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Show Recap: February 3rd IHSA Show

Show Recap: February 3rd IHSA Show

Another year, another collegiate show! IHSA shows are unique in that all of the riders draw horses at the beginning of the day and then compete with different mounts throughout the show. They don’t get any time to practice beforehand, but they do get to watch the horses warm up and ask questions about them before they go into the arena. As coach of the University of Washington’s western equestrian team, TrainerA always brings a few horsesβ€”and a handful of students to warm up her ponies!

Speaking of ponies… look, it’s Belle, the best pony around!

Last year I jumped my first 2’3″ oxer with Belle during the warm up. This year I was just excited to get to jump at all! I haven’t really jumped for a good six months+ (tiny things with Rags don’t count LOL), so when TrainerA invited me up to Lynden to warm Belle up over fences I was super pumped.

Lynden is about an hour and a half north of me, so I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to make it in time for the first warm up session of the day. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Belle had ended up in the intermediate division this year, which meant that she needed to be warmed up over a 2’6″ course! 😬

I’m smiling, but on the inside I was terrified, OBVIOUSLY.

I took Belle into the 2’3″ warmup in hopes of settling my nerves. We hopped a couple of easy single fences and then I turned her towards a three jump combination set on a bending line. Belle cruised through that and I came out of the arena feeling pretty good. We waited for them to raise the jumps up a few inches, then went back in again. IHSA warmup standards requires each horse to jump every fence included in the course for their divisionβ€”so I only had to survive eight fences, right?

We jumped over the one tiny fence in the arena, then came around and tackled my very first 2’6″ jump! I’m going to be real, three inches makes a big difference when you’re riding up to a fence. But, lucky for me, I was on the best wonder pony ever, which meant I could just jam my heels down in the irons and cling to her while she launched herself over the jump like a good girl. After that my confidence skyrocketed!

I lost an iron going into the three jump combo the first time, but made the decision to tell Belle to go anyways. I got knocked off balance after the second jump, but I managed to recover and make it all the way through without the iron, which I call a huge success.

We only jumped a little bitβ€”I wanted to keep a lot of gas in the pony’s tank for her riders. The IHSA judge ended up being an hour an a half late (don’t get me started on the sleep I could have saved if I’d known she was going to be super tardy), but once things kicked back into gear the pony went out and was a superstar for all of her ridersβ€”all they had to do was just keep kicking and she did the rest LOL.

She’s 13.3 hands of pony perfection, look at those KNEES 😍

Once Belle was done I was about to head into the bleachers to watch the flat classes when an IHSA volunteer stopped me and asked who was tacking up Calvin, TrainerA’s giant breeding stock APHA gelding. Immediate panic ensued when everyone realized that we’d only expected Calvin to be used for western day, so he had no English tack! We ended up throwing Belle’s saddle and Boston’s bridle on him, and off I went to warm up another pony!

I’ve ridden Calvin once, back when I took my very first lesson with Ready to Ride! Obviously a lot has changed since then, so it was exciting to get the chance to get on the gentle giant (he’s probably 16.2hh or so, and he feels wider than Raglan). Calvin doesn’t get used for lessons very often since he has a full time leaser (CalvinL, who was set to come warm him up on Sunday for the western competition!), but he’s a very talented horse. He’s actually one of TrainerA’s old show geldings!

Calvin’s an older gentleman, though, and he’s accustomed to a certain level of consistency in his riders. I took him into the warm up and between my short stubby legs, my inability to remember to keep my calf on, and the fact that Boston’s bit was super under-powered for Calvin, we had a couple of small incidents. AKA Calvin flung his head into the air and went for a bit of an unsolicited gallop. πŸ˜…

“who, me? i wud never do dat” #LIES

Overall, the show went great, though! It’s always fun to watch other people ride horses that you know well, and I’m super proud of myself for being strong enough to jump 2’6″ for the first time in a show environment (CRAZY). Not only that, but Calvin’s shenanigans made me laugh instead of scaring me. I’ve come so far since I warmed horses up for this show last year!

Hoping that Raglan will be at a point where I can bring him next year!
2017 in Review

2017 in Review

════ JANUARY ════

Ezhno and I played the “maybe we can jump” game, which ended with Ezhno broken. It was fun getting to ride Belle again, but no fun forcing Ezhno to take his bute. I landed in the ER for a badly tweaked neck, but end the month with a fun day of jumping with friends.

════ FEBRUARY ════

Somehow I got talked to going to the snowy hellhole that is Lynden to warm up ride Belle at an IHSA show.Β The vet put Ezhno at 30% recovered. I ended up with Lexi as a short term project horse.

════ MARCH ════

Ezhno was declared 80% sound. I started loping Lexi, then went on vacation in Arizona. I bought a new saddle, dug up old photos of Ezhno, and finished off March with a great jumping clinic.

════ APRIL ════

Ezhno was cleared to ride again, but he ended up on a lunging routine after he bucked me off. In the mean time, I sent in his PtHA and ICHR paperwork, I rode Belle more, and I audited Charlotte Dujardin. Ezhno’s sanity returned and I got talked into signing up for an APHA show. My family also bought a tiny truck!

════ MAY ════

We put Ezhno in the transition bit just in time for the Cascade Pinto Silver Buckle Show. We only won a couple of ribbons, but I was so proud of him for handling such a busy environment! I got professional photos, we cantered for the first time in five months, and Ezhno turned eight.

════ JUNE ════

Ezhno ended up with spur marks, leaving me feeling super guilty. We rode without spurs for a couple of weeks and Ezhno was super lazy. Ezhno’s PtHA papers arrived and he went back into training to work on his lope. After weeks of fretting, I had the realization that I should sell Ezhno.

════ JULY ════

I audited a Daniel Stewart clinic. Ezhno moved to KW and a 4-H mom took him on trial. In the mean time, I bought a second horse! I had my first ride on Rags. I saw cross country in person for the first time (and took photos!). Raglan and I had our first lesson together. My friend Missy came out to take cute photos. Ezhno hurt himself right before his vet check.

════ AUGUST ════

I realized that I was at the track for Raglan’s last raceβ€”I even have photos! I found a new farrier. Raglan ended up lame after his shoes were pulled. Ezhno didn’t sell and I made the decision to keep him. I took pictures at the Evergreen Classic and at the Meadow Wood Dressage Finale. Ezhno got a new leaser!

════ SEPTEMBER ════

I had a good lesson with Ezhno. Both boys got their yearly maintenance done and Raglan got his shoes back on (but still wasn’t super sound). Ezhno and I celebrated our one year anniversary! I took photos at Octoberfest. Ezhno and I attempted dressage, but it just led to some not so good rides.

════ OCTOBER ════

Raglan got pads put on (yay!) and Ezhno’s lease didn’t end up working out (boo!). I didn’t know what to do with Ez, so I put him into part time training. Jesse Shaw taught a clinic at KW. I bought the Devoucoux and Raglan and I got back to work. I gave him a new show name (Ragdoll Physics), cantered him for the first time, and had my first fall off of him.

════ NOVEMBER ════

Raglan had a couple of guest ridersΒ and went to his first show! I went back to looking for a leaser for Ezhno, bought an action camera, and picked up a side gig. Ezhno ended up leased out to Raglan’s old owner, who’s using him as a husband/trail horse for the time being.

════ DECEMBER ════

TrainerA taught me how to use side reins on Raglan. My tall boots kicked the bucket, but I was saved by a friend! TrainerA gave me the courage to kick Raglan’s butt a little bit. A plague began to spread down south. I messed with Raglan’s tack set up (more on that later). I bought a trailer!

Weekly Riding Recap: April 24-30

Weekly Riding Recap: April 24-30

MONDAY…

TUESDAY…

WEDNESDAY…

THURSDAY!

That’s right! We’re back in business, baby!

Well, sort of. I rode Ezhno both Thursday and Friday, once with Trainer M warming Ez up/supervising and once with absolutely nobody else in the arena with me. It was terrifying (undaunted, yeah right, HA HA HA HA). There were moments where I was fine, and then there were moments where he sucked back behind my leg and I was suddenly reminded that he has the capacity to go full on MONSTER MODE and my heart kind of sputtered. But he was a good boy! I think we’ll be in better shape when my confidence comes back and I feel comfortable picking a fight with him again.

Wednesday I also had a lesson on the Pony. Remember last week when I was all like “I might take a break from jumping for a while”? LOL. YEAH RIGHT, STEPHANI.

We ended up riding with a couple of less advanced riders, which was good because it meant we got to spend most of the lesson trotting the course (+two-point) with the jumps down as a set of ground poles. Towards the end Trainer M put them up to ~18″ (a height I now think of as “wimpy height”) and we just had a good time gallavanting around the course a couple of times.

Mucho fun, no pressure, no eating dirt, just a really good time.

With the Show Buddy at another stable (though she’s still around twice a week, since she’s my training program’s part time working student!), I also started helping out Trainer A and Trainer M a couple of mornings a weekβ€”grooming, tacking, lunging, etc. Friday I even taught a Short Stirrup lesson. πŸ™‚

For the most part, though, I spent the week playing with Ezhno in the round pen and slowly rebuilding my trust in my horse.