Sunday, May 15, 2011


So where to begin..

As you can see, this was our dressage. I was very unhappy with it afterwards, but once I watched the tape I was happier...always looks better than it feels I suppose. I know what I needed to fix but I want to add a massive disclaimer, IT WAS SO EFFING BAD outside. Like, 40 degrees, windy as hell and misting. 

The warm-up was horrid. He spooked out of his skin at everything. Every horse, every squeak, every leaf, everything. I had a few good moments, but mostly I had a 3 year old in a 9 year old body. Even the 4 yr old stud in my division was acting better than him...I was so disapointed. I cannot describe to you how cold and windy it was outside, all the odds were against us.

I went in the hole expecting a 50 or worse on the test. I wanted to get a 35 at most, since my last score was a 40 something, and I KNOW he can score in the high 20s even, but show jitters always get him. Always. This time it was beyond insane. bucking, rearing, running awful.

However, the experienced eventer shone through that morning and the INSTANT he saw the judge, he settled right down. Literally the change was second, wild eyed, stiff pony from hell, next, a relaxed willing horse. I was baffled so much I almost forgot my test, HA.

So it went pretty ok, I was revved up since he had been a nervous wreck only seconds before and I was shaking from the cold, but overall, it looked really good comparatively to other tests in the past. He broke the canter at B, but he memorized the test (oops) from practice and anticipated. Our free walk sucked, but it always does at shows-can't seem to pay attention to anything but stuff outside the ring. Again, he anticipated the canter transition at K and broke into it in the corner. I decided to keep it since our R lead transitions are usually sucky. We got 7's on both our canter extensions which was generous, since he needs WAY more impulsion. Our R lead ext. was better than the L ( I actually bought a picture of it, it was stunning!). I got a 7 on the extended trot as well. Also, a surprise, a 7 on the stretchy circle! Yay! He did stretch really well near the end of it so I was happy. Not a square halt...but considering the circumstances, I took a 37. I was 8th after dressage, not too shabby, but I was still a little upset with how it went. I got a 7 for rider, which I was happy with since I overshot both my 15m. trot circles and my stirrups were too long, haha.

So not even an hour to get ready for XC, I rushed to get studs in, keep warm, tack up. get time to warm up and maybe stuff some food in me. I barely eat during events...and after last summer...I can barely keep the nerves at bay.

I was almost sick with anxiety and I was killing myself for it. I have NEVER been anxious for XC. I always wanted to rip through it, hungry for higher fences and faster paces. Now, sadly, I shake at the thought of some of the fences I had to jump. Earlier that weekend I had texted Stacey about fence 3AB and my apprehension about it. I couldn't believe how anxious I was, real tears were dripping down my face....I was so conflicted inside...upset I was so nervous and couldn't contain it, upset I was upset, pissed I did this to myself. I was saddened to admit to myself I was scared. Scared of failing, scared of falling, scared of embaressing myself.

Yankee and the weather did not help. I was freezing (forecast was for upper 60s, not lower 40s and I was VERY ill prepared for the weather). My boy was a crazy fool and would not stop rearing, but was jumping well, which gave me a lil boost of confidence.

As I made my way to the start box, I mentally prepared myself for 5 minutes and 32 seconds of galloping and 27 fences total to tackle. I was wary of 3AB (weldons wall, 2 strides down a hill and up to a large rolltop) and fence 16, a MASSSSSSSSIVE table. I am pretty sure that was prelim height, it was huge, but I was ready. Nerves gone, I shook it. 

Yankee still wasn't calm, and would not walk straight at all. I hoped he would loosen up over the first few fences and settle into the pace. As the started counted down, I concentrated on keeping him in the box. 3...2...1...GO! I gave him the signal and he flew..WHOO boy did not expect that. He DRAGGED me over the first fence, a hanging log, but I was actually glad. He wasn't backing off the fences like he usually does. He settled into the gallop nicely and jumped fence two, big barrels really well.

Up the hill to fence 3AB and damn were there a ton of ppl there. UGH, great. Yankee hates spectators and spooks hard at them. I had to really sit and keep my leg on him to the A part of 3. He was not wavering or showing signs of stopping, so I breathed a sigh as I felt him lift off. Then, suddenly, I felt him jerk to the left and I saw the white flag rushing to meet me.

I thought to myself, "shit this is NOT happening. I'm dreaming, this is a dream, this isn't real" ( all within .02 secs). Then I hit the fence, HARD, rolled off onto the ground, cracked my head on something hard and saw Yankee's front foot about 1 inch from my face. LITERALLY, my life flashed before my eyes. It really does happen. The I saw him haul his massive body away from me and in a athletic twist, he managed to avoid me.

First thought that ran through my brain was...oh my god, I broke my back. I couldn't move or feel my legs. Inside, I was flipping out. SO many thoughts swimming through my head. Shame, agony, apprehension, anguish, fear, happiness, anger...then I saw the EMT running full tilt to me but all I could think about after the whirl of emotions was my horse...where is he? He actualy only ran 3 strides and came right back, but someone took a hold of him and led him away. The next thought was Brandon, I could only imagine he was freaking out once he heard over the intercom....all this happened in about 45 seconds by the way. Whirl of activity.. 

I was in a daze. Sobbing my eyes out in anger. NFW I just fell off my horse at fence effing three!!! three!? I've NEVER fallen off Yankee, let alone at a competition. Also, I still couldn't get up and I was terrified I broke my back. It hurt so bad, I didn't think there was a way I didn't break it.

The EMT's helped me up, asked me some questions, examined myself, my helmet and my vest (THANK god for those, or I might've really broken something or died) and deemed me 'healthy' enough to ride...

WTF, rider fall was Elimination right? I was really confused, the jump judge was asking me if I wanted to get back on and finish and I was so annoyed that she kept asking me, I was like, woman, I'm not allowed, don't you know the rules?? Plus I was still pissed at everything and in serious agony. I never did figure out if the rules changed or if she was just smoking something...

Brandon helped me get back on Yankee to walk me to the stable and it was the most painful of all things I have ever felt (and I've done quite a bit to myself). Not gonna lie I sobbed the entire way back. SO angry, hurt and sad. WHY?? WHY!

WE are better than this. SO much better, but last summer apparently engrained some psychotic fear into my brain that won't let me remember how good my horse and I are.

So, after some brooding and self hatred, I decided to drop to Novice at Queeny Park. I HATE myself for it, since I consider it a failure and the chickens way out, but I think I really need it. Also, I am going to begin taking lesson form Cheryl. I have been without a coach for 4 years, and I think it is time to have someone else there while I am riding.

I am still hating myself for failing so dismally., espechially after the final scores...I would have been second! First place had a 29 and second had a 49, I most likely would have beat that 49 even with a possible one rail in stadium.

I was only angry with Yankee for about 15 minutes...who starts to jump a fence then decides halfway over, no thanks? Apparently my beast does. I can't hate him though, after all his is my ponyface and only a horse. He seemed really sorry and I swear, he had an apologetic look on his face right after. Poor guy.

Yes, I still love you beast.

All I want is to be romping about and doing this again with confidence....


  1. I feel so bad for you. What rotten luck. Your dressage test looked very nice though.
    I love the pictures of you in the stall with Yankee. I'm sure things will get back on track. Sounds like oyu have a very good plan.

  2. So sorry :( Glad you are ok. Like Carol said I bet you two will be back on track in no time. I think getting a trainer for now is probably a good idea.

  3. Lessons always help me. Dropping down a division for a show is good, too. I'm finally comfortable over teeny tiny crossrails and starting to move up slowly. Take your time and get re-acquainted.

    Glad you're ok. That sounded painful.

  4. Wow that sucks. Sorry you fell and I'm so glad you are okay. That must have been so terrifying! No one thinks you are a failure. Everyone has bad days/rides/shows/falls. I think you are amazingly brave to do what you do. I get nervous to the point of being sick (about things far less stressful than showing) so I totally understand how they can take control of you and make it almost impossible to function. I haven't found a way of helping my anxiety yet but if I do I'll let you know lol. Sorry you had a bad day. At least it's over with, you and Yankee are uninjured and now you can focus on moving forward. I think going back to Novice is the smart move. You can't beat anxiety by pushing yourself too far. The lessons are a good idea too. Please don't hate yourself. This happens, even to big time professionals.

  5. I'm so sorry:( At least you guys are both OK. I went through I similar situation with Gatsby when I lost all of my confidence after my first fall off of him over a steeplechase fence at a Jimmy Wofford clinic. I am sure you guys will work this out and be back on track in no time! Lessons definitely seem like a smart idea and doing a Novice will probably make you feel more confident:)

  6. Novice is not the chicken way out my friend. It's the right thing to do.

  7. You will! First off, you may feel like crappy right now and that you are chickening out but please TRUST me, you are not! You are quite brave to be doing xc in the first place. Some of us chickens just dream about it and aren't actually brave enough to try it!! :) You will build confidence back up, just give yourself time.

  8. Aw, sucks. Novice is NOT chickening out! Check out COTH discussion board if you haven't already, a huge posting about how people have gotten eliminated. Falling off is just one of the many ways, apparently.