Well, hot dang. I don’t know how it’s been two months since I’ve actively posted anything. Well, that’s not true, I know exactly how it’s been that long. Life, both with the horses and without, has been incredibly busy, and eventually something had to give. That something ended up being this blog. So, what to do now that I’m back? Update the header and jump right into new posts.
Here’s brief run-down of what has happened this spring.
Capital City Classic Horse Show
This show was just okay. It was our first time out for the year, and at a new venue. The show was mostly indoors, which was a little odd since the weather was uncommonly nice all weekend. Twinkle wasn’t overly fond of some of the aspects of the arena, but we pretty much made it around all our courses fairly well. Not stellar, not terrible. Overall we placed pretty low, not because she was doing badly, but more that the competition was tough and the judge seemed to prefer a different type of horse. No biggie.
Unfortunately the show ended on a low note (both literally and figuratively), as Twinkle refused the last jump of our second classic round. It was literally the last jump of the weekend. I came off and hit the jump with my lower leg pretty hard. I had quite a bruise for awhile there, and it’s still a little sensitive even a month later. Twinkle has been known to refuse jumps before and usually there’s a lot of early warning; this time, I was totally unprepared, since she took the line forward and with proper striding…then, at the moment she was supposed to take off, she just stopped (and I didn’t). Horses, am I right? So frustrating sometimes. The nice thing was that the show management let us go back in and jump the line again so that we wouldn’t have to end on that bad note, and Twinkle went right over it like it was no big deal.
Given the early start to show season, Drifter has been a lower priority than Twinkle this spring (sadly). However he has shedded out beautifully into quite a hunk, and I had a good lesson with him a couple of weeks ago. He is a beefy, tall boy, and he’s really starting to look fancy. We have a bit of a break between shows now, so I’m really looking forward to riding him more consistently during the early part of the summer.
Adjustability, or rate-ability, is the thing we all want in our horse. It’s something that we worked hard on with Twinkle after the Capital City Classic. We had two challenging rides that forced me to ride stronger and more forcefully than usual, making it clear to Twinkle that when I say “slow down” I mean it, and same for “lengthen,” or “speed up.” But it all clicked and came together just before our next show. It’s a really cool feeling when a horse is truly tuned into your aids and responds to the slightest shift in weight or squeeze from the leg. It really helped Twinkle jump more confidently without refusing or charging the jumps to clear them from sheer speed. I felt very confident going into our next show with our partnership fine-tuned after our mishap at the previous show.
Run of the Mill Horse Show
This was the show where Husky dumped me last year. So, obviously, I was coming back with a ton of determination to make it a more successful show. Twinkle and I had moved up a division to the Pre-Green Hunters and Child/Adult divisions, which are 2’6″-2’9″. We’d been jumping so confidently back home, up to 3′, so I was really excited to show at this level. The jumps were beautiful but solid-looking, and unfortunately we only got to school in one of the two rings they were running prior to the show starting.
In our warm-up, Twinkle refused the first fence once, then went over it. She refused the second fence twice. We were excused. I was upset and disappointed and frustrated. It’s really hard to have a horse that can go from confident and relaxed one moment, to completely shut down and refusing to work the next. But such is life with horses. Trainer Leanne and I discussed it and decided to drop down a division to the Limit classes at 2’3″.
She refused a jump in our first class. I have found that Twinkle sometimes needs a sharp reprimand, followed by a pat on the neck, and then a strong cue to go forward over the jump that she refused. Sometimes strong leg is enough, but this time she got a rap on the but with the crop, which we later dubbed the “Lecture Stick.” Over we went and finished the course with just one more tap from the crop (but no more refusals). The rest of the show went great. We placed pretty low the first day, but the second day we were toward the top of the ribbons in every class! Out of 11, we ended up with 2 thirds, 2 fourths and a fifth on that second day (and zero refusals!). I was really happy with that!
My parents were in town for both days of the show, and it was so great having
personal photographers them there. My sister, brother-in-law and nephew came out for the first day, which was really fun! It was my nephew’s first time ever seeing a horse, and my brother-in-law’s first horse show. It was really fun having a big group there to cheer us on!
So, now we know that Twinkle is the most confident showing at 2’3″ right now, even if we jump up to 3′ at home. We painted a bunch of new jumps over the weekend, so I’m looking forward to practicing over new, more solid-looking fillers and getting out into the new hunt field that will be built in a few weeks. I’m also really excited to turn my attention to Drifter for awhile! He is really growing up to be a fancy-looking guy and I think he has a lot of talent. I should also note that my awesome boyfriend came out to both shows so far this year. He is a trooper, and it’s been really fun having him around to help carry/clean/cheer. He’s pretty much the best.
It should be a fun summer! I’m happy to be back in the blogosphere, too. And now that it’s June, maybe the weather will finally stay warm…today it’s in the 50s. (Brrr and grrrr.)