Monday, September 18, 2017
If you think I was ulcering up for xc, you would be surprised to find that my stomach had turned into just a ball of acid by the time show jumping had rolled around. Saturday night, after returning late from the show party, we saw that the course was set up and proceeded to walk it in the dark. I probably should have just waited to walk it until the morning because I just laid awake thinking about the course all night long. This bending line to that bending line. Would she lock onto one of the other jumps while going through the bending lines? Could I get her to the base of the triple bar? Could I get her to ride that first line in six? What about that vertical to oxer in the last combo?
It was taxing. My friends' say I am a lot like Bacon and sometimes I don't see it. But thinking about that, and seeing how I worry about any and everything like a certain bay mare, I can see where they get that idea from. We walked it again in daylight, this time with E's trainer, and I tried to keep up and listen for the pieces that would fit Bacon and I's ride. We watched the advanced riders go, who all made the course look easy, but almost all took the same vertical down, and I went off to braid my horse. E got to watch a couple of the prelim riders go and stated that a certain oxer was also getting a lot of horses because they weren't being ridden forward to it, so I put that in my memory bank as well. Soon it was time to tack up and head over.
Bacon warmed up like a dragon in heat. I figured she would be a tad tired by now, but I guess not. She was jumping fairly well, but was strong and her haunches were doing a special dance going all directions. I was struggling, as my body began to radiate pain weirdly throughout. Not just my normal joint or muscle pain. I don't even know how to describe it. I just knew it wasn't happy. But it was time for us to go in. I did not ride to the first jump totally forward, which screwed up our distance to the second jump. I buried her at the second fence, causing a rail. That flustered me for a second, body getting heavier and more painful with each stride as I shook it off and tried to get us in balance for the triple bar.
As we went around the course, I could tell things were getting worse. I remembered to ride forward to the oxer at four and Bacon jumped it well. She jumped cleanly over the vertical that everyone was taking down, which took me by surprise and then caused me to pick a poor line to our first combo and she jumped it awkwardly, but clean. Right at jump seven, my chest squeezed tight, I gasped and my body stung. Bacon hit the rail hard, but it stayed. I don't remember much of the course from here. I just basically steered her towards the rest of the jumps and she did what she was supposed to do. She finished the course off nicely, and we ended with our four jump faults. She calmly walked out of the ring, a totally different horse from warm up as I looked around for help.
E asked how the course rode as we walked by and I couldn't answer. I was still fighting to catch a real breathe. The lady handing out plaques noticed me struggling. I told her I needed my inhaler. Blake had it, but he was videoing E's round, who was a ride or two after me, and to not disturb him until he was finished. My body tremors started to kick in and apparently that scared her because she ran off to grab the EMTs and I heard them announce for them on the loud speaker. I was horrified. I did not need EMTs. I just needed to rest, catch my breath and my inhaler. But tremors, they don't look friendly, and people don't believe you when you tell them they are normal. They arrived and gathered around me, all the while Bacon is holding completely still, and wanted me to get down. I told them I would like to stay on please, it is worse for me to get down. My body just kind of turns into putty, so, I am more comfortable sitting on my horse. She wasn't going anywhere, she knows the drill. Blake arrived with my inhaler. I drank some water. Everything started to calm down.
I was pleased to find out that Bacon and I had made it into the ribbons. We were called into the arena with everyone, and I laughed when I found out we were ninth place. Another grey ribbon to add to our collection. Our fifth one (three ninths, two fourths). I was just tickled to have gotten some satin. Bacon was a good sport about not being able to see out of her left eye for her victory gallop too, due to her ribbon. She seemed like an old pro for her victory gallop, which cracks me up.
Overall, I really loved Aspen. We got lucky with the weather, it only sprinkled a little bit one night. But it is an excellent facility and the vibe was just great. I hope to be back there next year. But this means our season has come to a close. I am very grateful that I was able to go to as many shows as we did. We saw a lot of new places, went to new states and moved up a level. My horse carried me over jumps I never thought I would do in a million years. Challenged me in new ways, both as a rider and in my general horsemanship, and she took care of me more times than I can count. It was a great year with my best girl!
Friday, September 15, 2017
|Always and forever hanging on.|
Your first view from the start box is just this sea of jumps. Beautiful, creative, jumps. Everywhere. But your ass better be paying attention, because you have ONE jump, and it's coming up fairly quickly because being in the champ division, you have a shorter optimum time than the regular division by almost 20 seconds, plus more jump combos and a slightly more difficult course. I was unphased by this hanging log thing. Next was a table, whatevs. I was more distracted by the giant toads in the muddy creek bed that we gallop past on the way there. Three is this giant saw, which friend E says, always rides awkwardly (she was right) to a sharp right hand turn to a giant open-y table to a tree tunnel. Alrighty then.
|You put your right hand in and wiggle it all about.|
Then it was slightly up a hill to jump a roll top down a steep hill and and right turn to jump down this GIANT DROP OF DOOM. This is where I threw a little bit of a fit. The only other show I have down that had a down drop was Camelot and that looked like a baby drop compared to this thing. My friend reminded me of the prelim one I had schooled there, but I still pouted as we moved on. There was a maxed out steeplechase, a nice easy roll top before jumping into the back water with another jump out. A mad dash until you came to another downhill jump, and then a very vertical tall brush jump with a few different line choices to a corner. I chose to go straight, which meant I trust Bacon to not just run out to the right, and Bacon would have to really jump the corner at an angle. Up the hill the pick which side of the "whale tale" you wanted to jump leading you to the epic ship. Which had another damn drop on the back. And lastly, a maxed out table with brush on the back, to make sure you never quit riding.
|This makes it looks so small. Lame.|
I walked the course twice, and should have walked it once more. Bacon was dead quiet while I tacked her up, but the second I got on, she knew what was up. Warm up was insane, and we just did our best to keep away from collisions. Unfortunately, there was some miscommunication between the start box crew and the warm up gate and while I was originally told I had two minutes until I had to head over, the lady quickly changed her tune and said "HEAD OVER NOW. PLEASE TROT." So I did, while trying not to run over oblivious children in my way as she screamed at them to move. When I got over to the start box, they were already counting me down from the 30 second mark, so I slapped on the helmet cam and watch and headed on out.
Everything was going well. Bacon was a little strong and leaving long (her favorite) but feeling happy out there. As usual. We came to the water drop and she took a tiny peek but lept off nicely. I got so excited about that, that I took a sharp left hand turn out of the water instead of guiding her to the right of the pedestrian tape. Of course, I didn't know this until I was facing the intermediate drop combination. "Where the hell is it?" I got a little flustered, then noticed the Kerrits sign plastered on my rolltop jump and drunkenly made my way to the correct spot. I had learned that this combination caused a lot of issues in the spring because people rode it too fast, so I slowed our tempo and guided us to the doom. Guess what. It rode like cake. I like out a WOO! and told Bacon to GO! for our gallop stretch because I knew I had caused us some time up there.
She gleefully took that challenge. And almost hit a tree while I re-grabbed my rein. I'm glad homegirl trusts me enough but I wish there was enough common sense to not run into trees. We soared over the steeplechase. Easy peazy over the roll top. She was totally game towards the water, then took a hard gawk at it last second and went right in. I got her in super deep to the vertical brush, but she saved us over that and went straight to the corner, never even thinking there was an option to run out. Good mare. Again, I got her in deep to the whale tail, but she sailed over the ship and took a long ass spot to the giant table, kicking her hind legs out to not touch the brush on the way out.
|Don't touch it!|
|A better look at this dumb bank.|
Thursday, September 14, 2017
|I love her in this picture.|
|"Please save me"|
|Made it down centerline. That's good.|
|Still downhill because butt still recovering.|
|Free walk ears.|
|Apparently this free walk deserved a 6. Friend's horse had no stretch and less overstep, it received a 7. I know it's not perfect, but how about a 6.5.|
|Nope. Not done yet. Sorry.|
|Our 5.5 lengthening :( Yes. I will pout.|
|We did it!|
|Feeling better about it all.|
|Let's get out of here, girl.|
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
|Jump number 1!|
|We usually like up banks|
The rest of the course was smooth sailing. Thank god. I think I ended up with some time maybe. I do not remember. I would not have wanted to push her any faster than we went because of how slippery it was without studs, so I am perfectly ok with that. But normally I come off of xc feeling great, and that one had me feeling funky. But I was not the only one. The water proved to be exceptionally tough for almost every horse out there, and there were a great number of stops, even for horses who have never had a stop. So that made me feel a little better.
|Oh look, a normal jump|
|She just has fun.|