Monday, July 18, 2016

Horse Park of New Jersey Horse Trials 1

Klein baby through The Jersey Shore water complex.

Two weeks ago Klein and I competed at the Horse Park of New Jersey Horse Trials 1.  

This was the first time we had been to the Horse Park of New Jersey and I really liked it.  We had a great time!  

Klein warmed up for dressage a little behind my leg.  I purposely rode without my whip again and I think next time I will atleast warm up with it if not just ride with it.  I feel like we needed a bit more time to warm up but the guy that was managing the warm up was a little confusing on if we were actually next or two rides out so I decided to just go over to the arena because I'm too worried about being late to a ride, plus, it's not like Klein was being unruly or anything.  I would have just liked a couple more minutes to sharpen her up a little bit.  

Our ring was in the indoor.  The Other Half took video but the he was a little ways away and I couldn't get any crisp stills from it, and it seems to be a trend at the horse trials on the east coast to not have a photographer for dressage.  We have had one photographer at one horse trial this year at the dressage ring (which happens to be my favorite show photographer ever too).  

Klein felt a little behind my leg still when we went in and I expected some comments about our impulsion but overall, she was still great.  She was quick to the aids for transitions so I guess it's not fair to say she was completely behind my leg.  She did drift her haunches to the right down the centerline on our final turn again.  That's twice she's done that this year, and only at shows so I'm not sure what that's all about, but I'll be ready for it next time.  She NEVER does that at home.  It's been at two different venues, one in an outdoor and one in an indoor, so it's nothing in the environment, I must be giving and aid I'm not aware of.  I thought it was a complete fluke the one time it happened but now that it happened again, I'll be ready next time!  Other than that I felt like we had a solid test, and we did, we scored a 32.30.

Stadium was next up. We had a first that day for stadium, our instructor was there to warm us up.  I have never had any one warm me up at a show, ever, in my life.  It was nice to hear a pro's strategy for warm up and what she saw.  We had an awesome warm up.  Klein was jumping nicely and ready to go.  

I was warned that the ring that stadium was in was a little tight, hint hint pay extra attention to your turns.  Well, that kind of went out the window right at fence number one.  I should have started Klein cantering before I did.  I really didn't give her much notice to the first fence.  I gave her a crappy approach and we took a rail.  Everyone was taking number three, and so did we because we weren't as straight as we should have been over it.  So, that was a little irritating, but I will say that this was without a doubt our best stadium round to date.  Klein's pace was much improved thanks to our instructor.  If I would have started her correctly for our approach to the first fence, we wouldn't have taken any.  Next time, there won't be.  Let's look at the difference in Klein's stadium canter over the span of a week again:

June 26th.

...and seven days later on July 3rd.  THIS is how she should be going in stadium.  I have let her kind of slack off a bit lately, um, not anymore.

Let's take a look at that canter in action, this is fences 7-10:

See why we had no problems after we got moving with THAT canter??  So, while two rails were costly for us, I am so, so happy with the improvement we made in her canter.

Yep, there's that canter again.

Our xc time was about 20 minutes after stadium so we headed right over to the warm up for xc.  You can't see any xc jumps from stadium.  There is a little path you walk to get to xc and when we were on that path and the xc jumps came into view, Klein's ears IMMEDIATELY pricked forward.  She saw the playground, and she knew exactly what we were about to go do.

Our instructor warmed us up over the xc warm up fences too.  Klein doesn't take much for warm up.  First, she just was in stadium, but she also just loves xc.  I had walked the course twice and was excited for it too.  It looked like a really fun course.

Walking in behind Sinead and Tate after their OI xc run, they won the OI that day.

Also walking back from our course walk we ran into Boyd Martin and Sally Cousins on their way to the start box.

I really enjoyed this xc course.  It had a little bit of everything.  There was rolling terrain, woods to go in and out of, combinations, a ditch, two water complexes, a bank, and a drop.  Klein approved too.

Here's the xc course walk:

I almost forgot to turn my GoPro on!  I remembered it right before we jumped the first fence.  Here's the video:

A friend that was there also took some video of us (thank you again!).  You'll see Klein come over 14 in an odd way.  It's like she was just looking at it as another canter pole and took a gallop stride over it.  It's pretty funny actually.  It was a pretty small jump, you'll see in the course walk that it was shared with BN.  Even with that weird stride, she went on like she planned it that way and never missed a beat!

My girl was nothing short of amazing on that xc run.  I would say that is our best xc run to date.

Klein baby having a blast doing what she does out on the xc course!

Approaching The Jersey Shore water complex.

Through the second water.

Locked on to the bank.

Off the drop.

We still very much have our sights set on moving up to Training once we get this stadium issue ironed out a little more.  Funny thing is, Klein jumps better at 3'3" but I feel like we need to instill a little more respect for 3' in her and make sure to keep our pace MOVING and not slack off again.  I don't think it will be an issue.

With moving up in mind, my instructor told me she'd like to see us going a little faster than we need to be rather than coming home right at the optimum time.  That was no problem.  Klein felt great all through the course.  She could have ran the whole thing again.  We came in about 20 seconds under optimum time.  I could have had her run it a little quicker but I wasn't sure what the speed fault time was.

It's always a great feeling to go double clear on a course neither of you had ever seen before.  What makes it even better is when your horse is out there in full on attack mode galloping straight to everything without and second thought or hesitation.  

Those two rails cost us a second place spot.  We finished 6th out of 16, but rails are easy fixes and I'm excited to make some more improvements and be ready for the next one!


  1. That course looks like a lot of fun. Congrats on doing so well.

  2. Wow, that change in Klein's canter is amazing! And so quickly too!!