Posted by: shannonc | June 21, 2009

It’s a proud day to be a pony

Groton House Farm Classic, Elementary – 2’3″ (our first!)

Yeah, so we are going to dispense with the not so happy stuff, like how there’s a hole in my trailer now and how we managed to go double clear and still earn an E.  Because the pony doesn’t know any of that.  The pony thinks he’s spectacular!  I think the pony is pretty great right now too, and that’s what I want to remember when I look back on this event.

That, and the unflagging support of everyone who cheered for us today.  Especially my husband, who got wet holding the pony, helping me, and filling the role of A/V expert.  I can’t imagine what a difficult day this would have been to pull off alone!

Pony does not care about rain or naughty horses in D warmup!

Pony does not care about rain or naughty horses in D warmup!

Rain, rain, more rain, and I do know the pony will go in the rain, but I wasn’t too sure about whether he would worry about his footing out on the grass and hills.  He didn’t.  He said, leave this to me, and I said, done.  And then I cantered early in my D warmup and free walked and tried to do everything I could think of to get him to relax in his back.  Nothing was very effective, and he was zoom zooming on me in the trot every time he got straight in his jaw and neck, but he was reasonably uphill and softer than usual most of the time.  Pony did not want to go by the judge’s booth, but let himself be sweet talked and nudged to the other side.  The test had its good and not so good moments, including one where I think he’s not going to make the corner and yank on his face in a panic (what the judge said:  “falls L toward M” – and what the scribe missed: “nearly trips over chain”), but both of us did a much better job than last week.  We earned a 32 and it tied us for 5th in a group of 22.  I was quite surprised.   My test said “lovely pair with soft connection and harmony.”  Soft?  Harmony?  Maybe they mixed up the tests…

Some pix from Alyssa (thank you!):

I love his face here!

I love his face here!

I am thinking, "your elbows belong to you.  Sit on your outside seat bone.  Your elbows belong to you..."

I am thinking, "your elbows belong to you. Sit on your outside seat bone. Your elbows belong to you..." It looks painful still but I do like him in the photo!

I just know there is a topline in there, dying to come out!

I just know there is a topline in there, dying to come out!

Kisses D GHF Classic – BN test A

Sarah yelled at me for wearing my plastic helmet cover in the rain.  I think she and Hil are going to band together and form the Shannon eventing fashion police.  I suspect they will not want for work.

wet but happy after D

wet but happy after D

Show jumping was a course of rails only, decorated with flowers.  I trotted the xrail in warmup and only cantered jumps after that.  This is a schooling show, I’m here to figure out if the cantering works better, I will figure nothing out if I try nothing.  The pony said he trusts his feet, so I wanted to keep my own balance and trust that I could kick and get him off my leg.  Notable stadium warmup occurrence:  Pony slipped in front of the oxer.  He still went, I let my reins out and gave him a big pat afterwards.  Meredith told me to bring him to something else before he had too long to think about that, so I sat down and cantered the vertical again.  He attacked it!  She told me afterwards that his response was to be mad.  Not worried, mad.  Imagine, my pony – mad that he slipped!  Not sure if he was mad at the ground, mad at the fence or what, but I liked it!  Pony confidence!

Gotta fix this keeper.  Actually, I need to reorganize the entire figure 8.

Gotta fix this keeper. Actually, I need to reorganize the entire figure 8.

Pony had a fairly major spook on his way through the ingate, I lost my reins, patted the pony, picked them up and saluted.  I know, don’t pat for a spook, but in this case I felt I had to.  And he got his head right back on, no distress.  The whistle sounded and we had a decent trip – mostly cantering.  He did get too quick and strung out in places, but responded really well to my sitting on him to get him back together.  I needed to do a bit more of it than I did, but this is the first time I really noted his good response, so it’s a start.  We had a couple nice fences, a couple lousy distances and I then proceeded to jump the wrong last fence and earned us a TE.  I have been eventing for however many years and know damn well that THE RED FLAG GOES ON THE RIGHT so I have no excuse for jumping a backwards oxer, but I can’t fix it now so I think I’m just going to be happy that the pony who would not consider jumping a 2’3″ oxer in the correct direction a few months ago did not stand me on my head for my poor piloting and then nose me on the ground saying, MOM.  WTF.  THAT WAS BACKASSWARDS!

Fence 6 I think.  Thanks for the pic Natalia!

Fence 6 I think. Thanks for the pic Natalia!

Praise Groton House, they very kindly decreed that I was not dangerous and allowed me to go out xc.  The course was nice, tons of space, inviting, well built, good questions.  I was a little worried about a couple of quite narrow faces, and just the variety of things for the pony to look at.  He was very good!  Sticky to a couple, but I kept kicking and he definitely understood he was going over, even if he stood still first.  Whereas we mostly cantered in stadium, here we mostly ended up trotting, but we did have one or two fences where we cantered in and he dropped to trot to check things out, rather than me asking for trot so he can check things out whether he likes it or not.  This was a first, and really helped because when it happens that way, it’s easier for me to keep the hind feet coming.

First two fences of xc

It felt a little disorganized at times and I think I still need more engine – more let him get going.  I think I’ll get better at this as I get better at adjusting him.  We beat our first fenceitis from last week and we made it around with no spooks and no arguments.  Pony said “really? are you sure?” a few times, but nowhere did he say, “you must be kidding me!”  And the best part, over the second to last fence we heard cheers!!  Pony looked for his fences.  He also looked AT his fences.  We will be doing more 2’3″.

Coming home from xc

Coming home from xc

But when he came off course, he was a pretty darn happy pony.  I think he is getting the job and I think he is liking it.  He gains confidence each time out and so far, each time we get a little better.  Today we both had a lot of fun!



  1. Lovely writing as always. I’m not sure fence judges are supposed to cheer competitors… But I’m noit sure riders are supposed to wave on course and I did that too! :P My memory is a little fuzzy, but I’m not sure the SJ fences were flagged. I think it was just the numbers. You certainly looked wonderful to us all day.

  2. There were flags on top of the standards, but thanks for trying to help me out ;)

    I’m not sure the actual fence judge was cheering, but I definitely heard your daughter! It was so much fun!

  3. Good job Shannon and Kisses!

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