Monday, June 30, 2014

Fun day, really

Today was a horse filled day, minus the Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. Fifi had a lesson at noon, meaning that I actually got to sleep in for once in a long time. My first dilemma of the day was which belt to wear. Was I to go with well fitted with obnoxious butterfly buckle or horribly fitted but actually classy? I ended up going with the butterfly because the other one was just hanging off of me, but it was getting hooked on so many things. I'm pretty sure I left my good black belt in Jamaica last week. It is now enjoying daiquiris and sugar cane on the beach.

There were more people at Fifi's barn today, including the ever fabulous Kellie. There were also donuts, many donuts. Fifi didn't get yelled at as much in her lesson today, so I didn't have as much written down, but I did make note of one exercise and a couple of other little things. Afterwards, we went on a trail ride, and I walked with Lee's nieces while they switched on Fisher. For some strange reason, they put me in the lead and tried to point out where I was supposed to go. I got lost. I haven't been to the place often enough to know the lay of the land, so I just kind of walked and kept walking and ended up walking the wrong way, but I had fun doing it, so that's what matters! We finished trail riding a little before 3:00, cleaned up, then went to see the foals at the mare barn down the road. Look at them.



When we got to my barn, it was around 5:00, but still pretty hot outside. I tacked up, but only after catching the saddle flap on that stupid belt buckle. Our ride started out really nice. She was trotting around nice and bending nicely. We weren't really having any disagreements, but when we went to canter, things kind of fell apart. She wasn't really moving forward, and I wasn't riding well at all. To be honest, I just wasn't feeling right, if that makes sense. I felt like I was having an off day. We did some figure-8s at the trot and canter, then I tried some lead changes. She got most of them, but the back end takes a few strides. I recognize that her lead change is incorrect (i.e. front to back), but I do not have the knowledge or skill to fix this issue, so, when I ride by myself from now on, I'll stick to simple changes.

We jumped a little bit as a warm up, first a cross bar, then 12", then the 2'0" coop. She did the first two fine, but she has something against the coop.

Remember that Thursday?
She stopped twice and took some strange distances, but we got over it. It wasn't pretty, but we did it. I went out to the big arena after that and basically did a bunch of roll backs, then Fifi had me hold my two point at the walk while Baby cooled off.



I'm not happy with my riding today. I feel like it wasn't a very productive hour, but I do see an improvement. A couple of months ago, Horseware Ireland had that Grassroots competition for a 10,000€, and I, like any other sane human being, didn't mind getting essentially free money, especially considering that the terms attached were loose. I got everything done. I went out and had Miss S film me, I spent over an hour filling out the entry form, I had my video uploaded, but I never sent anything in. Why? Well, after actually watching my videos over and over again, I realized that I wasn't riding as well as I thought I was. I already knew that I would be up against some very good riders for the sponsorship, and I was really only doing it because I had nothing to lose, but I wasn't going to send in my entry only to be laughed at by the people running the company. The good thing about today though is that things have seriously changed for the better since that day I filmed, and that was only three months ago.

Moral of the story: have patience. I think very few people truly have patience, and, in this sport, when you are out competing and trying to be the best you can be, messing up once can make it feel like the entire world is crashing down on you, but, in reality, it isn't. We are bound to make mistakes; it's inevitable. Even professionals screw up from time to time, but getting frustrated only halts progress. Faults cannot be fixed until they are recognized and then rectified.

If you ever have the opportunity, I encourage you to film or take pictures during your rides and start critiquing yourself. Maybe have a friend help you who knows a lot about riding or post on a forum. It made a difference for me, and I have no doubt that it will help you as well.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Didn't quite qualify

I'm off by a minimum of 2 points. I'm not exactly sure anymore, but, so long as I place well at my next show, I will qualify.

Sunday started out not so nice. I switched into Low Children's from Pleasure Horse. Miss S just wants me to do something without having to worry about points. I don't even know what Low Children's judges. I might do Low Hunter next time. Long story short, I didn't get to school, so Baby stopped at all the fences in our first two classes, and I was excused. Miss S had me do an open card and gave me a crop to carry, which I honestly hated, but I guess it was necessary. I'm not against crops. They're an aid like spurs, a whip, and so on, but I hate that I had to all of a sudden use one. I hate that things got to that point, and I hope that I don't have to use it ever again. We got through the open card and the next judged course. I got a third there, then a fourth in the flat.

Now, the main issue all morning was the medal. Only one girl was signed up for it, so it wasn't going to run unless it had two more people. That's when we questioned whether I had actually qualified or not in order to see if I could ride in it just to help fill it. But lo and behold, my points weren't on the association website. Miss Terry went to the office to see if they had my points on record. Nope. Apparently the communication within the association hasn't been the best. Yes, I had registered and yes, I had points, but no one knew what the points were. I had to guess, and it wasn't until I checked my past posts on here that I actually knew how I had placed. With my guesses, I hadn't qualified, so I was able to ride in it. My friend filled the class as the third one, BUT, there was an accident. That same friend was riding in the pony derby. I had done my medal course, and it was great except for one slightly reckless rollback. She did her derby round right after I did my medal and was going to do her medal right after that. Unfortunately, the derby called for a hand gallop through a weird turn to an oxer, one which her pony, Mert, couldn't make it through. They got super close to the jump, but Mert still tried to jump it. He ended up getting his front legs between the box under the jump and the back poll, then flipped on his side. My friend came off, fortunately before Mert fell on the jump, but she ended up hitting her back square on the poll and had some damage done to a knee which she had surgery on a year or so ago. Mert was fine, and my friend was able to walk away, but I goes without saying that she didn't do the medal. I'm kinda bummed, but I'm glad that she was able to get up after that, and I'm surprised that Mert didn't scratch up his legs. It was a lucky moment.

The day goes on, and I went in for my first Jr. Eq. course, where I messed up the same rollback even more. I placed seventh, then I forgot the end of my second course and asked to be excused. On the flat, I placed 5th out of 11, which isn't bad. Baby didn't stop at anything, and she did a couple flying changes. Overall, the weekend was rough but rewarding.

I hope to go back to watch another one of Fifi's lessons either this weekend or sometime next week and have her video tape my ride afterwards.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Qualified!

So, Saturday showing had finished, and now I'm sitting with my trainer and Shelby, drinking lemonade and making schedules. My allergies and asthma have suddenly decided to spur up, so deep breaths every once in a while.

Getting up this morning was not happening. We actually woke up later than we usually do since we didn't have any lead liners this weekend. Dubstep helped. We get to the barn, and I go to clean Baby's stall, and for some reason unknown to me, she decided to roll in her pee. We had been good for almost a year, but I guess we've reached relapse. I cleaned her off. There was still a faint stain. Fortunately it wasn't too obvious.

Miss S put me in Pleasure Horse before I did any of my equitation simply because she wanted me to do something that wasn't equitation. Out of the four in the division, Baby did pretty well. She was calm for the most part. She got a third in the flat and park mount, then a second in the combination. Things kind of went south for the pattern class. The serpentine and the back through were nice, but then I screwed up the stop in the box and forgot about the turn on the haunches. I redeemed our image with the trot fence which was flawless. We ended up getting a third.

We had a bit of a break before my medal. The courses this time weren't nearly as difficult as the last shows. There were just a bunch of broken lines. I was trying to channel what Miss Marianne had told me at the clinic, but it was difficult to remember what she said and then apply it. Either way, I was riding better with a more forward pace, but the elevation was lacking, and I wasn't sitting. My hands were kind if up, higher than usual, but not quite where I had them on Tuesday. My course was actually good, it honestly was. My distances were a lot better, and there was one really scary jump—which was honestly scary to me, as a human, so I cannot fathom how it must have looked to a horse. Baby still jumped it without a moments hesitation. When we did the hack, everything was nice, but I heard the wrong command from the announcer and halted accidentally. I guess the judge missed it because I won the class anyway. It was my first blue medal! And now I'm qualified for the finals in August. Best part is that my class fee goes down by $15 (once you qualify, you don't get to ride in the class anymore).

I kind of quit after that. My first Jr. Eq. course was messy. I was missing everything, and it was the same course I did in the medal. I think I let the judge down. I ended up getting excused in my second course because Baby refused three times, but I don't blame her. I was taking the jumps from some shitty spots. She was hitting rails everywhere, even the verticles. She was probably fed up with me and made an executive decision not to take my shit anymore. I placed 7th out of 11 in my first course.

The flat was better, except for that one missed diagonal. I placed 5th out if 11.

Pretty good day overall, and since the judges are being switched for both rings, I'm curious to see how I place tomorrow, but, for now, I'm sleeping.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

There was a High School Musical reference made

 I'll apologize now for the novel, but I couldn't document 2.5 hours worth of riding in a shorter way.

So I survived the clinic. What a relief. It was moved up an hour earlier than it had been originally planned, so I had to wake up at 6:30am, school year time. I got to the barn just before 7:30. Baby was, well, dusty, but I think her hose down on Sunday helped to minimize the amount of dirt I would have to brush off of her. I ended up having to switch from my blue saddle pad to my burgundy one; my original outfit had a blue shirt and a pair of grey breeches which I had ordered last Tuesday, but it appears that I got the short end of the stick when it comes to shipping. The items didn't arrive until today, in the afternoon, plus the gloves were missing. I wore my pink polo and jean breeches. I felt so under dressed, but at least I was clean and had my shirt tucked in.
The whole clean thing didn't last too long. It was hot, even at eight in the morning. TWC has a thunderstorm warning going until midnight. I don't want to seem like a know it all, but, don't you have to have clouds to have a thunderstorm? There was no cloud coverage what so ever. Any thunderstorms that happened would have been more akin to War of the Worlds than severe weather. Of course, I forgot my water bottle at home, which caused me to down four cups of lemonade when we finished. We all warmed up before our clinician, Miss Marianne, arrived. I forgot to mention that the fly spray we use also attracts a lot more dirt than I had expected. By the time Miss Marianne was ready to go, Baby looked like she had rolled just prior to me getting on. I was just misted in sweat. All in all, I don't think it looked like the prettiest picture, or, at least, it wasn't the picture that I had envisioned (but, then again, I also envision myself on a big bodied, thick boned warmblood stallion jumping six foot at WEG, so perhaps I hold myself to an unrealistic standard).

The first thing we did was introductions, then we moved onto a short lecture on "Position One" and "The 5 God Given Cues". "Position One" refers to the classical alignment of the body on the horse. Essentially, it's the first position that you learn, or should learn, when you start riding. The importance of it is that every position that we go into comes from Position One. Something about Position One changes, but not everything. The 5 God Given Cues are your eyes, voice, hands, seat, and legs, basically things that almost everyone is born with and can be used to tell the horse something.
After the lecture, there was a lot of trot work, which I guess had a lecture to go along with it, but it wasn't a standing lecture, it was more of a typical, do-what-I-say-and-don't-question-it, trainer lecture. What I learned during that is that I am stiff in my back (which actually explains so much). I need to bring my shoulders back, sit taller, and keep my hips under my shoulders. Surprisingly, doing all that seemed to bring my leg back quite a bit (although my stirrups were uneven; I had to adjust them on Friday and guessed when I put them back on the saddle, gah!).That's thing No. 1 to remember when I ride.


The back stiffness actually continued on into the canter, but the big issue was me using my hands too much and not enough leg. We're all cantering round and round, and it's getting hot. Miss Marianna is focusing on me for the moment and asked me to stand up, put my reins in one hand, put my other hand on my hip, and steer with my legs. Now, I felt like quite the queen in my pink polo with my pearls and riding one handed, but then she said, "Everybody walk . . . except Taylor." And that's when my little queen bubble burst. I think I did a quarter of a lap by myself before she allowed me to stop.
Oh Jesus . . .
Everyone went to their drinks after that, but Miss Marianne and I had a little one on one where she talked to me about my hands and my back and so on. One of her key phrases in reference to hands was "Have a party" which isn't as bad as it sounds, I swear. It meant that the hands and the arm should give to the horses stride rather than my stiff backed upper body. The "party" meant movement. She also asked me what I struggled with when it came to jumping. I told her that stopping was the only issue that I had with Baby, but I also made sure to mention how Baby always used to refuse to the left (religiously, and not just with me). I told her how Baby hadn't stopped at all when I rode her on Sunday, and I presented the thought that I ride differently when I ride alone, more firm is what I told her. That's where I was told about the triangle and the box. I have a box. That box includes everyone that goes to shows and rides with me, all my friends and horse show moms, and Baby and Miss S, but, within that box is a triangle. One point of the triangle is me, another point is Baby, and the final point is Miss S. When I go into the ring, I should only focus on who is in the triangle (I'm going to start an exclusive, equestrian themed club called The Triangle because of this). When I'm in the ring, I always focus on everyone, I almost depend on them to say something every time I go over a fence, or get a refusal, or come by the in gate; that's just what I'm used to. So, from now on guys, if I completely blow you off while I'm in the ring, it's not because I hate you, it's because I'm in my triangle, and my triangle is very comfy and important to me.
Now that the triangle has been established and the riders have been hydrated, we moved on to a bit of jumping. We warmed up with a cross bar that had a trot pole in front of it. I went over it twice, and the issue again was the hands and how I would break my wrists and turn my hands down (eheheh, turn down for what?) whenever Baby got too fast or broke into a canter. Seat and leg, seat and leg, seat and leg. That's what I intend on repeating to myself when I ride this weekend. Seat and leg, seat and leg, seat and leg.
First time over; it got better
We moved on to a little pattern. The cross bar went up to a twelve incher, and she added the red diagonal line and the outside line to the whole thing. When I had to go, she reminded me of my triangle, which Miss S was kicked out of momentarily. As we were cantering, Miss Marianne had me sit, and when I say sit, I mean sit. She actually liked my half seat, but the minute she saw me going around a corner, she had me sitting. "This is a leg ride!" she said, and guess what? It is a leg ride! It's always a leg ride! Everything starts with the legs, and I know this, and I don't doubt it one bit, but I've gotten into the habit of going to my hands first and not using leg as often as I should. The deep seated Stubben came in handy today. Seat down, legs around, weight dropping straight through my body to the heels, and hands up. I need this woman's voice on a recording that I can play whenever I ride with her yelling, "Sit! Sit! SIT! Leg! More leg! Hands up! One, two, good. SIT!" At first, I was a little flustered. I struggled with seeing my distance in the diagonal line, which led to some pretty shoddy equitation over the second fence, then I let my leg and seat off, which led to a cut and a lean going into the outside line, but the strides were nice. We got a bit of a longer distance, but Baby took it like a champ.

The next thing Miss Marianne did was put up a 2'6" oxer, and, although I voted against, we added another course to the end of it (any and all kind relations with my lesson group have been soiled), which included the triple. Of course, I go to do this thing, I'm trying to glue my butt to the saddle, I have my leg on, and all I get up there, and I'm like, "Shit, where's the stride?" Baby still jumped it. I went up and then back and then I don't even know, but I stayed on and I only lost one stirrup. It was only slightly embarrassing. I laughed a bit while they weren't looking. Miss Marianne had me do the rest of the pattern, which was flawless up until the last two fences in the triple. I went slightly off balance going in, so Baby was going right as we got up to the second fence. Guess what I did???? I use my rein instead of my leg. God bless this horse and her forgiving mouth. I went way off balance over the second, so she just stopped at the third, despite my pushing, but I honestly would have come off if she jumped it. I ended up on her neck, but she saved my booty right there. We went and did it again fine, then I had to do the whole thing again since I still fucked up the oxer in the beginning. It was much better. I saw the stride and we took it nicely, then I got right back down in my saddle and put my leg on for the diagonal — jump, seven, jump — then right on to the outside line — jump, six, "LEG!", jump — and finally the triple, where I lost my stirrup for the whole thing, but it was my outside stirrup, and I don't even think she noticed, so ha!

At the end of that is where she talked again about the triangle and having certain things to focus on. "Get your head in the game. Take the shot. You might miss, but you took it. Swing the bat. You might not hit, but you swung."
I might add that she also compared Position One to ballet. Sorry, Miss Marianne, but I don't dance.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Is it ever not about horses?

'Course not! I spent the last half hour cleaning my boots and chaps for tomorrow's clinic, but prior to that I threw some laundry in the wash. Guess what I'm washing? Show stuff! And now, I'm writing on my horse blog while simultaneously watching jump-offs (commentary included), and that's basically what I've been watching all day. It never ends.

I was slightly bothered by the whole not jumping thing on Thursday. I want to be just a little bit prepared, so I rode on yesterday and did a figure-8 with fences. I also did the transitions exercise, and Baby was The Bomb. She was super duper responsive without being tense or uppity. The leaning wasn't as bad as Thursday, but it was still there for both directions, and she's basically saying "Eff you" to my inside leg. I've been trying to pay attention to my upper body issue at the canter, but it's hard to tell if I'm doing the right thing when there is no one there to watch me. After reviewing my videos from Thursday, it looks horrid, to say the least, but I'm optimistic that the clinician might have something helpful to say.

For the jumping, Baby was just slow and not wanting to move up. I had a teensy tiny cross bar and a teensy tiny oxer (which, when I look back, might have been bigger than I thought it was). She went oxer both of them multiple times, but goodness, it was an effort. She was grunting over the oxer, and I was afraid to take the longer distances because I didn't think she was moving forward enough. Along with that, she wouldn't land her right lead. Yes, I am as surprised as you are. She landed the left lead over the oxer all but one time. She was quick to switch to the right lead, but still, it's a wow moment.

I'd actually say she was pretty good for the ride, nothing extraordinary, but she felt good. We trot out a little bit then I walked her out to cool down. After that, I sprayed her off, put her away, and got back to work.

I think my boots and chaps enjoyed actually being cleaned for the first time ever. They don't have the out of the box look that they used to have, but at least they're black as opposed to that off gray color with arena dirt brown accents. As much as I hate to disrespect the clinician, I prefer to wear my boots and chaps as opposed to my tall boots simply because I ride differently. I like having the freedom in my leg that boots and chaps provide. I've honestly never liked tall boots. I don't quite enjoy having my leg in a capsule where my skin soaks in my own sweat and God forbid I have any unrestricted blood flow to my foot . . . but nevermind all that. I have a 2012 Hampton Classic to watch.

Friday, June 13, 2014

I'll just stay in my chair

When you're bitten by the horse bug, you tend to have an almost uncontrollable desire to be on the horse, but when I went to Fifi's barn yesterday, that changed. I sat down right in my chair, writing notes and taking pictures, while my dear friend was tortured, er, I mean took a lesson. Her trainer makes her work, good lord, it's intimidating! As terrifying of an experience as it was, I enjoyed listening in to both Fifi's and Kellie's lessons (I also enjoyed just looking at Kellie, and I mean that in a completely not stalkerish, no homo way; she dresses nicely, and she likes my half chaps, so we're cool). I took lots of useful notes that I applied to my ride later that day.
They're a funny bunch at Fifi's barn. My friend Lee rides there too, and she was telling me about a Dom Schramm clinic that was supposed to happen this summer. Unfortunately, they won't do the clinic if there aren't enough people. Since its show season, a lot of people, me included, don't tend to do clinics this time of year. I need to get some more information on it, but hopefully I can do it. I like EventionTV. Dom seems like a funny guy, and it's only $80 a day. That's a steal for a clinic with a guy like him.
Ah, yes, the professional at work.
Moving on, we finished up at Fifi's barn, and we went back to mine. I rode Baby in her halter and a saddle. I had originally planned on doing a jumping exercise to work on my two point, but I figured I'd jump enough at the clinic on Tuesday, so I just did flatwork. I worked in a circle at the far end of the arena. My leg seemed quiet. I had Fifi video me, but I haven't looked at the whole tape yet. The first thing I focused on was bending in the corners. I thought about keeping myself centered with even rein contact and using my legs more. It wasn't perfect. Baby was staying in the corner, but she was leaning a lot, and it was even worse at the canter. It didn't matter how much inside leg I put on or how centered I tried to sit, she kept leaning, and it was both ways. At least she was slow both ways.

The two other things I worked on were what Kellie and Fifi were working on. Kellie was doing trot to halt transitions, which weren't a huge issue for Baby. I just had to be clear with my cue. Fifi was working on transitions from the walk to the canter then back to the walk, but there couldn't be any trot steps with either transition. The up transition wasn't bad, but the down transition? Fifi's trainer would have wrung my neck, or worse, make me do squats after my lesson (._.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I think I confused the judge

Because when you ride recklessly and flop around over jumps, he is bound to question whether or not he is judging an equitation class. I mean . . .


Every fault I have was just magnified 10x when I got in the ring. Even during my warm-up I looked better than this. I was so much more focused and thought clearly about what I needed to do, but, once I got to the actual class, I blanked on pretty much everything I shouldn't have blanked on. I remembered my course, but everything else just went out the window.

If only I had been judged while schooling on Saturday morning. Baby went over everything nice and was picking up her leads nice, just still not so happy about picking up the left lead — she actually didn't feel quite right on her left lead, and I have asked Miss S to have the chiropractor out sometime this week. Otherwise, she was great.

I hung around for a while since Jr. Eq. is still and always will be towards the end of the day (gahh!!). Cas convinced me to do the Hunter Derby (because rollbacks), but I was waiting until after I finished all of my other classes. My first two courses were okay. I got one refusal in each, which isn't bad, but my riding wasn't quite where it should have been. I didn't place at all in Jr. Eq., neither the jumping nor the flat. I can't remember my medal course, but I ended up placing third out of four. Another girl and I almost couldn't do our Derby trip since the judge accidentally turned in the scores early. They were able to get the cards back quickly, and I was the last ride of the day. Baby jumped everything the first time, even the option which we hadn't gone over at all that day. She looked for a moment then took it from the perfect spot. They called the placings about five minutes later, as I was untacking and getting ready to walk Baby out a bit. She got a third. The judge may not have liked me, but he certainly liked her (as do a lot of people, apparently).


Sunday was not as good. We schooled a little bit, and Baby was fine, jumping everything nicely. Miss S wanted me to do my Derby trip early in the day just to get it over with. We go in, get to the first fence, she stops. I turn her around and go for it again, she jumps it fine. We do the second, third, and fourth jumps fine, she picks up the correct lead to the fifth jump, and stops. I took her back around again, but she stopped again, and we were excused. The judge said that she needed a more forward pace and gave me credit for staying on, and as much as I appreciated the comments, I couldn't give myself any credit. She stopped at least once in every single on of our courses. I didn't place again in Jr. Eq., and I placed last in the medal. The best part of the day was the four flying changes that I spontaneously asked for and Baby spontaneously complied with.


Contrary to what most seemed to think, I was not upset with the placings. A ribbon is just a bonus to me. I'm upset about the fact that I wasn't riding up to my usual par and that I couldn't, at any point during my classes, pull myself together and ride correctly. I basically went in and got out as fast as I could. I think the only thing that I did okay with was striding, which I usually suck at. It's likely that the pictures make it seem like I'm exaggerating, but what looks bad feels a lot worse when you're on the horse. That's just how I am.

On the bright side, while we were driving back home, we all got to talking and convinced Miss S to ask a local trainer if she would do a clinic for some students at Miss S's place. Well, Miss S made the call, and now I'm doing a clinic next Tuesday (and yes, I already have an outfit picked out ☺). I'm also planning on riding this Thursday, but, since today is my last day of school and I'll have an hour long lunch break everyday, I think I'll catch up on some reading.

Like it can even be explained . . .

Thursday, June 5, 2014

So close yet so far

I guess it's a good thing that I rude with the people who I ride with, Cas in particular. She has to jump higher than the rest of us because of the classes she does at shows. I've been waiting for the day when I can innocently tag along behind her and try the bigger jumps—though I am overly pleased with how Baby has done in the last 6 months—mainly for the heck of it. Tuesday was that day, but since flatwork always precedes jumping, you'll have to read all that before getting to the "good stuff".

I'm still in the process of breaking I'm my tall boots, so I rode in them for my lesson. They're so much easier to get on now that they've been through one weekend of showing, but still they could use a bit more stretch, mainly because of my awkwardly large calves. Flatwork was the usual walk, trot, and canter. My departures for the canter need a bit more work though. Baby it's still being more disagreeable than usual about her left lead. I'm going to have Miss S call out the chiropractor to see if there is anything wrong physically or if she's just voicing an opinion. Another thing to work on I'd my shoulders when I canter. Apparently I do a "thing" with my arms where I don't move them, but I move my upper body instead. I can feel it, but I have no idea how to fix it. I only do it when I sit the canter; it's not an issue anywhere else. I'm planning on going to some Dressage clinics in the fall. Perhaps one clinician will know something to help me out, I'm not sure, I guess we'll see.

And now onto the "good part". Jumping was basically rollback mania. Everyone just decided that rollbacks were the best thing on Earth. I'm on the fence with rollbacks. They're okay. They're certainly fun, but I don't like doing four of them in a row, plus you have the lead to worry about, not to mention you still have to two-point and all that nonsense. They're a good challenge, but they become annoying when you have to do them too much.

I threw two in my first course. They were simple ones, although I took my turn too tight for the second one. We chipped in to the second fence and sliced it—LOL #jumperswag—but we got over and finished with the triple.

After we all did one course, Miss S raised the jumps and put up two oxers. The rollback trend was still going hard. I switched mine up and decided to do a rollback with three jumps, then do a rather large oxer that Miss S had put up, claiming it was 2'6" when it was clearly not 2'6". The rollback made a cute little "S" shape too. It was a nice course, and Baby went through it very well minus a few missed leads. I got her too close to the oxer, but thank God she is careful with her feet. She cleared it, knees up and neck stretched. I looked atrocious, but at least half the picture was pretty.

I made a .gif  :)
I was fairly proud that I had jumped 2'9", so I wanted to take a picture of the measuring tape to send to Fifi and Schmitty. I went out there with the tape, put it against the jump, and guess what it measured? 2'8" and a quarter. 2'8" was bad enough, but then that little extra quarter inch was laughing a little maniacal laugh at me; it added insult to injury, but I was honestly proud. She took the extra stride that I asked for and got over that jump almost effortlessly. Her talent never ceases to amaze me, and we didn't have any refusals, despite some odd distances.
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