I jumped him the day before the show and he was AWESOME. A little bit strong maybe, but he didn't hesitate at any of the jumps. I brought out some new jumps - a little fake liverpool and a panel fence. And he wasn't bothered in the slightest. I bumped the jumps up to the highest we've done thus far and I don't think he even noticed.
|Biggest little fence so far!|
I ended up hauling in the day of the show since we didn't do our dressage until 11:43am. We got there plenty early so I let Trask graze in the field for a bit since I wanted him to be relaxed and I also didn't want to repeat our trailer tying/halter breaking episode from a while back...
When I finally tacked him up and started warming up in the indoor arena... I knew it was going to go poorly for us. He was SO SPOOKY. About everything. The walls, the mirrors, the windows, the birds, the stall cleaners, etc. It was ridiculous. One thing I loved about this show was how absolutely nice everyone was. It was awesome!
|Attempting to eat plastic flowers|
Another person warming up noticed our difficulty with the mirrors (aka Trask stopping dead and staring at himself, then trying to run away from his reflection) and she offered to lead us up to the mirror which helped quite a bit, though Trask was still on edge. We did our best with the warm-up but I knew it wasn't going to happen for us.
We got to walk around the outdoor show arena briefly and Trask wasn't scared of anything surprisingly. They had some jumps and barrels stashed along the edge of the arena but he didn't care. Nor did he seem bothered by the large black water tanks or the hose reel outside the railing. We started our test and it wasn't too bad until we did our first circle. All of the sudden we were traveling sideways instead of in a nice circle, towards C. I managed to keep him kind of on track and then we went to canter. He didn't want to. With a very ugly transition, I finally got him into a canter but when we circled the same thing happened and he veered off towards C. We came back down to the trot and then the walk for our free walk across the diagonal and I was confident that this was something he could nail. Nope. He kept popping his head up to look around. We went for our next trot circle and the same thing happened, drifting off towards C. At this point I'd had enough and this was a schooling show anyways so I gave him a big kick with my outside leg, earning us a nice few steps of canter (ugh) and we finished our circle. We got to the corner almost to C and he tried to jump out of the arena. I ended up having to circle him in the corner so we could get our canter transition while he continued to try and jump out of the arena.
|At least he looked nice part of the time?|
Finally got a very, very ugly canter transition, did our circle, trotted to X and did our (very crooked) salute. And walked out of the arena very disappointed.
I'm not quite sure what happened but it was definitely a big baby moment. That test was so incredibly ugly, I was so embarrassed. We went back to the indoor and schooled our canter transitions for a while, during which we had a discussion about spooking at things unnecessarily. Ended on a better note, but I was still pretty frustrated.
We had a bit to rest before jumping and I didn't even attempt to pick up my test. While walking to the jump field I had my bf grab it and then realized I didn't have my number since I had left it on my dressage bridle. The person manning the table quickly offered to make me a new one so I wouldn't have to walk all the way back to the trailer. Like I said, so nice!
I got on Trask up at the warm-up area for jumping. Of course as soon as I got on my eventing vest's zipper split which was fantastic. I tried to fix it while the bf held Trask but I couldn't get it. A very nice bystander came up and offered to help, so she ended up holding Trask while I held the edges of the vest together and my bf tried to get the zipper down. With all that teamwork we finally got it back to normal.
Trask warmed up well. They had a pretty large log for warm-up and while he initially refused it, after a good sniff he hopped right over. I felt good about our warm-up but I knew the course would be a struggle for us.
And it was a struggle right off the bat. The first fence, a stadium fence, was right next to fence 8 which was a small log next to the water. Since this was Intro level, the water was optional so you could go over the small log instead. Even though we had been trotting and cantering through the water a mere couple weeks ago, he thought the whole area - water, log and first fence was HORRIFYING. It took me forever and a half to get him to walk through the start flags. Again, pretty embarrassing. Finally walked him through the start flags, marched him up to the first jump so he could sniff it and then we came back around and trotted it. It was so nice that people clapped for us every time he jumped something that he initially refused. It made me feel a lot better that it seemed that people knew he was a baby and we were really struggling, so that was nice.
|He's so cute though!|
He popped over and we headed to the second fence, a large mossy log. He stopped at it, sniffed it, then popped over. We cantered up to the third fence, a moderate sized log. He seemed game so I let him keep his canter and he popped over it without hesitation. We crossed the bridge and cantered up the hill to fence four, another log. He jumped this one without hesitation too. We approached the fifth fence, a stadium fence but he would not pay attention and was spooking at the fences in the tree line so he almost missed the stadium fence but I made him do an awkward walk/trot hop over it, resulting in a pulled rail but no refusal. We trotted down the hill to a small coop, which he refused. At this point my legs were absolutely dead and I could barely even give him a squeeze so I just clucked at him and hoped he'd go over it. He did and we cantered to the next coop, this one he hesitated at but didn't refuse and hopped over.
|Generously clearing the tiny coop - I chopped my face off cause I looked ridiculous|
Then we got to the dreaded fence 8. I knew I wasn't going to try and get him in the water, I just wanted to hop the tiny log then go to fence 9 (a stadium fence) and be done and go home. He refused the log so I thanked the timers and left.
I was pretty bummed since I knew before the show we'd likely get DQ'd for refusals, but my goal was 1) stay in the dressage arena (barely achieved), 2) no rearing (mostly achieved, there were a couple tiny rear's that my bf called "expressive turns"), 3) jump all the jumps even if we had a lot of refusals (fail) and 4) no falling off (yay I really did achieve this one!!)
Babies are so good at humbling you. I really thought we were ready for this show since he was schooling so well at home and we had schooled at this facility recently. Oh well. Packing up to go, the super nice lady parked next to me (her daughter had the CUTEST pony) complimented me on my patience on the jump course and wished me well in vet school (she noticed the sticker on my truck).
I love how nice everyone was at this event! It made it so much better even with a disappointing outcome.
Takeaways for me were - work more with the dressage whip so I can carry and use it at a show without him getting offended. Continue our work on canter transitions and getting him to pay attention to my outside leg. Work on getting him to jump unfamiliar jumps the first time without having to sniff them (thus earning us a refusal). Get him in more water!