So I haven’t been keeping my blog up!
New Year’s weekend, I went to Southern Pines, NC. I had Neuf and after posting my year end ride stats, promptly started the year off with two falls in two days! Fall #1 was not sticking the landing when Neuf launched over a culvert on a trail. No big deal and since it wasn’t naughtiness, it did not seem to impact my growing confidence. Then on Jan 2, after a superb, 2 hour trail ride with 10 or so people, Neuf was great, I went towards the mounting block to dismount. My friend Allie’s Jack Russel Terrier is trained to jump up with her on her horses from the mounting block and he saw a horse approaching the mounting block and thought I’d take him for a ride. Allie called him, he jumped down, but Neuf was convinced that he was going to jump on him, went straight up in the air, spun 180 degrees and double barrel kicked towards the mounting block. I saw the dog jump, then I was studying the Japanese Maple tree that I was using to soften my landing.
I landed on my feet in both cases, then fell back onto my butt. No bruising from either, other than the ego bruise that comes with a 50% fall rate for the first two days of 2016.
Neuf went back to Martin’s in February. They are at an indoor and he has been going to some shows. He went to Lexington, VA and Swan Lake in PA for jumpers in February. The second time at Swan Lake I rode him! The first round was shaky, the second better, and the third, one time fault, but a really nice round.
Then we are to today, the jumpers at the Virginia Horse Center, Day 1.
We arrived too late on Friday to go to the jumper ring, the jumpers are being held outside in the Northern Arena, so no schooling in the ring the night before. Due to the snow, the horses had not gone out the night before, so Neuf had two nights inside.
We got to the show grounds early, and handwalked around the arena, but the jumps were not up, they were propped, poles up for dragging and so no showing the fences to Neuf. We went back to the barns, and did the office, the classes I had wanted weren’t online, so I had to do the form for scratch/adds, then we tacked up and I walked him over to the warm up. Martin gave me a leg up and walked me around the warm up area twice. I was a little apprehensive, but Neuf was good and I was able to get his focus. With Martin coaching me (serious hand holding this morning) I got Neuf going very nicely. He was forward being outside, and I was ok with the forward! This was big.
We finished warming up and I headed into the ring. Fence one was an oxer! But, that forward was there, and Neuf was jumping great, so it was good. Left turn to a bending line for 2 and 3, two verticals, then another line, I forgot to count the strides, but I called it the Maryland line (MD State flag colors), that was 4 and 5, then around to the right for 6a/b and 7, and it was 5 strides between 6b and 7…and we did a smooth FOUR. Like holy shit, we were going at a decent clip! Then, Neuf listened, came back to me for a tight turn to 8 and I almost got lost for another tight turn left to 9, the last fence. I took one rail, I don’t remember which one. I’ll have to watch the video again to see.
So, the second round was going to be great. Then Tori walked past the ring, just as I’d walked in, and she had Neuf’s stablemate. If she’d been 20 seconds later, it would have been fine, we’d have been going and focused, but I let Neuf getting distracted, distract me, and I chickened out. I never even cantered and excused myself.
I’m ok with that decision. I’ve been following a lot the advice in that book on regaining confidence and not overfacing yourself is one of the key tenets. And, I have to say it is working.
Tomorrow I go in the ring again and I know it will be better.