Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chimi completes the Mini Practice Event at Long Shadows

This past weekend was a great start to the #yearofdoing! Not only did we finish a Beginner Novice "mini" event but we had an amazing dressage score and stadium round. Cross Country is still our weakest link but with more chances to go XC schooling I know Chimi will pick it up and it'll get easier and easier for him.

Chimi's ready

First up Saturday- We had a pony club mounted meeting with Jamey Price at Brights Creek. We worked on show jumping and it was a perfect way to prep before Sunday's mini event. I need to remember to stay in 3 point so I'm not constantly driving him to the jumps but if he starts to get squirrelly and backs off I can quickly drop down into the saddle and use my seat to keep him moving forward to the jump. We worked on trotting into a grid at the beginning and by the end of the lesson he was actually trotting the first jump! This was a major breakthrough because he is Mr. I MUST Canter!!! Even with trot poles he attempts to canter but I think he finally started to figure it out on Saturday.

Feeling a bit more prepared for our first outing at Beginner Novice, Sunday morning Becks and I drove over to Long Shadows for the practice event. We were both going BN and neither one of us had practiced our Dressage test before the show. But not to worry, BN test B is fairly straight forward and I wasn't to concerned. Plus this being a practice event I wasn't even sure if there were going to be ribbons and placings. Was more worried about making it through than about our final placing if there was one. (Ended up no final scores/placings but you could figure your own score)

Long Shadows Farm Mini Practice Event
Sunday February 8, 2015

Organizers:  Amy Barrington and Beth Perkins
Divisions:  Starter, Beginner Novice, Novice and Training 
Judges:  Dressage - Stephanie Gibson
               Stadium - Amy Barrington
               Cross Country - Beth Perkins

All participants will do a dressage test once, receive helpful advice about how to better your score, leave the ring and when ready perform the test a second time. Only the second test will be scored. At assigned times, riders will move on to the cross country phase with a course of no more than 10 jumps and be given the opportunity to do a do over, if they wish. The same format will be used for the show jumping phase. This event is intended to be educational but scores will be given as in any event and only the best scores will count. No phase will be timed.
Starter:  USEA 2014 Beginner Novice Test A
Jumps will be no higher than 2 ft.
Beginner Novice:  USEA 2014  Beginner Novice Test B
Jumps no higher than 2' 6"
Novice: USEA 2014 Test A
Jumps no higher than 2' 9"
Training:  USEA 2014 Test A
Jumps no higher than 3' 3"
Test of choice may be performed.

The Dressage Test:

While waiting for our turn in the Dressage ring I did a very basic warmup with Chimi. Walk, trot, canter both directions, and ran through the canter parts of my test and final halt. He was wanting to run through me in the halt so we worked on that for a few minutes and then waited for our turn.

I've been trying to rotate this picture but for some reason it won't rotate on here- it's cropped and edited in iPhoto just not here!!! Annoying computer crap.... First Test Scores

 For the most part he was nice and soft and responsive even though I could feel him tense up a little at the size of the arena. We don't have a dressage ring at home, heck we don't have a ring period, and the smallest arena we ride in is a little bit bigger than a large dressage- maybe 25x80ish meters? It feels a little bit bigger than a large dressage arena... Anyways there was a little claustrophobic feelings in the small arena for Chimi but he kept his cool and as the test went on he started to relax more. Our free walk was awful, and we had a bobble in our right lead canter, but the rest of the test felt pretty solid. After halting at X the judge got out of her truck and came over to talk to us about the test. She was really pleased with it over all and said we needed to work on our free walk. He wasn't tracking up behind and the judges are really going to look for the hind end over stepping the front end. After we talked with the judge for a few minutes she asked if we were ready to ride it again- sure!

Second Test Scores
Second test was much improved and at a show I need to try and make the 2nd test our first test since we only get once chance in normal circumstances!!! If I did my math correctly we got a 29.75 on our first test and a friction 24.5 on our 2nd!!!!!!! They only had collective marks for the second test so I used the same marks for both tests to get my final score. 

The Stadium Course:

After a quick tack change we headed to the stadium warmup. After finishing up with Beck's 2nd course Amy came over and helped us in warmup. Chimi was being super strong so we worked on him staying balanced in the turns and me just sitting calmly in the saddle. When he finally stopped leaving strides out and over jumping all the warmup fences and became more manageable we headed over to the course. I don't know if it was all the filler bits in the course but Chimi was frickin PERFECT. He was responsive, didn't over jump anything, and stayed mostly rhythmical the entire course! He was so good that Amy and I decided he didn't need to do it again because there was nothing he needed to do over! 

Cross Country

This was by far our weakest link. But to give Chimi some credit this was our 4th time attempting any sort of cross country schooling/showing. Plus the last time we had been cross country was at the WindRidge HT in May 2014 where we went Starter. So this was Chimi's first time in 9 months seeing a cross country jump. 

The Cross Country Map

After discussing my plan with Beth, I popped Chimi over a simple log and then headed to the start. I was planning on trotting the first fence unless he started cantering and then I would let him canter the last couple of strides before the first jump. Well this was a great plan but I didn't do a very good job of executing it. Chimi trotted out of the start box and then immediately started cantering. He had been so good in stadium and over the log that I figured he was listening and would just jump over the first jump- whoops- not so much! I think Chimi was so excited to be out in a gigantic field that his cantering was just him wanting to run around like a crazy pony. As we approached the first jump it totally took him by surprise and he stopped. I tapped him on the shoulder (he HATES it behind my leg and I wanted to stay on) and circled back. Forcing him to trot and not drag me around he figured out what he was suppose to do and popped awkwardly over the first jump and continued to the 2nd. I brought him back to a trot for the 2nd fence because he had been so wobbly on the first and he gave me another awkward jump over a very scary black pipe jump. Then something seemed to click in his brain and it was like the light bulb finally went off in his head that we were JUMPING. He settled into a really nice canter and started taking the jumps in stride. I made him trot the 5th jump which was a very solid looking brick wall (painted that way) box jump that I thought he might need to look at more carefully. He didn't care and continued over it like it was nothing. He was looking for the next jump and started to really feel like a cross country horse by the time we got to the end of the course. I made him walk through the water because he's not 100% sure about water yet but other than that he never slowed down after the 5th jump. 

I went back to talk with Beth about the course and how it rode and she agreed that it got better as it went on. So on that note we decided to do the whole thing again. I made sure he trotted to the first jump but I probably could of let him canter because his "light bulb" had already gone off and he was feeling great. He jumped up the up bank, trotted though the water, didn't blink an eye, basically he did everything he was suppose to!!! Lots of pats and cookies for Chimi!!!

As soon as we got back to the trailer Chimi fell asleep. He was tired from a very busy weekend but I couldn't of been happier with him! Even with the stop on course I feel much better tackling a real event this spring. FENCE HT are in April so with a couple of cross country schooling opportunities and a couple of dressage schooling shows, I think we have half a chance of completing. You never know until the show is over how you did but if you go into it as prepared as possible there is a chance for success!!!! Here's to the continuation of THE YEAR OF DOING!!!!


  1. wow this sounds like a really awesome event - and you guys look great on stadium!! glad it was such a positive outing :) i'll be doing a similar type of dressage show (complete with do-over test) this weekend and am super excited lol