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We Are Flying Solo

May 19, 2011

And They're Off!

A drive-by posting before the Flying Solo rig heads north!  Ride times for VA are up; Solo and I will go

Dressage - Saturday the 21st, 11:34 am
Cross Country - Saturday the 21st, 4:06 pm
Stadium - Sunday the 22nd, 11:52 am

Dying to check results?  You can click here to check and see if any live scoring is available.

I have a long list of friends that I hope to be able to watch at some point; one can only hope that things won't be as crazy as last time. Keep all your appendages crossed for to make it 'round clean and safe!

*insert music indicative of impending adventure and uncertain outcome*

Gallop on!

May 16, 2011

Lookie Lookie Lookie!

Here we are, at the top of the page show below -- officially listed in the TRAINING RIDER division at the VA Horse Trials! Wahoo, I'm so excited I may actually pop!  (you can click it to enlarge)

This is the same venue we visited last fall. Only this time I have the advantage of knowing what to expect.

Since the horse trials are co-scheduled with a Preliminary 3-Day Event AND a CCI*, this is going to be a PACKED house this weekend. I am trying to imagine the chaos of last fall and multiply it accordingly but I am sure I have underestimated.

We'll be sharing the stabling rows with many folks including Boyd Martin (OMG, EN John will be missing Boyd-rides!!), Cathy Wieschhoff, Kim Severson, Holly Payne, Karen O'Connor, Lauren O'Brien (I have to root for my jumping trainer's wife!!), Lauren Keiffer, Rebecca Howard, Sinead Halpin (still high off her recent fabulous performance, I am sure!), Nina Fout, Sally Cousins, Jan Byyny (back and healthy competing at Intermediate, wow!), and Hannah Sue Burnett. Thankfully not in my division!

T minus four days till departure...

May 14, 2011

Post Game

We have officially completed our first outing at Training Level!  It was our favourite local venue, who hosted a schooling show with a Combined Training option (dressage and stadium only).


(1) WE WON FIRST PLACE. In our division which consisted ROFL. I let the organizer keep the ribbon for later use.

(2) We scored our lowest score on a single dressage movement ever! Yes, that is a big "3" for the right lead canter depart. Or as Solo translated it, the leaping, twisting buck that led to cross canter that led to running trot which finally culminated in a right lead. I figured I better just sit there until he sorted his shit out. The rest of our canter work was equally craptastic. Apparently accidentally feeding Solo two breakfasts was not the best idea.

(3) Solo DEFINITELY knows he is an event horse. After dressage, we met with our saddle fitter to work on dressage saddle. Solo kept gazing wistfully at the cross country field and finally blew a big bucking tantrum during my trial ride because I ALREADY DID DRESSAGE, IT'S TIME FOR JUMPING, DAMMIT. Amazing how he suddenly became totally calm once I started putting the jumping boots on...

(4) 3'3" stadium jumping is not a problem for Solo. He only pulls rails when his pilot forgets to properly ride the jump. 4 penalty points for me.

(5) I need to do two dressage tests at horse trials. While our test had moments of ok-ness (hey, we figured out how to make centerline "relatively straight"), our dressage saddle trial ride AFTER the test was simply awesome, complete with fantastic trot extensions and transitions. Sigh. To do #457: add mini-test to warmup routine.

Overall, I think the CT served its purpose well, pointing out the spots I need to ride better. Solo jumped really well again, which I am beyond thrilled about. I even used the studs since the ground was wet and I know that venue has slippery clay hiding beneath. Lesson: road studs are NOT enough for lots of grass and clay.

Tomorrow: clean things AGAIN. Plan. Maybe write stuff on the calendar and erase it and write different stuff. Fantasize winning blue ribbon in VA and then laugh at hubris. Fantasize completing VA with a qualifying score for Training 3-Day and pat self for realistic goal. Find someone to talk to other than weird self.

May 13, 2011

Keeping Track

I may or may not be an eensy teensy bit OCD (shush now, lifeshighway). I like to plan. Although generally my plans become playthings of the fates. I like to colour-code. Although there always seems to be one more category than I have colours.

Solo has a Google calendar (of course he does) but it frustrated me endlessly that I could only view one month at a time. I wanted multiple months viewable at once so I could get an at-a-glance feel for things and I didn't want them to be tiny.  So I may or may not have heard angels singing from parted clouds when I stumbled upon a giant dry-erase 90/120-day calendar at Office Depot.

Now, I feel so much satisfaction I think I might pop.   This is what April looked like.

In all its three months of glory, below.  Blue is for horse trials/shows, green is for lessons, red is for vet care, and black is for miscellaneous notes.  Every time I look at it, I feel like I need a cigarette or something afterwards...

May 12, 2011

Schooling For Schooling

Saturday is a local unrecognized CT. Which will also be our first foray into Training Level. My plan was to use it as a perfect prep for Virginia HT next week. It was all falling into place beautifully. I was even excited, EXCITED (probability of that happening: 1 in 10,000,000), about the Training Level Test B that we are to perform in VA; it suited Solo well and made him all supple and bendy.

Until I checked out the details of the class list for this weeks show.

We are doing Training Level Test A.

It's a completely different test with less bending, larger gaps between transitions, and the extended canter on a straightaway. I don't like it. Test B left me with a better horse at the end of it. Test A leaves me a horse who just wants to extend his canter all the way around the whole dang ring. He's really digging this extended gait thing.

We worked through Test A with P the Dressage Wonder Coach last night. I failed to make my brain focus (oooo, shiny!) and both Solo and I had a temper tantrum or two, but I came out with some tips to focus on for Saturday:

-Really use the corners to bend and package the horse, especially right before the extended trot diagonals.

-All the movements are short so even if Solo gets pissed, he'll get to do something different in about five or six strides.

-Make sure the medium walk marches forwards so we get a swinging free walk on the short diagonal.

-Don't let the 15 m circles get too big.

-Prep early for the left lead canter at M.


If I can pull off these six teensy little things, then I'll call it good. Even though it won't be the same test as next weekend, I think it will be some good ring mileage and a chance to also jump a Training stadium course before it really really counts.

The next two days will be Solo holidays so he hits Saturday rested and ready to rock. I make no predictions, but assuming I can get my brain to switch on, I am optimistic about our prospects for a decent go.