Saturday, December 17, 2016

2016 Season Wrap Up

Well, I've got mixed emotions about proclaiming that the 2016 season is officially finished for Dieter and me. It was a year of ups and downs, but we've learned a lot. I think 2017 is bound to be a great year for us!

At the end of October, we celebrated Halloween by dressing up. Taylor and Duncan were Wonder Woman and Super Man. Dieter and Sophie and I were ninja turtles. And Leah even dressed her new horse, Scooter up, too. And we had to take a couple jumps in our costumes!

November came and went quickly. And none of us eventers are great at sitting still, so we kept
the engine going. On the 20th, we went to Stone Ridge Eventing's first one-day horse trial near Springfield, MO. It was a blast, and the show was run really nicely. It took us about 2 hours to get there from Chris's house in Butler, MO. Dieter was a pistol when he came off the trailer. We had to canter what seemed like endlessly around the cross country field before he started to chill a bit. We did beginner novice. Our dressage test was a bit of a disaster. He was trotting through mud with zero impulsion the whole test, and when I asked for that stupid left lead canter, it took us 3-4 attempts before we finally got it (oh no, now we have a new confidence issue). We ended up with a 36.0. Then came cross country. Their cross country jumps are scattered in about 3 turn out pastures, so the 12 jumps on the course all came up pretty quickly. Dieter did pretty well over the first 3 jumps and then we came to a barrel jump. He has never jumped a barrel, so it wasn't insanely surprising that he refused it on the first attempt. Stupid me was over his shoulder and barely made the save to stay on and reattempt. He jumped it beautifully on the second try. Then we came around to the water, which was about 5 feet across. I don't think he understood what he was supposed to do, and I stupidly tried to canter him into unfamiliar water (learn from my mistakes on a green horse, kiddos). Let's just say it didn't work out well for me and I ended up on the ground in front of the water (whoops! At least I didn't go for a swim!). I caught my horse and made the walk of shame off the course. Luckily, this was a schooling show and I'd be able to try again after everyone else had finished their first attempt. And I was allowed to ride stadium. While we were waiting for stadium to start, we warmed the horses up around the stadium jumps (some of them were different than anything we've ever seen... and they were all very colorful). When it came time for us
to do the course, it rode beautifully. We had a good pace throughout the whole thing and Dieter barely looked at anything (we jumped our first green astroturf roll-top with no issue!).  After we did our stadium round, I took him out to school the water again. He hesitated, but walked right through it. Then trotted it. Then cantered it. No problem. So we started at the beginning and rode the whole course from start to finish and he ate it up! This horse loves his job. It's pretty cool, and so much fun to be on this journey with him! 
After Stone Ridge, Dieter got a week off while I visited my parents in Austin, TX for Thanksgiving. We had a lot of fun playing pickelball, golfing, and doing iFly (so fun!). 

There was another Stone Ridge show scheduled for December 4th. Unfortunately, the night before, it rained pretty hard. As a barn, we decided that it was a schooling show and it wasn't worth risking our horses' safety & health to ride in a schooling show that might not have the best footing available to us. Dieter has shoes, so we weren't as worried about him, but Duncan doesn't have shoes and didn't need to lose confidence by slipping and sliding into a cross country jump. We decided to scratch and stayed home to ride at Iron Horse later that night instead. Dieter jumped some fun stadium jumps with mounting blocks under them, astroturf, jackets on top of the jumps, and even some bigger stuff. We're really figuring out this jumping stuff!

Then on December 10th, West End Farm was having their first combined test for the year. We're doing beginner novice this year, as compared to green as grass (which is lower than starter) last year, so it was fun to see how he had improved over a year's time. We ended up leaving Chris' house after she got off work on Friday, so we didn't make it to North KC until about 7:30 pm. We decided not to ride, because it was late and there was no one around and it was cold. We made sure the horses were settled in and headed to Walmart for sugar cubes. We were totally lame the rest of the night and went back to Lorna's house to sleep. On Saturday morning, we went to the barn early to feed and found out that the outdoor jumping ring was too frozen to be used, so dressage would be in their front arena (which didn't have fantastic footing and was littered with some rocks), the indoor arena where we would be jumping, and a grassy hill that could be used for warm up when the 2 arenas were in use. I gave Dieter a really long warm up (about an hour and 15 mins), and we started in the indoor where we just walked for a while. Right after we started trotting (and were able to do 1 canter transition), we got kicked out so the lower jumper divisions could start. We did the rest of our warm up on the grassy hill. We schooled left lead canter transitions until I didn't think about it anymore. I had the realization that I think I'm bending him too much in preparation for the transition, so when I straightened him out, we did a lot better. We went in to the ring to warm up (there was no space around the outside, so we just trotted around the ring. When the test started, it went really well. He felt really good. He was pretty good about keeping a good pace throughout, and when it came to the left lead canter, he picked it up on the first try!!! I had the biggest grin on my face! We had conquered our demon. I didn't even care how the rest of the test went, but we ended up getting really good scores on all our walk work (like 8s... like 3-4 8s!). It was our best dressage test to date! We got a 28.75. Check out our test here: The jumping started 15 minutes after I finished my dressage test, so I immediately changed my tack and went straight to the indoor arena. They didn't really have anywhere to warm up jumps and I figured that the quicker I could get into the jumping arena, the more I could use my dressage as my warm up. They allowed us 4 warm up jumped before we were to start our course. Dieter was awesome! We had a good pace throughout the whole test and he did amazing. We went double clear. We ended up in 1st place! Yay for winning! It IS possible. And Taylor and Duncan won the BN junior division.

And now the weather sucks and it's unbelievably cold and we haven't ridden since last week. I saw my horses once when I went out to put a new blanket on Dieter. And now it's snowing and the roads are super icy, so who knows when I'll be able to ride again. So instead of riding... I blog. You're welcome. 

No comments:

Post a Comment