Stable View H.T. June 2017 – The Competition 

As the actual competition got underway for Stable View, I was faced with my worst nightmare: the rising humidity.

Dressage was okay. It was early enough in the morning that it hadn’t gotten too bad yet though it was already pretty hot. My trainer is a stickler for the coat too. Even on one days. Even in the heat.

But our test was simply the best we’ve ever ridden. The courts were on grass but Gus is pretty sure footed and didn’t have a step wrong.

He was consistent and connected through the whole test. And while maybe we weren’t as brilliant as some, we were steady.

 

We got our lowest score of 33.75. 

Then it was on to stadium where I was really starting to wilt under the heat. My trainer had to run from dressage warm-up to get to my stadium warm-up and usually I would have been hard at work getting prepared so that we could start jumping the minute she got there. But I felt like I was going to throw up so all I was doing was walking around the huge covered arena. Somehow, I got through warm-up and headed to the ring.

 

Gus put in another wonderful round for me.

 

These were probably some of the most brightly painted and decorated jumps that we had seen all summer and Gus was a little looky. But even when I got him to the jump with a bad temp or distance, he gamely popped over everything.

 

I think we had a rub on one fence but luckily everything stayed up.

And then, the minute I got out of the ring, I just about fell off my horse from heat exhaustion. LT grabbed Gus’ reins and dragged us back under the covered where I slid off and tore my helmet off. I wasn’t wearing a coat for stadium (since I had about 20 minutes to high tail it down to XC) but even still I was dying. Luckily I had LT, Eric, and my team mates mom helping me get my head back together, walk Gus, get my XC gear on, and get to the start box.

 

I didn’t even have a XC warm-up, just let Gus stick his head in the water bucket and found enough adrenaline to get through XC.

 

Once I was on course, I forgot about the heat and humidity. Stable View’s XC was big and fun.

 

The first half was open and gallopy, asking questions that related more to up and down terrain.

 

The water was no problem for Gus and I, though I saw a LOT of the juniors having issues at this.

 

We had some major fuck ups because I thought Gus was going to go and he really considered saying no.

 

Or because I just didn’t have enough leg towards the end. I was running out of steam and so was Gus.

 

When we came off course, I suddenly realized how hot and tired I was. If you watch the video all the way through you’d probably think I was dying. I promise I’m not that unfit, it was just beyond hot and humid. Gus and I headed to the nearest water tank. He got to drink, while I slid off him and unbuckled his girth.

 

And then, I had to dunk my head in too.

Stable View was such an amazing event. It is not for the raw beginners at a level but if you feel confirmed or you are testing to see if you are ready to move up, I think this is definitely a great spot. All the volunteers and staff were beyond helpful, the grounds were beautiful, and you can tell they really want their venue to be a premier eventing location.

 

Gus and I squeezed out a 6th place in our division and a Reserve High Point for BN OTTBs. I am hoping we will be going back in January where things won’t be nearly as hot!

Stable View June H.T. – The Orange Horse

So yeah… this recap is a bit late but this horse trial was too much fun to not share. Click HERE to remind yourself where we left off and let’s wrap this up!

Yup, that’s where we left off the night before Stable View. The ultimate of all #grayhorseproblems.

Thanks to my wonderful, amazing, not at all frustrating gray horse, I had to drag my trainer and team mate to Stable View by first light because this was not going to be a quick fix.

Until looking at these photos, I honestly had no idea I was wearing my “Dappled is the new black” shirt. Oh the irony.

I’m sure I was quite the sight, pulling up and unloading two orange horses. LT actually helped me get ready because there was just no way I was going to get him even semi gray again by myself. She even braided him for me, something I would never ask her to do in normal circumstances but was much appreciated. LT is amazing.

But you know… we got him mostly clean. Just that damn tail was left with a slight hint of orange. *sigh*

Can we just pretend it was done purposefully to match the rest of our colors?

 

Area III Champs at Chatt Hills – Stadium

Well, you already know how this one ends: no ribbons and a big pretty RF on my record. Falling in stadium was definitely a disappointing way to finish the weekend but it didn’t take away from all the fun (and it was an incredibly fun weekend).

Nor does it take away just how awesome Gus was jumping. By far and away, it was our best stadium round to date (minus the fall of course) and I really do think we’re ready to up the height and the technicality. Our pace stayed steady, Gus was taking me to the fences instead of always waiting for me to tell him to go, and we were both making decisions instead of hoping for the best. It’s just unfortunate that I had some bad luck.

So what happened is this: we came off a long sweeping corner to big vertical and I knew right away that we weren’t going to have a good distance. Maybe the right decision would have been to push more forward but I was worried about getting flat and bringing the rail down. Instead, I asked Gus to give me a long spot. And he did. Gus has never jumped like he did over that fence, cracking his back and sending me flying out of the saddle. I might have been able to hold on except Gus also twisted in mid air and there was no horse to come down on to. I slid right off his side like I was doing an emergency dismount. My feet landed then I fell backward onto my butt before I just flopped down in the sand.

It felt like forever that I lay on that ground but it wasn’t even a few seconds. I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t believe I had come off. But I jumped up and went to Gus, who was standing just a few feet away. This was not his fault, just bad luck.

But we both came out of it mostly unscathed. I did get a pretty nasty bruise on my leg, yanked my right shoulder muscles something awful, and probably had a minor concussion from something hitting me on the forehead (?!?) but nothing major. Gus didn’t even get a scratch. He got to enjoy a few well deserved days off while I downed Advil and tried to get through my work. I’ll trade with him any day!

 

Area III Champs at Chatt Hills – Dressage

I didn’t have high hopes for coming out of Area Champs with a ribbon. Not when there are 17 riders in your class and they’re all good. Not when you know dressage is a hit or miss. But I did kind of hope. Our ride at Stable View (which I will some day get around to recaping) had been absolutely beautiful. I knew that if we had another test like that, we had a chance.

But I also knew I was going to be battling the heat and humidity with a ride time of 3:22. Lovely.

Still, I was excited and I headed off to warm-up hopeful. And warm-up was perfect. Hot. Dusty. Blessedly short. But perfect. My hope started to rise. We could so do this.

Then we got into the arena and Gus fell apart including mini bucks as I asked him to enter the area where all the dressage tests were. I honestly don’t know what his deal is. He could care less about the horses in warm up. He could care less about the judge’s booth (he has never once even looked sideways at it) but we get in the dressage ring and suddenly he can’t bend right to save his life. Or move off my leg.

The three things I was happy with were: our right lead canter out of the diagonal which was ironically the only time he was willing to bend, the fact that he kept his head down in the free walk instead of giraffing, and our halt was as good as it has ever been. Otherwise, it was bad. Gus just could not even deal with dressage apparently.

I admit that it looks better than it felt as I received all 6’s and 7’s except for a 4.5 on the free walk/medium walk for jigging and a 5.5. on the medium walk prior to that for being behind the vertical.

Annoyingly enough, this only seems to happen at Chatt Hills. Not that we’ve had great luck elsewhere but the complete 180 is a Chatt thing. I am thinking about having my trainer take him to a schooling show here and just ride every test she can (and blow them if she has to). And then I’ll do the same.

Partly because I had to get ready for XC and partially because I really didn’t want to know… I wasn’t too concerned about checking scores. I knew that wasn’t good enough for a top 10 placing. Sure enough, it was a 39 and change. And we were sitting in 15th.

Area III Champs at Chatt Hills – 10 Things I Learned

10. Showing horses in the summer in Georgia is the definition of masochism.

9. I was a lot more disappointed to be out of the ribbons after dressage than I thought I would be.

8. Gus is actually kind of a XC machine these days.

7. The course, while not actually soft, made me longingly look at the novice fences. Might be time for a move up?

6. XC is the whole reason I do this.

5. The good thing about being out of the ribbons is that my trainer let me forgo the coat and the braids. Silver lining?

4. Sunglasses are a must for me when showing in this sun. During dressage warm up I could barely see where I was going I was squinting so hard.

3. Sunglasses are also a really good way to hide the tears when you come off in Stadium and have to walk out of the ring.

2. My husband is a saint.

1. Gus Gus is the best.