Date written: 28.01.2016
January 24th 2016, the day was finally here. The day of my first show on Santo, the day I had to prove that I am made for this.
The day I had signed up for 1m and 1.10m- kind of forgetting that the last time I actually competed this height was a horrific day in 2014 where I fell off in both classes. The day I had signed up for these classes on a horse I had owned for 2 months, jumped about 10 times. I've always been known for taking chances, but when this day came I was not nervous or scared. I was ready.
I woke up at 6, made Santo ready for the transport. We loaded him in the dark, and drove off to the show. After 1 hour and 30 minutes on the road, we arrived to the show facility I used to know pretty well, but this time it was actually over a year since I last put my foot there.
We were not in a hurry, and did everything that had to be done. Showed his passport, unloaded him, tacked him up, and before I knew it I sat in the saddle. Since he can be a bit spooky I trotted him a bit around the warm up before I walked the course.
I chosed to not get help from any trainer as that's out of my budget at the moment, so I was on my own here. The course looked nice, not very tricky, just a plain two phase jumper course with the height set at 1m.
I started warming up, started jumping 9 people before me, and with a very nice and down to earth horse we got some nice jumps and I felt ready for our first round as we were called into the arena.
After my dad had to pull a bit unwilling horse into the big indoor, we got in and before I knew it the bell rang and off we went towards fence one. We hit a nice distance, cleared the jump and continued around to the next fence. Well, we didn't continue as Santo spot the gate and a horse going out. That caused him to pull towards the gate, rearing while I fought to get him forward to we could continue. After what felt like forever I convinced him to go on, and we finished over the 9 fences in the first round clear. He was super nice and I felt like I rode him well- we hit the distances and worked together. Sadly, because of his little phase in the corner, we finished with 4 faults but I was over the moon. So far so good!
Next up was the 1.10m class. This was a speed class (= one round on time) so I had no intentions of aiming for a rosette as it was a strong 32 horse field. But, the course was fine and soon enough I sat back on my horse, repeating the warm up I had done earlier. As one of the last people we were called in and entered the arena a little bit smoother this time. We were off to a good start with a nice pace, flew over the first oxer, and continued around to fence 2, a vertical. I went a bit passive which caused him to knock the top rail, but that was forgotten as fast as it happened. We flew over all of the oxers, verticals and nailed the lines and related distances. 8 a-b, the combination was the second last fence and with a good distance to both fences I contiuned forward and over the last oxer. We crossed the finish line with 4 faults and I couldn't have been more happy.
If you look at it that way, two 4 faults round isn't THAT brilliant. But for me, it was the conformation I needed to feel. A proof that I can do this, that I'm not a useless rider. A proof that I made the right choice with going to Germnay and trusting my trainer when he found Santo. A proof that you don't need to be rich or board at a top facility. A proof that it's still in me- it's been some incredibly hard years since 2014 when I had all of the accidents on my youngsters and lost complete faith. I've been so anxious, scared and I have lacked confidence to the extreme. There were times where I felt so useless, I never thought I would compete again. In 2015 I did 2 shows, 2 shows. The heights were 70, 80 and 90 cm. Now in 2016, I'm finally back where I belong, aiming for the bigger classes.
And of course, I owe a big thank you to my horse. He's given me so much confidence and he helped me to regain faith. Thank you Santo, for giving this year a cracking start. I am so beyond happy to be back in the show arena.
For the first time, I made a show vlog/behind the scenes video. If you want to skip to the riding, it starts at 03.00 and includes full raw footage from both rounds.
Date written: 12.01.2016
They say riding is a bit like biking. When you know how to, it will always come naturally. I kind of agree, but now that it's been 2 months since last time I jumped, I felt like a complete beginner looking at the fences, and feeling my braincells fly away to a warmer place.
The place I'm taking lessons at have a beautiful, big, light indoor arena that was lovely to ride in. I started normally with warming up, walk, trot, canter, transitions, and so on. Santo felt fabolous, doing his best, listening to my aids.
After we had warmed up for a good 30 minutes, the trainer arrived and we started jumping. Approaching the little crosspole with a ground pole in front, I really thought to myself if it was possible to forget how to jump a horse? Well, after a few jumps I certainly felt like I was back where I belonged, but as the fences got raised and the course got more technical, it was more than once I found myself sending my horse off to an impossible stride, closing my eyes thinking "Jesus, take the reins"...
Santo though, did his job like the gentleman he is and tried his best to jump, even when I told him to do completely unrational things sometimes. I circled, stopped him, and tried to remember what to do, to regain the feeling of riding through a course of jumps!
Eventually I got more and more back into it, and as my riding improved and my braincells came back from their vacation, it went better and better.
As you can see in the videos, we jumped a course- but before that we practised the lines. Vertical- oxer on a broken line, vertical-vertical on a curved line, vertical-oxer and oxer-vertical on a straight line and so on.
Despite my faults, Santo carried me through the exercises and courses and really built my confidence like he have done since the day that I met him.
We had to drive a total of about 2hrs and 30 minutes, so a big thank you to my dad who drove, videoed and helped me out. Though, it feels unbelivably great to be back doing what I love the most.
In my lesson I wore my awesome GhoDho breeches, you can visit their website here. and use the code "therese16" at checkour for a $10 discount
See the video here:
Date written: 10.01.2016
2016 rolled in as quickly as 2015 were gone with the wind, bom, fireworks and we entered a new year.
And I've been lucky enough to step into this new year with my awesome black partner in crime, Santo. Due to my health and bad weather (no indoor arena) the training we managed to get done the last month of 2015, was limited. Thankfully, as the new year came, the cold weather also came- which means we could ride in the big fields around the stable. Not ideal, but a lot better than just bridle paths when it comes to riding dressage/flatwork.
I've tried to bring Santo back into a consistent schedule gradually, to improve his muscles, stamina and condition and so far, so good. He's been a dream to ride every day of 2016, even though we're not that far into it..
He's like a dressage horse on the flat, willing, floaty and he's using his whole body in such a good way. He really is a very pleasurable horse to ride, he doesn't give it for free, but when you ask in the right way, you recieve exactly what you asked for and a little more.
Thanks to my dad I got some great video clips from a little "dressage" ride January 8th, and some gorgeous photos from another ride January 9th. Here you go, take a look and see what we've been up to so far!