Thursday, August 30, 2012

Richland Recap

Well, I have to say I'm very pleased with my little girl. Unfortunately our final score can not tell you how good and brave she was!! Richland was very big, with lots of "atmoshpere" and stuff to spook at, but Zahra soldiered on. She got a little sick of the show grounds by Sunday (read: breaking everything she could drag into her stall), but was absolutely the happiest horse alive rocking around the cross country! I went back to watch our helmet cam, and her ears were pricked forward the entire round... even locking onto a few Training, Intermediate, and Advanced jumps!! She definitely feels like she has what it takes. Of course, I did say "our score can't tell you how good she was" so it was no rose garden... ;-)

Zahra's still very green, so we had plenty of "green moments" such as:
-leaving the dressage ring twice during the Young Event Horse Test (this was my fault... I warmed her up too long)
-leaving the show jumping ring twice during the Young Event Horse Test (that was her fault)
She scored REALLY WELL in confirmation--basically the only phase she couldn't be naughty in!! And the comments from the other phases I think accurately represented where she's at in her training-- a bit downhill in her balance, and a bit naughty! She has a bit more growing to do, both physically and emotionally.

So, learning from what happened during the YEH, during the actual show I 
-cut off the last third of the dressage ring to make sure she stayed in. The judge was either kind or didn't really notice. She gave me a 6 for "falling in."
-bought a bit burr to use in show jumping. It kept her in the ring, but backed her off of the jumps, so she had one rail, and I decided I wouldn't use it for cross country.
-so she started to do her mad dash to the left about 8 strides before the second water complex. It wasn't ACTUALLY fence related, and I think she *might* have made it between the flags, albeit on her face (there was a tiny step down into the water that I don't think she would have seen if we went full tilt)... but regardless, I circled, and it was so close that they gave me a stop. 

Moving forward, we need to practice some more with the bit burr so she gets used to it and we can move on with our training (without it!). I see it as only a temporary tool to fix a very temporary problem. 

Onwards and upwards, can't wait for Otter Creek! Photos coming soon!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Good Beat and Easy to [Ride] to.

Whenever I think I can safely get away with it, I like to listen to some music while I ride. Usually its a single ear bud, so that I can somewhat be aware of the outside world, but sometimes I'm pro-active enough to plug into the stereo. I have five playlists that I maintain, updating them constantly, both with the latest and greatest, and by reaching back into the annals of history, whether it was my own childhood (yeah 90s!!) or further back, into the 1960s, when the Gods of Rock n Roll walked the earth. So, here's a little sampler of my personal favorite artists for each possibile situation, plus one song that I feel really epitomizes what I like in each playlist. Now you know what I'm rocking out to when I ride past with my ear bud in! I hope you enjoy, and PLEASE leave feedback of a song or musician I should check out!! I'm always looking for more!!

What I look for in a dressage song is a steady tempo that never gets hectic. It doesn't need to be "relaxing"-- I want it to energize me, without distracting me.
(c) Xpress Foto

Arcade Fire
Bob Dylan
The Civil Wars
The Decemberists
Mumford & Sons
Nickel Creek
Phantom Planet
Pink Martini
They Might Be Giants

My favorite song of this playlist easily goes to Zorbing, by Stornaway.

Cross Country:
Cross country music and trot set music could be considered very similar, but cross country music needs that extra little something to inspire boldness. Yes its up tempo, yes its a lot of pop, but its also FIERCE. It has that certain something that allows you to throw your heart over the jump and know that your horse will follow.

(c) Xpress Foto
Alex Clare
Black Keys
Daft Punk
Fatboy Slim
Gogol Bordello
Lady Gaga
Led Zeppelin
Less Than Jake
Rage Against the Machine
Streetlight Manifesto

My favorite song in this playlist TODAY is Elements and Things, by Tony Joe White, but historically Ready Steady Go by Oakenfold has been my go-to XC jam.

Show Jumping:
Show jumping is all up tempo, all upbeat, and nothing frantic! Just like the phase itself, the playlist combines elements of dressage and cross country. I especially like songs with a really steady but pronounced base line to help me remember not to quit riding my tempo!

Across the Universe Soundtrack
(c) Xpress Foto
Chicago Soundtrack
The Clash
The Doors
Jimi Hendrix
Minus the Bear
Modest Mouse
Moulin Rouge Soundtrack
No Doubt
Reel Big Fish
White Stripes

Picking a clear favorite for this playlist is probably the hardest!! I love all of these songs so much, and this is the playlist I'll put on when I just need a good pick me up, so it sees a lot of use! For today, I'll go with Shake it Out by Manchester Orchestra.

Trot Set:
Trot sets are what eventers use to get their horses in shape for the rigors of cross country. The length and intensity of these rides depend on a number of factors, chiefly level of competition, level of fitness, and age. But no matter what the regimen for the day is, you're going to be doing a lot of two-point work (where you hold yourself up out of the saddle, off of the horses back). So quads, calves and core!! This music has to be almost like cross country in its get up and go to keep you out of the saddle when you start to feel the burn, but doesn't need quite the same level of intensity. Up beat trance music works well here, so you can be in the zone but let your mind wander...

David Bowie
The Dead Weather
(c) ShortHorse Studios
Dropkick Murphey's
Rolling Stones
Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Currently, I love Rhino Jockey, by Amon Tobin. You can't help but dig down deep and push a little harder when you hear that song!

Trail Ride:
(c) O'Shea Eventing
Pretty simple. Low key, relaxing, beautiful, happy music. I like to throw in a few down tempo songs as well in case I'm feeling introspective, but mostly, you could listen to these songs with an iced tea on the porch in summer time, or while you wander through the woods with a pup and a pon.

Alison Krause
The Head and the Heart
Jack Johnson
The Lumineers
Michael Franti
Motorcycle Diaries Soundtrack
Rodrigo y Gabriella
The Wallflowers

Long Time Traveller by the Wailin' Jennys is the winner of this playlist!