The End is Near!!!

The end of show season is definitely upon us, and it makes me and Coco very sad. :(

Sorry I haven't updated in a while! Life has been crazy busy! So, I'll just give the reader's digest version of our 3 most recent shows: Dunnabeck Horse Trials in Carbondale, Illinois, the William Woods Jumper Derby, and the Fun Show at Sunny Oaks.

Dunnabeck was an incredible horse show! We both had a great time! Dressage went fine, although the fact that the ring was lined with huge horse-eating letters made it difficult to stay on the rail and pay attention to the test. It wasn't our best dressage score ever, but not our worst, either- 45.7. The cross country course was FUN!!! Very inviting, but some challenging hills and interesting-looking jumps. Lots of weird turns to get from one thing to the next, so I kind of felt like I had to be extremely sure that I knew the course, but it ended up riding pretty well. We ended up going double clear in cross country, and at the end, Amanda said that Coco was telling her that he wants to do Novice next year! The stadium course was tricky, lots of weird shadows and intersting jumps for the ponies to look at. It was one of those courses that you walk and it seems straightforward and then it's more challenging than you expected to ride. By the time we got to stadium, Mr. Coco was markedly tired. We ended up pulling 2 rails, just because he was looking at the jumps and decided to jump them sideways. A final score of 53.7 put us in 7th place! :) Not too shabby!!! It was awesome to show with Amity Farms again for this event. Everyone there is so helpful and nice! I really think that Amity is the eventing version of CEC, so I feel right at home when I'm with them.

Best birthday present a girl could ask for!!! We showed in the low hunters (2'6") and my horse was actually acting like he knew what he was doing in the hunter ring. It was incredible, he had a nice stride, didn't look at any of the jumps, and was actually controllable for once in a long time! He looked great in the undersaddle class too. Hunters frustrates me SOOO much, though, because despite the fact that my horse was awesome, we still got shafted, getting 4th and 5th in the 2 over fences classes and 6th on the flat, probably because he's a saddlebred. Whatever. We still had jumpers to prove ourselves. We entered in the low jumper training speed class and the low jumper derby. Coco was a rock star, having a total blast during the speed class. We had a little trouble with the roll back to the combination, but he pulled through and I just let him do his thing. We took the fast route to the bank and he was perfect! We ended up 2nd in the class of 20 horse/rider combinations. No judges to say that we aren't cut out for jumping in that class! Then we went in the derby, which used every jump available. Coco knocked a rail, of a jump that was in the same place as the jump we knocked a rail on last year, so we didn't make it into the jump-off, but he had a blast!!! I was very, very happy with him. I think this show was great to show the people of Mid-MO that my saddlebred is a phenomenal jumper! Some people were upset by our finish in the speed class, but there's no way to despute that, it's all time. That's why we love jumpers!

The show started at 9:30am, and our barn alone had 10 people showing in the crossrails and 18" class, so the day went by extremely slowly! We were entered in the 2'6", 2'9", and 3' jumpers. Coco spent the day napping next to Storm, another horse we had tied to the trailer with him. We finally started riding at about 4pm. The first jumping class went well! Coco refused a plank jump that had polka dots on it, but got over it and left every other jump up. Everyone in the class had 4 penalties, though, so we were able to do the jump-off. We would have been first if we hadn't let Grace do the whole thing from the beginning, so we ended up 2nd. We were 5th in the one flat class we did- more proof of the saddlebred curse, because he looked awesome! We're really starting to get the whole dressage/framing up thing down! The 2'9" class was fine. We knocked a rail, but ended up 2nd still. Going into the 3rd class, which was supposed to be 3' jumpers, one of the girls suggested that we make it higher than that, so they did- I was nervous! The course was basically all roll backs, and the only show where we've done higher than 3' was William Woods last weekend. Plus, Coco was increasingly anticipating the turns, because he's too darn smart for his own good. Going into the line, he dropped his shoulder in an attempt to prepare for the upcoming turn, and in attempting to hold him up with my right leg, I lost my left stirrup. I almost regained my balance between the line, then saw the second jump and knew this could only end badly. He took the second jump and immediately dropped his shoulder to the right to make the really sharp roll back to the next jump and I just slid off his left shoulder because I couldn't go with him. He stepped on my right forearm, but no damage other than that. I got back on and we did the line, making him go STRAIGHT after, and then we were done. I think that's the first time I've fallen off Coco in competition...? Almost 2 years without a competition fall... I'll take it! :)

We don't really have any shows in the near future, so the plan is to give Coco some time off from training. We're going to get back to the basics: riding bareback in the pasture, lunging with side reins, and working on my position. He doesn't need to work hard. He's had a great show season and I couldn't be happier with him. I don't know what I've done to deserve such an incredible horse, but I love him to death and I think we both just need to stop worrying about winning and start loving each other again.

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