SUBSCRIBE TODAY Smiley face  Get updates via email! 

We Are Flying Solo

November 21, 2011

Jumping For Joy

I want to first thank you all for your emails regarding sale items and your perusal of my equine flea market.  I am always overwhelmed and stunned by people's random kindness (you know who you are), as most of you do not know me.  I hope that I can prove worthy of the generosity you have shown.

A few sale details: (1) I have added a loose ring snaffle, check the bottom of the post! (2) SillyPony, I have added rein lengths and one set is 58". (3) If you want items shipped before the holiday, I need to know before 10 am Wednesday morning, otherwise, you have to wait until next week. (4) If you have expressed interest in an item in the comments and still want it, but have not contacted me at, email me now!

In other news, there may have been a little jumper show this weekend, that a certain chestnut wunderkind attended that I imagine some of you might be interested in hearing about. It went a little something like this:

Carefully check online show bill Friday night and confirm show starts at 9:00 am. Plan accordingly. Curse loudly and often when alarm goes off at 5:30 am Saturday morning. Kick wildly to clear felines from pathway and stumble into 14 layers of clothing to protect against 30 degree morning. Unplug My Precious (truck) and rumble to the farm.

Hook up trailer in chilly dawn and load horses (Encore and Big D) at 6:45 am. Roll out a little before 7:00 am with Cindy (Big D's owner) wishing I had a chicken biscuit. Arrive at showgrounds around 7:40 am and OF COURSE, we are the first ones there.

Fall out of the truck and head to arena to walk freshly dragged course. Run into course designer/judge who informs us show ACTUALLY starts at 10:00 am. Cindy and I exchange a look and whimper for that extra hour of sleep. Oh well. At least we won't feel rushed.

The rest goes smoothly. Encore is bright and alert but trots around nicely. Since it's a schooling jumper show, we can cheat and warm up in the show ring and jump any jumps we like. So I school a narrow-ish chevron and both the brick and stone walls, which have formidable large cubic standards. Encore is fine with it.  We now remove 13 layers of clothing because all of a sudden it is 65 degrees, a detail which Weather Underground failed to bring to my attention.

My plan is this: do two courses in the 2' - 2'3" division. Dream of 2'3" - 2'6" course if Encore feels magical. The rules have been somewhat bastardized -- unlike an actual jumper show, there are no jumpoffs. Quite simply, the fastest time around the course wins. I'm NOT racing kids on ponies; my goal is to teach my horse to be relaxed and businesslike on course, so I do not ride for time.

Our first course:

I kept him at the trot for the first half. The last thing I want is a horse who barrels around a course; I want him considering each fence and focusing on the task, not lost in a speed high. I ignore the "helpful" railbirds clucking at us with a giggle.

Encore finished strong and I let him canter the entirety of his second course. He never rushed and I felt it click in his mind: my job is to canter around where the nice lady tells me and jump the little jumpies. Got it. On it. Done.

Video capture of the post-course grin.
 So yeah, I went for the 2'3" to 2'6".  I'm not thrilled with my riding; I am still trying to adjust from the style I adopted for Solo.  Encore is a completely different ride, on top of which, he still jumps like a green horse, so staying out of his way can be challenging!  I felt too far behind him, much of the time, but I did the best I could and hoped he didn't hold it against me.

There was no hiding my glee. That rhythm? That was all him, just doing his job. I have ridden more than a few horses in my life; I have never before sat on one who was so...I don't even have a word. He waited for the explanation of his job, I gave it to him, he went ok, and he just did it. Checked the box and ready for the next assignment. There was no "how can I get out of this, how can I make this easier on myself, can I spook at that, how about I race really fast." None of it, just honest, wonderful, amazing trying. I thought I would explode from sheer happiness, which terrifies me, but is completely freaking awesome.

As an extra bonus, even though we totally ignored the time, Encore still won his first ribbon, even if it is heinously pink (must have been four ponies in that class, LOL!).

Look who is getting more muscle-y!  Hint:  it's not me.

And for you Big D fans (and, of course, those who can't get enough of my appalling videography), he also was an excellent boy, taking very good care of his very nervous rider! He and Cindy did a wonderful job in their first jumper show - check out his flying lead change! They did both courses in the 2'3" - 2'6" class and I hope very much to see them going Beginner Novice in the spring (write in and tell her she just must, she needs some peer pressure, LOL!).

I also want to give a shout out to Macnair's Country Acres for hosting the show, which was fun and relaxed enough to give us the flexibility of a great schooling opportunity.  Then another huge shout to Tom Pollard who designed the courses and judged -- the courses were lovely and made sense to my young pony and I have not talked to a friendlier person in a long time.  From the time we met him in the morning and throughout the day, he was gracious, funny, kind, and warm and made it a pleasure to be there, so thank you (because I am sure he totally comes home and reads this blog every night)!


  1. Go Encore! I can't watch the videos at work but I will when I get home. What a dude :)

    Also, what's a chicken biscuit?? Those are two words I never imagined I'd hear combined! (Biscuit for me = cookie for you)

  2. ZOMG, you have not lived without an authentic southern chicken biscuit. You take a golden, hearty, buttery biscuit and then you insert a spiced, breaded chicken fillet. Bojangles does it best (it's a fried chicken fast food chain in NC). Delicious!!

  3. I am continually impressed with your horse! But I know it has way more to do with you than you like to give yourself credit for so great job to you and Encore!!

  4. Wait, so ... a biscuit IS like a cookie (crumbly)? Or is it soft and bready, like a scone?

  5. What a good boy! You have done a great job with him! :-)

  6. What a lovely set of courses! Encore certainly looks like a seasoned pro the way he got out there and did his thing. Y'all GO!!!

    PS. Kelly, a biscuit in the Southern US is a light, flaky, thick round of dough that's sort of like a roll, but flakier 'cause they're made with lots of butter. It's not sweet like a scone at all, and much "fluffier" than a scone. They use baking powder to rise instead of yeast. Stuffing fried chicken in the middle of it is truly a southern thing, but they are also often found drowned in a cream gravy and eaten with a fork (for breakfast).

    Clearly, you'll have to come visit and us suuuthern folks will have to take you out to sample the delicacies!

  7. In the words of your videographer, "Yaaaaaaaaay!!" :-D Geez, Encore totally rocked it out--and he is still a little green bean! I can't imagine how unstoppable he will be once he gets more miles under his, girth.

    And I'm totally laughing over your blog comments becoming a place to explain/debate the differences in dough-y bread-like foodstuffs. And, wait, do our "biscuits" not exist in other parts of the world? If they do, what the heck are they called??? Why am I sitting here at 3 am pondering different forms of dough?!?

  8. Wow, check him out!!!! I wish his owners had email (I will check to see if they do) so they could see him in his new career.

    What a brain he has and just so smart. He's kicking butt!

    I think you look great. Greenies are hard so I think all we can do is stay out of their way and let them figure out where to put their feet. I just love his canter rhythm even when the distance is a bit off he just takes it in stride and so do you. That is what it is all about.

  9. Ha, no clue what account that was that I just posted under :)

  10. Yes, jenj gave a very good explanation -- in Ozzie-land and NZ, biscuits are cookies. Here, cookies are cookies and biscuits are bready, like scones but not sweet, although they are buttery. The Bojangles biscuit is a wonder unto itself, delicious (unless they give you the day-old kinda stale ones).

    They did have KFC down the road when I lived in Melbourne, they have biscuits there. Although I can't remember what they were called.

    Bigjoe, I would love to let his owners/breeders know how he is doing, if they are able to access the blog or get email. He is such a wonderful boy!

    Thanks for the encouragement!! I want so much to make sure he is not hindered in all his careful trying! Once he gets a few more XC miles and we work out that "canter in the dressage arena" thing, he is going to GO GO GO!

  11. ROFL, Jess, I thought that might be you, I figured maybe that was just your alter-ego!!

  12. Excellent! Can't beat a horse with a nice natural rhythm :)

  13. Oh, poo. I was hoping for 72". Wenglish, you know.

  14. Hahaha, sorry, SP, my reins were not made to double as double dutch ropes.

  15. Somehow I did not know you were selling stuff until I saw this blog, so I missed out on the cool things I actually needed. :-(

    On the bright side, Encore looks fabulous! You do, too.

  16. Way to go! What a cute facility/ course. I only had time to watch the first video, but you were jumping them nicely in rhythm, that is a skill in and of itself to jump well at the trot- hunter medals courses often REQUIRE a trot jump, and most of those gently loping hunters botch that jump!

    And ohhh those early mornings! Especially hard because I have to restrict my coffee consumption to prevent bathroom breaks every 30 minutes on the drive to the show!


  17. Thanks, SB! And sorry, but it was for your own good -- I don't think you need any more horsey stuff!

    Thank you, Corinna!