The short version is that I was a little rusty, but over all we both came to play and it paid off. Val has definitely redeemed himself after Labor Day’s weirdness. Continue reading
Saturday started great, and I’ll share as much as I remember.
A barn mate pulled a muscle in her thigh a few weeks ago and it was really bothering her Saturday, so she asked if I would ride her horse in his Modified trip which I was all over. Orsini is the complete opposite of Val in every possible way, but he’s a really good boy and I’d never ridden him so I was excited. Schooling was ok, though he was kind of dead to my leg sometimes. Our first 3 jumps were beautiful and amazing, but then he petered out, and my little legs were just not enough to keep him motoring so we added in the next three lines and missed a change. All things considered though, we got along well, and I’ve learned I need little baby spurs to give me a bit more oomph. The plan was to do the eq on him the next day since his mom was basically done for the weekend.
Val was pretty wild when I finally got him out to start warming up for our classes since for the second day in a row he didn’t get to play on the line. Our first trip was a little wild and woolly because he was fussy and I was having trouble getting out of his face. Our second trip was much better, but I think we still had a rail after I caught him in the air over a jump trying to turn, which gave us up 6th out of 14 or so in the Opens for Saturday.
Saturday is always Classic night at Summer Circuit, and this week it was the Peter Pan Memorial Jumper Classic, complete with neck ribbons and a victory gallop. The first year Val and I did it it was our first time over a full course of 3’3 jumps and we got 4th which I was incredibly proud of. Last year we were quarantined for VS. So this year, I was determined that it was going to be our year; I had even bought a cute new white shirt to wear that morning (Do you see where this is going yet?) that was super on sale.
I guess our first trip was really good because we made it to the jump off. I feel the need to preface this section by saying that Val is one of the most sure footed horses I’ve ridden on a course. He’s a klutz outside the ring, but in the ring he’s always super on point, and we lean really hard around our turns sometimes which is part of what makes him so handy. The jumpoff was designed fairly well with both tight turns, and a few spots where you could get a little bit of a gallop but had to be quick about getting your horse back so you didn’t jump flat. Based on the pictures, Val was jumping great, and we had finally found our rhythm. I had a plan that I was sticking to and we were winning the class according to spectators. Until we weren’t.
After the in-and-out (which we had jumped at least 3 times that day already) we turned to cut across the arena, and Val slipped. He fell flat on his left side almost instantly with no time to catch himself, and I rode him all the way to the ground, which resulted in my hitting my head pretty hard. I vaguely remember sitting up to catch my horse and then pausing because I knew I had hit my head pretty hard. I really don’t remember anything else after or even for a few hours before. Basically everything after Orsini is a blank, and I had help piecing Saturday together for this blog.
Good news is I felt mostly fine on Sunday and SO took me out to the show to give Val cookies and take pictures of barn friends. I got a mild concussion but my helmet did its job and Val is 100% fine. My first question was apparently “Can I get a re-ride?” and then I asked all night whether Val was ok and had gotten cookies (He did. Most of them from me.) and if I would be able to ride Sunday. So I obviously wasn’t too broken.
Lesson learned though: Always toss new stuff in the dirt before you show in it. Stupid shirt.
Well it was an interesting weekend to say the least.
Thursday a friend lunged Val at the show for me, and I raced out of work which got me to the Expo Center right around 6 to school. Val was a little silly, and we had some dolphin leaping and opinions but overall he was reasonable in our little warm up over each of the jumps set nice and small. After the other girl schooling with us finished, trainer put the jumps up and we did two roll backs (one to each outside rail) that were beautiful and relaxed so we called it quits because neither I nor Val are super fit. I didn’t end up leaving until almost 9 after I cleaned my horse and my tack but I finally got everything done.
Friday I had a full day of work, but took a short lunch so I could get to the show a little earlier. I showed up literally just in time to throw tack on my horse and jump on to warm up. I never got to walk or even look at the course. Since the ground was super hard Val had gone for a long walk but didn’t get to lunge so I gave him a longer warm up. We jumped a couple of fences, I watched the course twice to learn it, and in I went.
Turns out that’s not the best way to learn a course. After every. Single. Jump. I looked around lost until I found a number, which included cantering by number 3 and coming back to it. I finally had it figured out by jump 5, but at that point Val had had just about enough of the being lost nonsense and we had an unfortunate stop at a jump everyone had been having issues with. Good news is that that was our warm up trip just to get in the ring.
Next was our Open trip. Both trips were Power and Speed and this time we got through Power no problem. I knew the course, I gave a little cowboy kick to the scary jump, and even though everything had gone up he felt much more his normal self and I was giving him a little more help. In the speed phase we came around a blind turn to a vertical he wasn’t expecting and he temporarily forgot his job was to pick up his feet anyway. He got a quick pop with the crop to remind him, a pat to tell him he wasn’t the worst boy ever, and we finished up the course nicely.
That was the end of our day so he got cookies and a bath.