Posted by: shannonc | January 2, 2010

Pony’s Year in Review

This post should have come before Resolutions, probably, but the end of the year here was complete chaos.  At Thanksgiving it was determined that we’d have family Christmas at our house, a place which, if you’re putting it kindly, you might describe as mid-renovation.  We decided to finish two more rooms before the big day, and…yeah.  Really overambitious idea. 

My boss used to call me a 7:59er – never late, but very reliably last-minute.  Well, in this case I am late!  But not getting corporate demerits for it ;)

From groundwork at home to riding with international caliber clinicians, from sticks on the ground two-phases to recognized BN events, this is a pony with a good story to tell about 2009.

Scene at my first-ever jumping lesson with the pony, at the same location that found him completely beside himself almost a year before, unable to jump anything, unable to leave the warmup area, the day I discovered I owned him no less:

Instructor:  “You don’t want to sell this pony.”

Me:  “With all due respect to ponies in general and this one in particular, I’m kind of too big for him, don’t you think?  And, well, I’m really more of a TB type…and I’d like to get back to Prelim…”

And so began the six month journey that started with those sticks on the ground, and ended with a new member of the family. 

His TOC:

  • April 19, Groton Pony Club 2-phase, Starter level (walk-trot test and very tiny xrails).  Still with the furry winter coat.  He gets loose while I’m trying to tack up, then nearly dumps me when someone pops out of the porta potty and the door slams as we’re passing by.  We proceed to shock ourselves (and everyone who knows us) silly by scoring a 22.5 in dressage.  I am nervous beyond all proportion for six-inch crossrails, but we get away with one buck and a reprimand for too-long rein excess, winning the division by a slew of points and causing me to resolve to buy pony reins…or at least tie a knot at the end of the ones he’s borrowing from Blue.

 

  • May 17, Groton Pony Club 3-phase.  We stick with the Starter division, but add little 12″ xc jumps.  He is still skittish, but is getting better.  We don’t add any penalties to our 36.0 in D and the pony brings home another blue ribbon.  I figure I owe the Groton Pony Club some serious volunteering time.

 

  • June 13, Hitching Post Farm Starter HT, Grasshopper division (18″).  His first overnight away from home and our first D test with a canter in it (BN B).  We arrive at dusk and I walk the first 8 or so fences of BN xc with my eyes popping out and making short work of two Sam Adamses before I realize the Grasshopper start box is in its own space.  Pony is very good in a stall overnight and remarkably well behaved in the super busy warmup and spooky hike down to the D rings.  I make an error in our test (glad BN B is going away with its long stretches of following the letters along the rail!) and am generally unhappy with the test but pleased with him overall.  We earn a 39.5 which ties us for 7th in a field of 14.  HPF marks the first (not the only) event we directly follow Anna Loschiavo and her beautiful horse The Fresh Prince, who are a total pleasure to watch and win the dressage every time we meet.  Cross country decimates our division with fully half eliminated, retired or earning penalties at the first fence.  We pick up 20 there and have a stop at the last fence in sj too, but still finish 7th.  Lol.  This was the first time he saw water on course and he was fantastic.

 

  • June 21, Groton House Farm Summer Classic, Elementary.  Our first 2’3″!  I put a hole in the trailer pulling in, after a jack-knife slide in the mud.  I’m so shaken I almost don’t get on at all.  We redeem ourselves in dressage with a nice, soggy, soft test that earns a 32, tying us for 5th in a field of 23, then I proceed to eliminate us in sj by going off course at the last fence.  We’re allowed to run xc and he’s clear (if reluctant in places).  I should be kicking myself when it’s over, and I am, but barely, because I’m so thrilled with the pony.

 

  • July 5, GMHA Starter HT, Elementary.  The highlight of this event was visiting with Sarah.  The rain created a D ring with pond-like puddles and restricted us to the all-footing arena for xc, so it’s sj part 2 with logs.  I cannot get him off my hand for D and we earn a 41.6.  My season so far is a dressage yo-yo.  In sj he tries to stop at the third fence, I stuff him, he goes up off all four feet at once and I lose a stirrup and jam him in the mouth.  I pull up on the turn, get my foot back in, and continue.  In the ugly ways of two-foot fences, we’re clear anyhow.  Xc goes well.  We finish 5th.  I am just glad I’ve broken the error/TE streak.  I also note that the pony didn’t hold that really bad fence against me, for which I’m pretty grateful!

 

  • August 2, Apple Knoll Farm Starter Trials, Elementary.  The pony’s first event under his new show name:  Kiss This!  D is over an hour behind and when we finally get in Rick Pearson slaughters us with a 43.2 in what I think (even after watching the video) is not that poor a test.  Sj is the most tricked-out set of fences he’s ever seen, but he doesn’t even peek!  Xc is tiny, but with space, and is good practice going for a romp on the terrain and dealing with course walkers and jump judges, whom he still ogles.  We finish double clear and in 8th – pretty much the middle.  It’s at this event that I decide he’s ready to move up.

 

  • Sept 12, King Oak Farm USEA HT, Beginner Novice.  His first recognized HT and his first BN!  He puts in a D test that actually makes me beam at the end and we get a 37.9 from Mary Savidge which ties us for 2nd.  I didn’t see many of the other tests but I’m pretty shocked (and thrilled!).  Stadium is difficult with slippery footing and most of the trips are at least a little ugly, ours included.  He’s clear though and in the time, in spite of our doing quite a bit of trotting.  Xc is a complete blast – he actually gallops!  I learn that the smack-on-the-shoulder is an effective way to get the pony to remain in a forward gear.  Unfortunately we do pick up 20, but it’s a running-out-of-gas stop and not a resistance stop, which I could have prevented by either (a) riding better or (b) stuffing him – I wasn’t quick enough for (a) and didn’t think the right thing was to punish him with (b) at a max uphill coop when I didn’t bring him in very well.  We drop to 9th and I’m disappointed in myself but thrilled with him.  We actually make the time!  At this event I decide the pony is way too much fun to sell.

 

  • Sept 27, Groton House Farm Fall Classic, Beginner Novice.  Another event from which we emerge wrinkled and soggy.  One thing I learned about the pony this season is that he’s surefooted – something else for which I’m grateful, although I didn’t need quite so many iterations to believe it.  We put in a tense test and earn a 38.5 – 11th of 14.  I manage to stay on course in sj this time around and get to run xc for real.  I love the course – it’s long and challenging.  He takes me to a ditch for the first time, and jumps some very funny looking stuff.  We move up to 5th and I’m extra proud of the pony for being double clear at an event with jump phases that mix things up.  We’re done for the season, but I’m already excited for next year.

Pony's 2009 trailer decorations

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Responses

  1. Ummm – what about that pink ribbon in the middle with the fold-marks in it – it doesn’t get billing? ;)

  2. Haha! I didn’t bill anything outside events – like the 2’6″ classes we did at Coursebrook before KO. But since you mention it, the foldy ribbon, for the record, is from the wonderful Myopia Pace, and I attribute it to my teammates!

  3. What a fantastic year. I am a sucker for huge progress stories :)

    Can’t wait to see what you guys get done this year.

  4. Wonderful accomplishments – jolly great job, Shannon and Kiss That!


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