Show history recap: get up to speed

With Sabra’s and my next shows about two-and-a-half weeks away, I figure it’s time to recap our (brief) show history. We have set goals for each show, long-term goals and long-long-long-term goals, which I think is important in tracking our progress and partnership together.

Long-long-long term goal: To infinity and beyond! Okay, in all seriousness, I’d just like to see how far we can get. We haven’t reached Sabra’s full potential yet nor have we figured out where she maxes out jumping height-wise, so it’ll be fun to find out. I’m excited about our journey together – learning, bonding and making my amateur-friendly horse from scratch (she’s been ridden almost solely by me, with a lot of awesome coaching along the way).

Long-term goal: 3′ A/A Hunters or 3’3″ A/O Hunters (most likely at the local level, as Sabra isn’t super A show fancy, but we could definitely do a jumper class or two!); also, maybe a few jumper classes for fun

2014 goal: Take Sabra to as many shows as I can to give her as much experience and expose her to as much as possible.

 

GCHSA | 2′ Adult Equitation | Whipple Tree Farm | December 2013

Goal: See how Sabra does in a new environment.

Less than six months after getting Sabra, I took her to her first show. It was a good test of simple jumps to see how she would do away from home for the first time. Overall, she did really well – cantered everything with no stops and even landed most of her leads (when I asked for them)! Our schooling session and warm-up class are also on YouTube, but here are our three o/f and one flat class:

Homework coming out of the show: Stay straight in between the lines. Turn a little early so Sabra doesn’t bow out through the turns. Don’t bomb the flat class.

 

GCHSA | 2’3″ Low Hunter | SBEC | April 2014

Goals: Keep an even pace and land our leads. Do well in the flat class.

We landed every lead I asked for and our pace was decent. My warm-up round was sloppy, but we did improve with each round. Usually sticking with her is the least of my worries, no matter where she takes off, but I clearly had an off day and couldn’t stay low enough to stay with her, so my equitation o/f is atrocious. Our flat class was beautiful, though, and I was absolutely thrilled with how she went.

Homework coming out of the show: Go deep in the corners so I can better control the pace and find better distances. Also work on breaking more over each fence more so my body is parallel with her back and I stay with her better.

 

GHHJA | 2’3″ Schooling Hunter | Pine Hill | April 2014

Goals: Fix my equitation over fences. Stay straight in the lines and maintain a steady pace.

When we got to the show Friday, Sabra schooled AMAZINGLY well, so I was really excited about showing. Saturday, we showed so late in the day that Sabra was hangry (that’s hungry + angry), and it made for some icky rounds. We raced around kind of frantically, just wanting to be done.

Sunday, we made some adjustments and improved with each round. Also, Sabra started giving me flying changes during our rounds, which I was super excited about because she had never given them to me before! Our flat class was still not as nice as the previous show’s, but it was much better than Saturday’s disaster of a flat class, where we basically just fought in a corner of the arena for the majority of the class.

All of my rounds from Saturday and Sunday are posted individually and there are too many to embed all the videos, so here’s the link to my YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/equinebound

Homework coming out of the show: If I can keep her soft and relaxed, it’d eliminate Sabra’s head-tossing and her getting strong. Then, I’d be able to fix my equitation and better control the pace overall.

 

GCHSA | 2’3″ Low Hunter | SBEC | June 2014

Goals: Fix my equitation over fences. Keep Sabra straight in between and after the lines.

Well, my equitation was still spotty in some places, but better overall. I still floated back when she took flyers. However, it’s good to know my brave, little gray mare can make the horse strides easily and has enough scope to leave long.

All of my rounds are again posted individually and there are too many to embed all the videos, so here’s the link to my YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/equinebound

Homework coming out of the show: Go straight after the lines and deep into the corners so I can make adjustments to keep a more even pace. Give quieter aids to prevent Sabra from tossing her head.

 

Overall, I’m really excited about our next show. Our last two lessons were really productive; I’ve already made a few adjustments that have improved our rides tremendously:

  • Ride every step. Ride meticulously. Give soft half-halts every stride, regardless if we’re going fast or slow, instead of waiting for the corner after she’s already picked up speed.
  • Think calm and quiet. Think and repeat over and over, “We’re just flatting with a jump or two in between,” to get a really relaxed, soft, quiet ride out of Sabra.
  • Getting frantic or making big adjustments/moves makes Sabra a headstrong, head-tossing, excited mare.

What’s the next show you’re looking forward to, and how are you preparing for it?

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