Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Schooling Show

It was a BEAUTIFUL day yesterday and I did not go out to the barn. Trying to bring two horses along at the same time means hauling twice (sometimes three times) a week and being out at the barn pretty much every day. On top of school, it's been getting to be a bit too much and I am feeling a little bit of burnout.

So, yesterday we agreed that the horses can live with an extra day off. They get turned out every day anyway, so it's not like they're stuck in stalls. I came home early, enjoyed the lovely weather, and got some extra homework done. I get an amazing mental lift when I get home at 3:30 instead of 8pm - it's just so different.

Luckily, the weather will be nice for the next several days, so I didn't waste a gorgeous warm day on staying home.

Our Pony Club hosted a benefit schooling H/J show this Sunday. I took Pandora to hop around a few courses, and she was awesome. Remember last year? This was the first 'real' show I ever took her to, and I wasn't expecting much. We jumped a couple 2'3 courses and I was super proud of her.

Well, this year I am happy to say we've shown some serious improvement. We began with a warmup 2'6 jumper class, where she was a bit rushy and unfocused. Never tries to stop at a jump, though - she was just nervous at being in the ring all by her lonesome in the show atmosphere. First show in quite awhile, you know. But she jumped everything just fine.

Next we bumped up a little to a 2'9 hunter class. It felt a little better, perhaps because of the smoother course pattern, but I also rode better and she was settling down already. I have to remember to ask her to soften, but keep the forward. Then a 2'9 jumper class, where I was going to call it good for the day. She did very well in that class. Everything felt smooth, and I remembered to keep the extra forward through most of the course. (Hey, old habits die hard.) Even the rollbacks, which were pretty tight, rode nicely.

She was so good that I pondered going into a 3' class....and decided oh, what the heck - it's a schooling show, isn't it? Let's do it!

Here is the video of our very first 3' course:

For contrast, if you'd like, the schooling show video from a year ago is in this post.

As you can see, it wasn't 100% smooth. The outside lines both rode a little oddly because we got in short and I had to push for the four. The good news is that she did all of it calmly and obediently! I also have a few things to work on, but for the most part I rode pretty well.

I was very, very pleased with her. When I pushed down the lines, she answered by going forward and she never got fussy or upset.She didn't even blink at the larger fences - I swear, the bigger they get, the better she jumps. Everything felt so smooth and effortless, even when we got a pretty long spot to that oxer on the far line. It all just felt very "together," I guess. Especially since we've really only been in full work for a month and a half.

(Also please notice our AWESOME bright red saddle pad. It was a Valentine's day show.)

I think she did an awesome job, and I am so happy that a 3' course feels just as easy as a 2'6 course on her. I think the fences could have been even 3'3 and she wouldn't have had a problem. We definitely have some practicing to do, but I'm very proud of Pandora and how far we've come.


RuckusButt said...


Val said...

She certainly is a "go get 'em" girl!

Albigears said...

So jealous that you've already gone to a schooling show! Looked like much fun.

Sydney said...

thats great! I wish there were shows around here right now.

SprinklerBandit said...

I haven't seen an actual jump cours ei nso long that I forgot what riding one looked like. ;-) Thanks for the reminder.

JeniQ said...

Very good! Love that her ears are up all around she really likes jumping!

mugwump said...

I should let you know I'm a stalker.....Pandora looks beautiful.

manymisadventures said...

Thanks guys! Yes, she is great fun on course - she has a good time and you'll notice there's rarely a tail-swish either, it's all quite relaxed. I think she's the most willing horse I've ever ridden.

Mugs, I'm flattered! Both that you think Pandora's beautiful and that you're my stalker ;)

tangerine said...

wow! that's some serious progress for only being back in work not that long. She looks like a natural jumper, good form and you're right about the long spots you got a few times, you kept it together! I agree that 3'3" would have been a piece of cake for her. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous! And love the red saddle pad!!

Karma Anais said...

Great video, very nice round. I am hoping to get my girl out to a few shows this year and hope to have as good of progress as you have had. It's great that you can get out to a schooling show- we're under snow and likely to be for awhile more.

Jill said...

i haven't been reading your blog for long, but seeing the two of you go round that course, there's no way i'd have ever judged it being the first 3' you've done together!

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