I went to Florida for a weekend, kept riding, but no jumping shows and not really much jumping for Neuf, and suddenly it was the week before Upperville. Martin was to be riding 1.10m, 1.15m, and 1.20m on Neuf, so we quickly came up with a plan to meet up at a jumper barn and Martin would have a jump school with a coach. Neuf was fantastic. They finished up with a vertical that was 1.30m! With that prep, we all felt good about Neuf at Upperville.
They had a great show. Placed in the 1.10m and 1.15m divisions, which were HUGE…over 30 and over 50 in the 1.15m!!! He had a rail in the 1.20m but it was still a really nice round.
I missed the first two fences as I didn’t make it over in time to get into position to video after setting warm up fences!
I did NOT show Neuf at Upperville. That is my goal for next year, but this year, the plan was for me to ride at the Loudoun Benefit show, which is at the Upperville showgrounds, the week after. That is where Neuf won the 6 year old Jumpers last year. I did RIDE Neuf at Upperville though, it was a mental game for my own confidence. After Martin finished, I put my saddle on and hacked around the grounds, watching 1.30m classes.
Loudoun Benefit was next with ME riding. I entered .80m and .90m, because there was no .95. I am close to entering 1.0m, but I want to work on improving my pace and not getting time faults with the fences at a height that Neuf can step over.
First thing I did was to take a jumping lesson on Tuesday morning, and it was good. I also was relaxed and had fun, even riding on the sloped, grass jumping field. Then, I remembered to take an ulcer med on Wednesday night, took another Thursday morning and managed to eat some rice, which is my go-to settle my stomach food. I also brought my bowl of rice with me in the truck, so I could eat a few more bites.
I got there, and left Neuf in the trailer while I went to walk my course with Martin and get my number. The course seemed ok, the oxers always seem big to me, but I reminded myself that Neuf had just done 1.20 meter quite easily a week before. Neuf unloaded as calm as if we were at Martin’s for a lesson!!!! My stomach was good, I felt good. I tacked up, used my trailer step as a mounting block and strolled over to the warm up. I had a good warm up, only a little bit of spook at the other horses, and then I went in. I really wanted to be within time allowed for this show. I’ve often had time faults, since I don’t ride him as forward as I should.
I felt good, rode forward and we went double clear!!!! A blue ribbon for this class.
We had a LONG wait until the .90 started, so I took him to the trailer and loaded him up, got lunch, then we went to get ready again
I lost some of our forward in this round and he pulled a rail, so no ribbon, but overall, I was pleased. We were within time!
The next day, I was a tiny bit nervous, but I followed the same food protocol. Felt good, but Neuf seemed tired at breakfast. But, normal, so off we went to the show again. He was more “up”, but less forward. Spooking at the other horses in the warm up ring, I had to work harder to get him forward. Our first round reflects that…with commentary from Martin (videoing) to get him in front of my leg!
It was a clear round at .80m but one time fault. Drat.
We ended up with a long wait for the .80 m to finish and them to drag and reset the course for .90 m, but I went in with a plan to “wake him up”. Shorter warm up, more reactivity to the other horses, but I handled it. When I trotted into the ring, my plan was to get him forward before the buzzer rang. At the beginning, you can see a solid kick out when I insisted. But, mission accomplished. We took 10 seconds off our time from the earlier course. I felt really good.
I had fun showing this week. Neuf was excellent, I rode well and felt comfortable at the .90m. I wasn’t anxious or too worried, just the good amount of nerves that you have before some sort of performance.
It is time to start moving up to 1.0m at the schooling shows, work on more forward, at some point I’d like Neuf to look as good with me on him as he does with Martin riding, more fitness and then we can maybe do some Low Adult Amateur classes (these are 1.0m).