Hey guys! I have had a SHOCKER of a week. This is relevant, promise.
On Monday at the indoor poor Evie got bitten by a cat. Then Tuesday/Wednesday she had gastro, which she gave to me, so Thursday was out for me too. Friday we were still recovering and Saturday we all woke up with head colds. Easter Sunday I felt so dizzy from a lack of sleep all week (because Evie has no chill when she's sick) so I wasn't sure if I would be OK to ride on Easter Monday at Silver Hills.
Sunday night my daughter slept through for 8 hours for the very first time ever. Which meant that I did too!! It was an Easter miracle.
So of course off we went to the hunter trial!
I signed up to do intro level (80cm) and on the course walk that 20cm difference was clearly apparent. I was already vaguely nervous but I was so glad it was a hunter trial and not a comp because some of those jumps were worrisome.
Allie was very looky and spooky in the warm up. She spooked at a white flag and didn't want to jump even the tiny logs. I ended up getting a few nice jumps in over some bigger stuff (against my internal voice who was saying "what the hell do you think you're doing? Why are you even here? You can't do this!").
Out of the start box she was sooooo looky. Got over the welcome log but had a stop at the second jump which was a biggish spread, despite me giving plenty of leg and a couple of whacks with the crop.
|We did not jump this. :(|
Her head was not in the game and she just wasn't with me at all. I chickened out and just put her over the 60cm jump and headed into the woods. My internal voice wanted to just pull her up and get off and cry. "Who am I kidding? We can't do this. We have no business being here".
I don't know what made me put my leg on and get her over the next jump but I just did it and she jumped ok but was still off with the fairies. She even jumped a random tall weed on the way out of the woods to the water and a jump steward laughed his arse off at us. Don't blame him. I have no idea why she did that.
|Jump 3. It's bigger than it look, ok? :P|
She's never had an issue with water but she even stopped going into the water! Only for a quick peek at it then trotted straight through. But still.
|Into the water, ride around that jump, then out again behind it. I think Allie thought I was going to make her jump the jump and that's why she wavered and stopped.|
After the water were a few downhill jumps. Thank god they were smaller jumps because I really needed to get her rolling along. Jumping downhill is scary for me so I did a few 60cm jumps until we came uphill to an inviting intro jump. Leg forward and on, click click click and over she went.
|Actually the jump I was meant to do is the bigger one there. Oh well!|
|I'm getting a bit ahead of the game here.|
|The uphill intro jump|
|Looking a bit relieved that it went well.|
Back into the woods and I rode past Natalie (who took all these photos). I said to her "tell me we can do this" in a pathetic little voice. Coming up was a big wide jump and I was still trying to get Allie to concentrate even 6 jumps in. Natalie told me "she can jump this stuff easily! You've got this!". All of a sudden Allie switched from spook mode to to work mode. She was in front of my leg and solid in my hand. She locked onto the wide jump and over we went!
|Again, it's bigger than it looks.|
|The moment she finally realised she had a job to do.|
Curve to the right then approach the next fence on the left. My horse was back! "oh, finally decided to join me did you?".
|This log was huge. Like, wide huge.|
She cantered to each jump after this perfectly. She was super committed and felt like she had been doing it her whole life. Weaving in and out of the woods, over some pretty big (to me) jumps with super confidence.
|Poor excuse for a brush|
|This one has a short tricky approach and was atually quite wide with a drop on the other side. No problem for my supermare who finally had decided to turn up!|
|You can kinda see the drop here.|
|This was the option for the big ditch jump. We haven't done ditches yet and my delicate confidence couldn't handle it so we did the option!|
|I was having fun by the time we hit this jump. She didn;t worry about the width of it at all.|
|Quite tall and wide but we were xc machines by this point!|
|She had a bit of a look at this one about 4 strides out but comitted straight after that and jumped beautifully.|
|Easy log to finish off.|
I am so glad that I finsihed confidently on the xc. I had stressed about it so much mut steeled myself and got on with the job. I didn;t jump all the intro jumps but we got around. Take homes for schooling - bigger fences, water, downhill jumping. I was pretty happy with my riding - I felt quite safe and secure and didn;t feel like I got in her way at all. Just wish I had have been able to warm up more before heading out on course. I'll definetly be coming back to Silver Hills to school the scarier jumps.
I had a nice big break before showjumping so we lunched and chilled until it was time to walk the course. But - I went up to walk it and they already had riders going! I couldn;t believe it. At least I just had to watch a few go to try to figure out the course. There were some ridiculous lines tbh (watch especialls after the pink jump) but maybe that's just standard at intro level?
Ok so let's just talk about my complete lack of forward to the first jump. She was actually really forward and a bit heavy in my hands so I half halted too late and that's why she trotted. She was actually super keen to jump and was committed to everything with no issues with the exception of the pink jump, but she only needed a bit of leg and click and over she went (albeit a bit wonky). I got left behind once and then got lost and had a terrible approach to the next fence - You can see I was looking for my line and then I saw the fence right there so I was like "ok, one stride out, here it is, over you go" and she did, bless her. She took a long spot to the first jump of the combination but we got over the B part ok and then we were done. I think there were three jumps in a row that were actually well ridden and nice? Anyway.
She seems to be super comfortable at this height. 80cm still doesn't warrant much effort from her. lol. You can tell I wasn't nervous or worried at all and really I was looking forward to jumping a bigger course and having some fun. She also didn't have a rail down at all but she did knock a couple. Take home? Jump more the week before a show if you can. And get those elbows in and probably take the stirrps up a hole or two.
|Uh-oh. A long spot.|
|Sitting on her loins - that's what you're supposed to do, right?|
|At least I don't bop her in the mouth.|
|That's a little better.|
Anyway, it was a fun day and I jumped some bigger stuff and got some more confidence, even if I looked like an idiot doing it.