Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tackling Rebecca's Training Course

In the start box! Long legs McGee
It's been two weeks now since Bacon and I were out galloping in Montana's big skies, but I can still remember it quite clearly. Walking the course, I was actually a little dissapointed. I am guessing since the Young Riders Championships were there, that took most of the main focus. There were many jumps we shared with novice, which made the jump sizes vary greatly. We started with a weenie jump and then a cabin, then a nice sized table to a fair sized trakhener. It made it a little harder for the horses to read, as the jumps were constantly changing size. I was constantly throwing glances at the training 3-days' jumps, as they looked more appropriate and way more fun.
First jump!

I'm sorry for the tiny pictures, but it's all I have. 

The first element of the coffin.
No matter though, I was still happy to be able to go out there and tackle it. Just the atmosphere alone at Rebecca can throw some ponies through a loop. You are surrounded by that famous Montana sky, giant fields, many colorful themed jumps, loud speakers and lots of horses and people all around. I wasn't sure if that was going to affect Bacon or not, so that stayed on my mind. I didn't write the course off either, as the trakhener was very shaded and headed towards a bunch of bushes and brush jumps, and the line we chose was to ride between a tight hole in the brush. Originally, I was going to ride around the outside of all of it after the trakhener, but a trainer suggested that the "hole" made a better line for the brush combination jumps we had ahead. Having only walked that line once, I was super worried I was going to get lost back there and head towards the wrong thing. All I remembered was go right and find the hole. There was also a rolltop in the water, and Bacon had never jumped a water jump before. I didn't fear too much, but it was still important to keep that it mind. Also, there was a jump up a small incline between the trees, and a sharp right hand turn into another tree tunnel, with about three strides to the tightest and largest corner that we would ever jump. The element of surprise and the narrowness of the jump definitely had my heart racing.

Cabins are run.

And the water jump!
It was warm and windy, and my ride time was late in the afternoon. I had concerns about getting tired, dehydrated and breathing. Whenever it is windy, my asthma cranks up and I get a lot of cramping in my ribs as well. The cramping came out during warm up, but fortunately, Bacon was being wonderful. I hate that I have to use a bigger bit, but it means no longer yanking on her to get her attention (or not kill us) and she doesn't lean on me the whole time. It has been a win so far. I told E, who was helping me in warm up, that she was going to kill me if she kept having me jump and then it was my turn to head in. The announcer was laughing at my big smile, and Bacon waited patiently for the count down.
Going too fast. My new theme for the year.

Tiny table.
Out of the box we went! The first three jumps were nice and easy. Coming up to the trakhener, I made sure to ride her in a nice and steady canter, and she didn't even think about hesitating. Which is great, considering that jump took out more people than anything. Next I guided her right and was able to find the hole for our brush combo. I got her in a little ugly to the second part of that, but she gets us out of crappy situations quite well. I smiled and said "HI" to one of the photographers as we galloped by and headed towards a nice sized table. That jumped well, and off to the first water we went. We had a tiny speed bump of a log before entering, and a small hanging log out. Perfect. Off to the coffin we went, and Bacon jumped it three to two, which is exactly how I walked it. The last jump in the coffin was fairly skinny and on a bending two, but she hit it great. Weeee across the field to our steeplechase jump!
First angled cabin in the combo.

And over the last jump.
After flying over that, I let her keep cooking towards our next cabin and the water jump. The water jump walked as a two stride from the edge, and she hit that perfect as well. We started to haul ass towards the trickiest line on course, the corner combo, before I remembered that hauling ass was not the answer. The first jump rode well, and Bacon and I wiggled our way to the corner. It caught her by surprise a little, but with some encouragement, she jumped right over and off we went. Good horse! Next was our laughable tiny table, and then an angled cabin two stride combo. She had no problem with those either. We were getting close to home and I finally looked at my watch. Whoa! Too fast. I slowed her down towards the dog jump (Skully's favorite). We made our way to the last jump, a flower ramp, and I don't know what happened to my body over that, but it was awkward. Through the finish ribbons we went, coming in at 5:10, with OT being 5:30. Good enough for me!
An evil evil corner.
Skully and her fav jump. The barrels are full of real dog biscuits, free for the taking.
So many pats and praises were awarded to the best cross country mare that ever was. She was not even tired. A nice volunteer handed me some water and my friends came over to help me. I hopped off, lost my balance and had to hang onto the stirrup so I didn't fall on the ground. I was very tired. My awesome friends took over cooling off my girl while I tried to catch my breath and settle down the tremors. The cool down was rather quick and we headed back to the barn. Cookies were given and icing began, and we saw her right knee. :( It was the same knee that had issues back at the Spokane derby this spring. It was filled with fluid. We iced her, poulticed and wrapped her all up and weren't sure what to think of that. Home girl was mowing down her food and happily went for many walks as I looked for any hint of lameness. None was to be found, but how would she look and feel tomorrow? I began to worry.
The look of...flamingos. 


  1. Omg the look of flamingos. Dying. So fun to read about this! Wish I could have been there. But you know. Zoë.

    1. Well, it's not quite eagles. But I think a flamingo sums it up.

  2. omg that sounds so fun! and next time youll have to do the training 3 day :P :P :P

    bacon looked like she ate up that course, and that corner is really tiny! well done. can't wait to hear about the rest... you left it on quite the cliffhanger!

    1. I've thought about the training 3 day. It looks like fun, but I heard at least two people got lost on the roads and tracks, so I know I would be screwed.

  3. whoooooo congrats!! sounds like a cracking good time! also i didn't realize the 3-day course would be different from the HT course, is that normal? anyway, way to go Bacon!

    1. I believe, in general, the 3 day courses are more technical and are a step up in game. There were more jumps on their course as well. Rebecca is the only venue I have been to that has run a 3 day, so my knowledge is pretty limited on if that is the norm. But Spokane is going to start running 3 days as well, so yay!

  4. What a gorgeous venue and awesome looking jumps. That must have been so fun to do.

  5. What bit are you using? Sounds similar to what I need for my girl.

  6. So fun to read about Rebecca Farm! You guys are so incredible! I hope her knee isn't anything serious... please keep us posted:) Maybe a Training 3-day is in your future! I can definitely see you guys having a blast on steeplechase!