May 7, 2012


Yes, I am lax in my posting.  Field season pulls me away 2-3 days per week and I've been gone every weekend.  I never want to drive again.

I am also a moron because I keep forgetting to turn on my helmet cam.  This weekend, I did remember at jump 3 and made a valiant attempt to turn it on there.  Unfortunately, Encore had just settled into full TB gallop and those jumps just aren't that far apart at that speed; one handing the XC course did not feel like a good idea.

I know, no cam, what's the point, right?  But we did get some good mileage.

Lesson:  Encore is great in the dressage warmup; I am finally learning what works for him and I had him soft, responsive, supple, and ready to go.  Then we left the warmup ring and entered the dressage arena at A, at which point Encore threw his head up, startled that he was suddenly alone and stared at, and I was unable to unlock his jaw for the next five minutes.  To my aghastment (it's a word now), we still scored a 36.09.  :-o  It felt more like a 45.  But baby needs a lot more mileage so he can get comfy and relax his topline in the arena and we will be hitting the dressage schooling circuit this summer, instead of the schooling HTs I had originally planned.  Not as fun, but cheaper.  The boy already knows how to jump, I'll save those jumps for the fall.

Lesson:  I was starting to figure out a few things in the SJ warmup.  I kept my leg on all the way to the base of the fence and over, hooking a finger through the martingale strap so there was no mouth catching, and we got some LOVELY jumps.  Once we got in the arena though, any place where there were two jumps in a straight line, he charged like a bull and I was left to try to half halt and be soft at the same time.  I think I have at least partially created this problem.  Basically what happens then is I end up trying to hold him to the base of the fence instead galloping through it, which will almost always mean back rails get pulled behind, and I forget all about keeping my leg on.  Hopefully, David will fix us this coming weekend.  If there is a turn or corner to use to balance, we do fine and I can focus and get him back.  A friend was nice enough to catch the rail bowling jumping round on her phone for your entertainment (I would recommend full screening and maxing the resolution)!

Lesson:  Encore is getting more confident on XC, yeah!  And WE JUMPED THE LAST JUMP.  Oh yes, the bright rolltop nemesis was defeated with a holler and a smack.  I don't think I would change a thing about his course.  It was the same funky course as Longleaf, which I still think doesn't work well for Novice horses in several places, but it made my coursewalk much easier.

The point of SCHOOLING horse trial is SCHOOLING and I am very happy with the experience we got.  Encore feels a little more sure of himself each time out and the horse trial itself did its job of showing me where our weak spots were.  So to the drawing board we go, to come back in the fall with a big fat BANG!


  1. I see what you mean in your show jumping, he looks like he gets a little strong but he seems to enjoy it which is great! I think you guys are looking really good and doing well. You are doing an awesome job!

  2. Thanks, Nina! When he sees jumps lined up, whew, it's like he's GONE! He definitely likes to jump though.

  3. Please let us know what David advises for a fix. I have the exact same problem with my mare-beast OTTB. In SJ if there aren't any fences too close together she's great. Give us a tight line and I am just holding on, holding my breath and praying we don't die. Trying to work on it, but would love your input from similiar experience

  4. He looks so pretty and powerful in the video!

  5. Midnight, I certainly will share what David has to say. I'd like to say I'll get video, but I don't know if I will be able to or not. I know it's a common problem and think I know what the solution is, but I need David's eyes and ability to tease out the important bits to organize it in my brain.

    Britnie, thank you! He certainly can be strong!!!