage test and our results showed it. I thought the judge was very fair though one of few words (seriously, one word comments on my test and almost nothing at the bottom…). We got mostly 6’s and 7’s which I think was very fair. We unfortunately got a 5 on our free walk, a double coefficient (ouch!), which kept the score from being better but did get a 7.5 for his gaits.

Gus’ greenness really showed in this test as he did still want to check out everything going on in the ring and I had to be a little tough in portions of the test. Still, that will come with more time and more chances in the ring. Overall, he was wonderful and that was the most steady test we’ve ridden yet. In the end the judge said we had “many lovely moments” and gave us a 34.30. A very decent score but one that sadly had us in 6th out of 7th. Oh well, what can you do? At least we were able to ride the test.

After all of that though, I was very happy to be through dressage. We looked good. We put in a solid test. Now it was time for the jumping.

Sporting Days HT April 2017

If you follow me on Instagram of Facebook you will have already seen this photo but bam! We did it.

I had so much fun this weekend and can’t wait to share it all with you. The drama. The tears. The successes. It was definitely a bit crazy for my first recognized but now I’m hooked to do it again.


And We’re Off

We are on the road to Sporting Days for our first recognized! One very put upon husband, two rambunctious dogs, one OTTB who thinks he hasn’t had breakfast yet, and me… the only one who is excited.

Make sure you follow me on Instagram at @grayhorseproblemsblog or Facebook to follow along this weekend. I will be updating and posting plenty of pictures (pending Wi-Fi of course).

Wish us luck!

Stupid Boots

This is one of my favorite parts about getting ready for a show: pulling out all the pretties!

Call me crazy, and I know a lot of you will, but I LOVE putting on the jacket and the stock tie and the white breeches. LOVE. IT. Even though Sporting Days is a one day, you better believe I am pulling out all the stops (plus, Super Trainer says I have to). I don’t know where I get it, maybe it comes from my dance back ground, but I have always loved dressing up and horse shows are the perfect time for me to do it as an adult!

Not to mention that you get super pretty pictures. You all know how I feel about my pictures!

So I was feeling pretty good about Sporting Days. Laundry was getting done at a reasonable rate. Camping gear is sitting in a pile to be put into the truck the night before. I was feeling prepared. And then this happened while riding Gus the other night:

You have got to be kidding me.

So I rushed home and got on all the sites to try to find a pair of tall boots. I have very short legs (15.25 inches from floor to back of my knee) and super wide calves (15 inches) so this is not an easy task. Sure enough, basically everything that I was interested in was out of stock or would be available in 10 days. I don’t have 10 days! Why do you hate me eventing gods?!

I did find a few pairs that might work. They should be here on Thursday so cross your fingers for me!

Ashland XC Schooling 4.15.17

Oh man, this was not the XC schooling I had imagined. Especially not the weekend before our first recognized outing. But, ironically enough, it was the XC school I needed.

Because here’s the thing: not a single jump or line or question that LT put us over scared me. There were even higher options that LT gave us and, while I didn’t chose to do them for other reasons, I wasn’t nervous that we couldn’t get over it. I knew we could. Gus can jump any dang fence out there. But, even with knowing that and feeling confident about the fences, I became so frustrated that I couldn’t do anything but cry when things started feeling crapy.

I have been doing a lot of crying lately. That needs to stop.

Truthfully, there’s a reason behind all the crying. Life has been hard lately. Mostly due to work, I haven’t been sleeping well or a lot, I’ve been stressed, and I’m having a hard time caring about anything else. So really it wasn’t a surprise that my frustration cup hath runneth over.

The whole point of this XC lesson was to work on pace and rhythm to the fence. If you ride the pace, you’re going to have a nice jump, right? Maybe, I don’t know because I couldn’t seem to get it. No matter what I did it seemed to be a coin flip on whether or not we’d chip in or jump out of stride. All I wanted from Gus was a little help. For him to be the confident one and take me to the fence.

It didn’t happen. Not once.

Cue melt down.

That’s when LT stepped in and gave me a little bit of tough love: Gus is not that horse. He will most likely never be that horse. Like Lainey said, he’s careful and he has a sense of self preservation that you need in an event horse. But, and this is important, he is so so willing. If I put the leg on and say yes Gus goes every time.

I’ve got to learn to ride the horse I have. It means that I have to be the leader. In the long run it will make me a better rider but in the short run, things may be hard. If I want this, I have to work for it.

I won’t bore you with a breakdown of every exercise we did. LT ran us through our paces and left us on a super positive end note where we did jump out of stride and over a skinny. Skinnies are one thing that Gus does fantastically. Lots of horses at his level don’t. As brave as Dandy was, getting him to a skinny was a fight with the devil.

Sporting Days will be a real test for us but one that I think we are ready for. This kick in the pants was hard to hear but exactly what I needed. And even if I am crying in almost every single photo, I learned what I needed. Ride forward. Lead.