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We Are Flying Solo

April 22, 2010

It's About Time The Freaking Pictures Arrived!

Cause I know that's what you're thinking, right?  Without further ado...  Pics by mum unless otherwise noted.


 Hooked up and ready to go.

Dressage warmup.

Stride one out of the start box and he's raring to go!

Clearing the log stack at jump #1.  Pic by Pics of You.       Stretching out for the gallop.  Pic by Pics of You.
Soaring over the big table (jump #4) in style.  Pic by Pics of You.

 Jump #7, a rolltop coming out of a sunken road.

 Evidence that we did, in fact, jump that trakhener (jump #8) that I've spent all winter thinking about.  

 Coming out of the two stride combo (jump #10) with flying colours!  Pic by Pics of You.

Making our way 'round stadium.  We got in a little deep on the red one and his hind foot caught the top rail there.  Left by Pics of You, right by mum.

All ridiculous faces courtesy of yours truly.  During dressage, it is me gritting my teeth.  On XC, it is me yelling "GOOD BOY!"  In stadium, it's me staring at the jump trying not to stare at the jump.

April 19, 2010

Sometimes Finishing Is Winning

Sorry, SillyPony, we did not perform show jumping with such brilliant finesse that the judge decided that all the other riders sucked and gave us a giant blue ribbon.   

I also have to say: THANK YOU, MUM, FOR BEING A GREAT CREW! She brought us water, snapped pictures and carried bell boots around for us this weekend and the company and assistance were invaluable. It is SO MUCH WORK doing an HT by yourself, just having an extra pair of hands is truly priceless!

Saturday night, still rolling from our XC high, we packed up and chugged up the road to A's house, a friend of a friend who graciously offered Solo a stall for the night. But not JUST a stall. A beautiful abode in a picturesque barn over which the house was built. The back of the stall opened directly into a private pasture all for Solo.

Funny story: I poured Solo his grain and as he began to munch, I worked on tying the back door of the stall open so he could choose to go in or out at his whim. As soon as I had it wedged open, Solo turns his head and looks and immediately stops eating and walks out the door. He stops, surveys his pasture, turns and looks over his shoulder at the door, then looks at pasture again, then turns around and marches back through the door. He then looks back at the door again and snorts as if to say, Now that is freakin' SWEET!!! All three of us watching died laughing.

Sunday morning dawned a gorgeous 70 degrees and Solo walked boldly out of his stall moving great. His back muscle was still tight, but it had lost its angry heat, so it got its morning massage and we loaded up to go.

The stadium course rode really well, despite what I thought were two terrifying bending lines. They turned out to flow quite smoothly and we even conquered the tough oxer-two-stride-vertical combination at the end. Tired Solo toes caught one rail on a skinny vertical we weren't quite forward enough to and thus ended up too deep at, but that's ok.

All in all, for a horse with a pulled muscle, I'd say my big red boy did pretty damn well and he jumped beautifully for me. He just couldn't carry himself for the dressage arena, but whaddya do? We finished in 18th place out of 30 horses, which gives me great hope for when Mr. Shiny Pants is back to 100%.  I consider our first recognized horse trial a success!

And I also want to send a shout out to the Carolina Horse Park and their new lower level course designer, Jeff Kibbie. He did a FANTASTIC job putting together a XC course that was not maxed out (thank you!!!!) at every jump, flowed perfectly, presented a variety of jump types and questions in a way that the horse could think about and tackle each with confidence. I don't who did the stadium course, but they also did an excellent job.

I'm going to make a separate post for photos because I confess that there may have been some photogasmic purchasing activity, plus mum's great shots.  So here is a teaser, shot by Pics Of You, of Solo looking classy coming out of the second bending line in stadium jumping.  Again with that stupid stock tie...

April 17, 2010

Short Show Update

Day 1: If you looked at the live scoring, you can see we stand in a whopping 20th place.  Dressage was bad, I think much to do with that sore muscle.  I didn't push Solo on it so the whole half of the test tracking left is pretty ugly.  Tracking right, he put in a decent canter & I let him be.  Hence our very nasty 44.7.  And since Novice is where heaps of adult riders park & spend the rest of their life because Training scares them, it's VERY competitive.

Solo was quite willing to go forward though, so I figured I'd let him have a go at XC & he could decide what he wanted to do. Well, as soon as I rode out to the warmup field, he perked up & soared over the warmup jumps beautifully.

Then he saw the start box & I think his tail actually caught on fire. Optimum time was 5:18. We finished in like 4:39. He was flying. And jumping really well, so we'll give stadium a go tomorrow morning & if he says no, we'll walk off with no regrets -- the XC course was a GREAT ride & he willingly took in stride the trakhener, big bank, jump out of the water, wide brush & a tall bench. Hooray, Solo!

Here's a sneak preview of us all prettified for dressage, just to whet your appetite.  And yes, I did tie the stupid stock tie!

April 16, 2010

The Night Before Rears Its Ugly Head

It's always a comedy of errors with me.  But I guess if it wasn't this would be a really boring blog.

I have cleaned enough tack for five horses. See, as I was cleaning my bridles for tomorrow, I thought, hey, while I have the cleaning stuff out, why not clean up and oil the old bridles hanging in the trailer and put them in a bridle bag so they will store better? About halfway through, it became clear this was a bad idea. So much leather...the only good part is when one old cavesson broke in my hand so I didn't have to clean it anymore!

The trailer is packed with a full water jug and hay bag; the first aid kit is stowed next to saddles and bridles and girths and spare girths and spare reins; the galloping boots and splint boots and bell boots and open front boots and spare bell boots and spare spare bell boots are hung.

Since I realized that despite my somewhat exhaustive supply of horse accessories, I was a bit short on apparel for a recognized dressage arena, sigh. All the buttons had been snapped off my coat at the last horse trial during an exhausted dismount. In my own true redneck fashion, I was just going to safety pin it shut. Well, BO would have none of that and insisted I borrow her jacket and stock tie.

So now I have a $600 jacket and a stock tie I don't know how to tie hanging in my closet. I am horrified to put the jacket on in fear that I will somehow ruin it merely by coexisting near it.

Oh and because smooth sailing would be too easy, as I was bathing Solo, I discovered he had a very inflamed muscle in his back. OF COURSE he does. He got a Sore-No-More massage and a dose of bute and a stern admonishment that he better have himself fixed up by 1 pm tomorrow!

Dear god, why does every adventure have to be so...typically me??!

Time For The Big Time

We set off tomorrow for Longleaf Pines Horse Trial -- our foray into schlepping around with the big boys and girls.  And yes, my eyes ARE bugging out of my head.  This will be our first recognized event, our first two day event, and our first go at the Novice XC course at the Carolina Horse Park.  It's going to take every bit of Solo's big red heart to get us through it.  At present, I am driven by an equal mixture of excitement and terror.

The event will hold dressage and XC on Saturday and stadium jumping on Sunday. Solo will be bunking at a nearby farm so he will get his own paddock to snooze in Saturday night -- I hate locking him in a stall for a whole weekend, not to mention that if you stable at CHP for an event, they extort you for $175 just for a stall. Which I steadfastly refuse to pay. As if just entering the darn thing is not expensive enough, along with registering both yourself AND your horse with USEA!

You will be able to follow our (hopefully uneventful) progress and that of our competitors:
Ride times are here.
Live scoring is here.

Solo and I will be in the dressage arena at 1:06 pm and we'll hit the start box at 3:16 pm. My ever-so-kind mother is coming to photograph our performance so we'll have lots of photos to share with you next week too!