You Win Some, You Lose Some

First things first:

He looks SO good in blue! 
If you follow us on social media, you know that Dino and I WON our division of the hunter pace last weekend!

This is actually the first legitimate blue ribbon we have won as a team that didn't come from being the only pair in the class, or beating out one other rider because they couldn't canter. We were actually, really, better than everyone else at a thing, and even though it was just a hunter pace, I couldn't be happier with or more proud of my little trailblazer!

Plus, winning blue ribbons at trail riding is seriously awesome.

We also ventured back to Burgundy Hollow for a Starter HT over the weekend with mixed results. My only goal for the day was to get Dino around both jumping phases, and hopefully have him feeling like SuperPony at the end of the day. While he's been jumping like a serious rockstar at home and in lessons, the show atmosphere is always a toss-up for him as far as doing what he's told, and I wanted to get him out there over some fences that he could literally walk over if needed, to both build confidence and send the message that even at shows, we GO OVER, every time.

Dressage was great, one of our best tests to date with a score of 34. The judge was highly complimentary of us, and gave us some good tips on improving our overall balance and relaxation, as well as commenting that Dino was a "really nice" pony and that we had a lot of potential. We scored mostly 7's across the board, which I'm not complaining about!

Dino's preferred competitive activity: Competitive Trailer Floor Hay Scrap Eating
Warm-up for stadium was also great! Dino attacked all the fences and felt more than ready to go by the time I had jumped all of the warmup jumps once off of each lead. Once we got in the ring, he picked up a nice forward canter right away, and then tried to stop at Fence 1. I ended up popping him over from a standstill and continued on, only to have him refuse Fence 3. Homeboy got a good spanking for that one and got booted over, and after that the rest of the course was actually really nice. He was forward, hunting the jumps, and doing his job very well the way he knows how. While I was irritated by the first and third fences, we did finish strong, and I felt that we ended on a great note in stadium. It may have started out ugly, but I got my point across and Dino stepped up when I kept the pressure on. A good schooling ride, all said.

Cross country was a teeny, tiny course. Walking it, I felt a little disappointed because the BN fences looked WAY more fun, but I knew that Dino needed small jumps that day. He came out of the start box with a GREAT canter, which was fine by me since I had originally planned on trotting the first fence, and then propped to a stop in front of the little log at Fence 1. He got a serious spanking for that, and I kicked him over and got on with it. Dino acted like every jump was terrifying, backing off and making googly eyes at them, and after a couple more stops at a small coop (which he was made to jump from a walk) I adopted the technique of cantering between jumps, and then slowing down to trot the fences to give Dino time to understand that yes, we were jumping, and it was non-negotiable. It ended up being a really good way to ride him, and though he thought about stopping several more times, slowing it down before the fences actually seemed to give him more confidence and more time to read the jumps. By the end of the course, Dino was jumping well and confidently out of a strong trot or small canter, which I count as a win! I ended up getting TE because I COMPLETELY FORGOT ONE JUMP (how embarrassing!) but despite all the issues we had on course, I think it was a very good schooling outing and a great way to reinforce Dino's job description on course. We ended on a very good note after both jumping phases despite rough starts, which is a win in my book. It's going to take time to rebuild his confidence and re-install his brain at shows, but I hope we're on the right track.

Moving forward, I want to do a lot of XC schooling and trotting tiny, boring jumps until Dino is dragging me to them. In stadium I think it's more about being tough with him and making sure he understands that his job is to jump, every time, but on XC I feel that there's also a confidence issue to be addressed. He is jumping so, so well at home (even my redneck 'surprise' XC jumps that I randomly make him jump sometimes after flatwork days) that I'm not ready to give up on eventing him just yet! We will stay at Starter and Elementary levels until it's downright boring, even though I feel a little bit like a failure for having to drop back down from BN. I go back and forth about continuing to try and event Dino, but he just has so much talent hidden away somewhere in all of his baggage that I can't bring myself to give up on him as an event pony.

And thank goodness, hunting season is coming! That's something I KNOW Dino will excel at.


  1. Sometimes it's hard to teach the older guys a new skill, such as XC so it makes sense that it's taking Dino a little longer than it maybe seems like it should to really get it down. I bet if you continue your patient approach, he'll eventually figure it out!

  2. I have totally been in the "oops I forgot a jump" camp (more than once)- hate that. Congrats on a great hunter pace and a good schooling outing!

  3. You're definitely giving him the best approach to getting the answer right--hopefully he continues to step up to the plate for you!

  4. I totally think you can and will be rockstars at eventing

  5. Yay for blue ribbons. Also, good for you for getting it done at the event. I absolutely understand how hard you probably had to work :)

  6. I'm sorry it didn't work out as planned but happy that you figured out a recipe for getting him through!!! And YAY HUNT SEASON CAN I COME WITH YOU?!?

    1. UM YES. If you can get your mare up here to PA you can come hunt!!!

  7. Sounds like a great plan moving forward. Congrats on the ribbon!

  8. Congrats on your first 'official' blue (although I maintain you still earned the others...)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts