SUBSCRIBE TODAY Smiley face  Get updates via email! 

We Are Flying Solo

February 15, 2012

Time To Be Ready

The entries are sent in.  The checks are signed.  The Coggins papers are emailed to the appropriate people.  After a single outing at Maiden last fall (during which he thought the XC course was the best present he'd ever gotten in his life), Encore will make his spring debut at Beginner Novice in February and again in March.

I am very tempted to bump him up to Novice in March.  I have taken an informal poll among fellow horse people.  David says if he goes perfectly in February and it's all easy, go for it.  My friend, and my gut, say give him two BN's to build his confidence.

The February event (in two weeks!!!) is at a gorgeous farm in Vass where we school XC regularly, so I know the facility and I know the jumps.  I have not seen the stadium jumps but am well at home in the XC field.  I have no concerns whatsoever.  Dressage may be a bit messy, but I don't care -- I'm there for the horsey mileage and the sooner we can kiss BN goodbye, the better!

But it's complicated.  

Solo competing at CHP at Novice in 2010.  Photo by Pics of You.
Because the March event is at the Carolina Horse Park (CHP), my favourite place to event, but traditionally the courses are maxed out on XC -- that is the jumps are at the maximum heights and sometimes widths for the level.  The show jumping courses are designed to be ridden forward and confident and usually have at least one funky turn.  There is a new XC course designer for the lower levels this year (sniff, I LOVED Jeff Kibbie's courses), so I'm not sure what their approach will be.  Regardless, I hesitate to use this as a move up event as Encore has never been to CHP before and it is big, professional, and the last thing I want to do is overface him.  I want him to believe he is invincible.

So the likely plan is that he will remain entered in the Open Beginner Novice in March (it just doesn't feel sportsmanlike to enter Beginner Novice Rider when I have ridden at Training level, even if I didn't complete the event) and I will move him up to Novice at my very favourite event, Longleaf Pines Horse Trial, also at CHP, in April.

Of course, because I have long since learned my plans are made only to be derailed, I am not telling Encore any of this and I am confident something insane will happen between now and then.

Do you have big spring plans?  Training goals you are shooting for?  Trail mileage you want to rack up?  Dust you want to knock off?  Do share!  I am tired of sad, I WANT HAPPY!


  1. Sounds like a good idea. I'm just happy to be riding after having a year off due to being pregnant. Not showing this year due to $ restraints, but will be hitting the trails. Who knows, I might even get my daughter up on the horse with me as well.

    Good luck!!


  2. Awesome!! I'm jealous of your sheer volume of horse trials to aim for.

    My goal is to steal Cuna and do BN til we get bored and then move up to N. I'm thinking by the end of the summer. The whole thing is complicated by 1) being a felony and 2) there aren't many shows here.

  3. Go with your gut!

    My spring goal is to win 2 local H/J association Medal Finals :) Hopefully all these weeks of No Stirrup help :D

  4. Sounds like a very responsible plan. Confidence is the name of the game, for you and for him. We have our first event THIS weekend! Whoo hoo!

  5. I completely agree w your plan to move up at Longleaf. Much friendlier course and he won't have CHP stage fright. I'll definitely see you at SP 1, if I can't make it out to Mari's little HT. :)

    My plan for Pop's season is Pine Top (training), then SP 2, and possibly Chatt Hills after that. So excited!

  6. That is awesome you guys are showing already! We're still in a winter wonderland right now, and won't be seeing green grass until mid-April. Sounds like a great start to the season, always good to go smaller than too big. Our plans? Survive a few clinics, learn that contact isn't the worst thing in the world, and maybe do a couple baby trials this summer.

  7. I don't think there's anything wrong with riding BN even though you've done training- YOU have done training, Encore hasn't :) It's definitely better to err on the side of taking it slow.

    I'm doing my first event this spring- unfortunately its also BN. I've been schooling novice and some training, and the horse is an old pro, so yeah, that also kind of feels like cheating. But since its my first event ever, I guess its best to just keep it low key so I can figure out all the peculiarities of how an event actually runs. I'm kind of sad though because the training jumps are the best ;) I'm sure the jumps won't be the problem- just figuring out how to navigate a cross country course ha!!

  8. Sounds like a plan that will work for you guys!

    I won't be able to start my season until May, when our events start up here...until then it's lesson lesson lesson!

  9. I don't have any set plans yet beyond just getting back to the states in June. My trainer has a horse that she really wants me to try out this summer so who knows by August I might have a new partner!

  10. Jen, I can't wait till my trail buddy is back in the saddle!

    SP -- I promise to not report your felony. Get that horse out there.

    Nicku & L -- go get 'em!

    HJ -- we won't be stabling at CHP (OMG THE PRICES!) for SPI, but come find the Flying Solo rig! Oooo, you are going to SP2 with the big boys!

  11. NSR -- I LOVE CLINICS. A lot.

    Lyndz -- no, there is NOTHING wrong with riding BN, I didn't mean that -- I just meant I would not enter the BNRider division (even though I am technically still qualified since I did not complete a Training Level event) as that is for people just starting out in the sport. I will be competing on the Open BN division, which is for any level rider with a green horse.

    BB & Amanda -- hooray for lessons and GOOD LUCK with a new partner!!

  12. Wow, CHP! I'd love to compete there some day. Soo not ready for that yet. Now since the High Queen has decided that loading on the trailer is an excellent idea we've actually gotten out a bit and have many, many HT plans. Debut(first ever of any kind of competition for the mare other than racing) at a Pony Club HT literally 5min from my house. Then no HT's still the first weekend in March, then HT every weekend, culminating with the Starter Trials at the VHC at the end of March. Hope to see some of you there!

  13. Neat plans! Try not to be too exasperated with the idiot attempting to scribe in dressage and out on the xc course at the Southern Pines HT...I, I mean, poor idiot, is making my, er, 'its' 'debut' in volunteering in the eventing world...
    And I think Encore will rock that place with ease.
    My plans? Bailey the Billy goat and I will begin training soon, hopefully her slight stiffness is due to lack of muscling, assuming it is, a wee little dressage show in April, and then maybe a Starter Trial at CHP in the fall? Oh...and the monster/devil's spawn himself, Ta'ceyewi, will be lightly started this year. Pray for any poor dumb soul who gets on his back...

  14. Do non-horsey plans count? I'm actually in the process of trying to move to NC! Millions of teaching applications are in, now just waiting to see what will come up!

  15. EAM -- I love VHC's XC course, although it is always challenging! Very lovely, although it's always so busy and full, it's a bit of a sensory overload for me!

    Alana, on every movement for our test, just write down a "1" followed by a "0" it's really easy. No, just ignore that head-flinging leap into canter, that implies the horse is extremely engaged and enthusiastic about dressage.

    Molly, nonhorse plans totally count! If you come to NC, let us know where end up! We're just north of Raleigh.

  16. Hey you'll be great! Jess Heidemann once told me that on one of her dressage comments after Cassy tried to show how high she could really fly was: "Excellent Stickability" for the rider comments.

    Since my mare also can be shall we say over enthusiastic I am hoping for at least something below 50. And hoping I don't eat dirt. If we can do that all is fabulous. Good luck with Encore!

  17. Hahah, thanks! I just want to stay in the ring and not get the big E!

  18. We're just hoping to do the schooling show series close to home. Squeaker was a star last time, but that was 2 years ago and we've been working on our own since then. First I suppose we need a saddle that fits, one thing at a time....

  19. Just keep putting one hoof in front of the other and you'll get there!

  20. I love reading everyone's spring plans! My spring plans are to get ON A HORSE.. I'm going to visit my friend and my darling old chestnut mare that she is in a long-term relationship with (it didn't work out, the mare and I, but I don't hold grudges) and see if she'll let me ride around the paddock without dumping me... again.

    Good luck everyone!