Sunday, August 28, 2011

Character building...

I have to say that I'm happy to put this weekend behind us. Life with horses is a constant learning process. I've come away from Richland with a PHd.

Coming up we have a jumper show on Tuesday and the AEC's in 2 weeks. Running Order and the Prodigy will be heading to Ga. Better things to come!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

XC day at Richland

Very much like dressage there was a lot to be happy about, but of course some stuff still to improve. Running Order jumped well as usual. We had one run out at the 6th fence a drop and brush to skinny combination. He jumped very well in, and I should have been there to support him more for the skinny. I don't think he saw it until it was too late. Although I hate saying it diminishing what happened today, there is always another day. I will be scrappier next time without a doubt.

The rest of the course was good overall. The first water was a big hanging long, 4 to a corn on a knoll then 4 to an angled brush. I jumped in strong and Running Order responded very well. The same was true with the sunken road and coffin.

I had a lucky moment at the corner table corner combination in the back. Next up was the second water. It was a similar set up to Millbrook. We covered the long 3 without an issue.

Overall today was very good. I'll make the most of the experience and look forward to tomorrow's SJ and the AEC's in a few weeks.

One quick note I wanted to add was in reference to Thursday's dressage report. After reading on EN I realized the post could have been interpreted that I was unhappy with the judging. This couldn't be further from the truth. Our score was not his best and I think the judging was accurate. The parts that made the test great for RO will not be reflected in the score yet. When I can keep him that consistent and add power he'll be unbeatable. That day is coming!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dressage day is complete at the Richland CIC***

The scoreboard today does not reflect the progress made today. I spent the last half hour watching my video from today.

Running Order was much improved in many ways. His halts are becoming consistently square and well balanced and in general the test flowed very well. The biggest improvement was in the consistency of the connection. He was more confident and steady than he's been before. I was thrilled that I was able to keep him from stiffening in the corners coming out to the shoulder in's. We did have one inadvertent change, surprisingly right to left. Otherwise the test could have had a lot more energy, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Jennie Brannigan and I were able to walk to xc with the course designer Ian Stark. It was great to hear his perspective. I like the course in that it will reward a forward ride, one I intend to execute.

Tomorrow will be a quiet day, we'll have a light flat school. Aside from riding we'll walk the course again and hopefully I'll get close to finishing the editing process of my book due to the publishers on the 1st.


Doug Payne
PO Box 179
Pottersville, NJ 07979

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Millbrook's SJ and a Change of Course

With time comes clarity, but before that lets cover today's results. Running Order jumped very well, the time spent at HITS last week really payed off. It was very funny, in warm up I wanted Jess to keep putting the jumps up. They just seemed insufficiently small. Usually this isn't a problem, but when she replied, "um...their already big enough." I wasn't quite sure she was telling the truth. Then she reminded me that we were jumping a few holes higher last week.

So long story short, he jumped a very good clear round. We were the third in the ring. Unsure of the time allowed, we finished with 1 time penalty. Not a bad result at all being that there were not very many clean rounds in the division. RO just seems to get better and better each day.

On that note, I also decided following this weekend that it would be a better choice for me and RO to pass on the USEF grant and withdraw from Blenheim. He and I are still too green to confidently go over to try to win. Looking down the road, I need to get him to a point where he can be very competitive at Rolex in the spring. If I did go to Blenheim, it would be his final run of 2011. By skipping it, I can have 2-3 more horse trials and Fair Hill CCI*** this fall. Our tentative schedule would be Richland, the AEC's, Morven and Fair Hill. Of the listed events, Richland CIC*** is the only course he's seen before. (Helmet Cam from 2010) This would allow us to see a number of new courses, and number of new questions. He will be a better horse in the end for the experience.

There is really no need to push such a talented horse, the last thing I want to see is for it to blow up in my face and have him lose confidence. The added bonus is that it also gives time to head to more jumper and dressage shows. So on to Richland Park!!


Today's show jumping video from Millbrook:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sat Millbrook - the Ups and Downs of Horses

The day started with Tribute's SJ. A little background, Tribute is one of the most exciting and talented horses I've ever had the opportunity to ride. He's 5 yrs old and didn't start eventing until this spring. He's going to be excellent in the future, but needs to grow into his 17.2 hand frame and figure out exactly where his legs are at all times!

Following last week at HITS and a few lessons with Anne Kursinski, I was feeling much better than events in the past heading into show jumping. A clean round is still a tall order, but I had a much better plan heading into the ring. Luckily, he had a great dressage test on Thursday, a clean round was not necessary to secure the win. We were up by 10 pts. He jumped very well, rubbed a few rails with only one falling. So with that we won by nearly 6 points. Pretty damn good way to start the day.

Running Order was next out. This was his last run before Blenheim. It was a fair but difficult advanced. There were a few tough combinations on the course. The one most concerning to me was the water. It was a one stride in then it walked 3.5 strides to a corner then 3 or 4 more out over a vertical. Drawing on past experiences at Pine Top this spring which had a very similar question, my first instinct was to go for the forward distance in the water. He has a huge stride, and can cover the distance without much trouble. In hindsight I should have stuck with it, and I'm kicking myself for not doing so today. After speaking with a number of riders, the prevailing opinion was to stick with the 4.

He started the course off well, a bit green at the first combination, but was jumping great! I got the exact distance and pace I planned for jumping into the water. He landed well, and upon photo examination, I was taking back starting the second stride until the corner as planned, but I got there in 3.5 strides. I can't tell you how frustrating it is, I should ride the horse I have and just keep my leg on. Without doubt he should be more adjustable, and will be in the future, but regardless I have to get to the jump with my leg on without pulling. Next time I'm going with my gut!! He finished up the course very well, and no worse for the wear other than my frustration. Experience is what you need just after you needed it...

Charm and Leo were next up in the novice show jumping. Just before hopping on Charm, I ran out to watch Jess' XC round. Trevor jumped around like a rock star, he's a great horse to watch. Not much phases him, and Jess does a great job staying out of his way.

Charm warmed up well for SJ and did not disappoint in the ring. He jumped clean to finish 2nd. This was very impressive following last weeks win being that he hadn't been at an event in a year and just showed up at the barn from Cindy Strate's Vt farm 2 weeks ago.

Leo, owned by Kristin Michaloski, was last to go today. He had one rail, but overall jumped great. I couldn't be happier with him, he's going to be something special in the future. He finished up in 7th.

Tomorrow is RO's SJ, I'm looking forward to putting together what I learned last week at HITS.

Back again soon,