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Thursday, 26 January 2017

If You Were Me...


One of my 2017 goals is to compete in at least one horse trial this year.  As I've mentioned before... this goal is like the groundhog goal of my life.  But I will keep putting it on my list every damn year until I get it done. 


My current problem is that I can’t decide which horse I should aim to complete this goal with.  So many horses, woe is me. :P    As someone who didn’t have a horse to ride for quite a while (because baby horses and lame Apollo) I’m sort of enjoying it!




Horse fam a long time ago





I’m going to do a little pro/con list for each horse and would love some opinions and feedback from blogland!


Apollo



Pros for being the chosen one:
- I know him the best
- It’s always been my dream to do an event with him
- This is sort of a Debbie Downer to be in the “pro” category but he’s 18 and may not have that many years of competition left in his big body, so it might be good to do some competitions while he's still feeling spry
Cons for being the chosen one:
-          There is a track record of him being lame before most things I plan for us
-          He can be quite spicy outdoors, and is probably the hottest horse in my little herd (everyone assumes he’s an old plug because he’s a teenaged draft cross but he is like a Clydesdale stick of dynamite)
-          I feel like it would stress him out, I know that’s sort of ridiculous but I don’t like the idea of making a horse do something that they wouldn’t like because I am a soft marshmallow
-          He’s not currently on anything for joint maintenance and this may need to happen so he is comfortable to compete ($$)




Mystic




Pros for being the chosen one:
-          Has actually schooled on a cross country course
-          Super quiet and reasonable about being ridden outdoors
-          Honest about jumping things
-          Probably has the most formal training of the group
Cons for being the chosen one:
-          The biggest one is where she is currently boarded, there is no indoor arena or any coaching available (it’s in the middle of nowhere).  She’s really happy there and I love trail riding with C, so I’m not really feeling a big urge to move her (it’s a mare-only boarding spot now, thanks Henry for ruining that).  If I had a trailer I could haul her somewhere but that’s a whole other can of worms
-          I feel like I am too long in the torso to have proper balance when I jump on her, she’s super honest and I don’t feel like I’m going to fall off or anything… I just honestly feel like we aren’t a good match for jumping together



Henry




Pros for being the chosen one:
-          He is such a sensible dude about pretty much everything
-          Chill about being ridden outdoors
-          Is on a weekly lesson schedule with ST

Cons for being the chosen one:
-          We haven’t cantered yet (although he did start cantering with RK and it was a non-event, other than that he didn’t want to stay in his canter)
-          At this point he has no saddle, although I hope to resolve this shortly
-          He has the least amount of jumping experience by far (and I can’t really do anything about this because he has no saddle)

So between now and the end of June (the first event I could realistically attend) I have 5 and half months to prepare whichever horse I decide on for that task.  There is also an one-day event in early August that would work for my schedule too.


Which horse would you chose if you were me?  Any thoughts? 


If I’m being honest here, I want to take Henry.   I feel really safe on him and we are in a regular lesson program.  But when I read his pro/con list (ie we have no canter yet) I don’t know if it’s a realistic thing to plan for. 




Excited to hear thoughts and opinions! J

34 comments:

  1. Tough choice! If I were you, I'd probably take Apollo unless you're confident you can get a consistent canter on Henry between now and the HT. (Which is TOTALLY doable!) You cannot beat a horse you know well and trust completely. Joint maintenance may not be a big deal on him either- Moe (who is 22 this year) is not on any sort of joint maintenance and Gina (who is 20 this year) received MSM pellets daily. Both of them are still very comfortable galloping and jumping!

    Good luck with your goal this year, regardless of who you choose! :)

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    1. It is a tough choice! Thanks so much for your thoughts :) I'm hoping to put him on an oral joint supplement shortly, either way. I hope he will have many years of adventures left!

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  2. I don't know how it works in your area or what height you are aiming for, but at our schooling shows there are multiple levels where you can do walk trot tests and then you don't have to worry about the canter. Obviously you aren't jumping very high with these, but that might be a nice middle ground for Henry.

    Another option is to put off the decision until a later date and focus on prepping both Apollo and Henry. That way if something happens last minute you have a back up option. If that isn't possible, my vote is which ever one (between Apollo and Henry because I think the logistics of Mystic would be difficult to work around) is steadier when you are nervous. Regardless of who you choose I hope you are able to make it this year!

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    1. The level I'm aiming for is pretty tiny! It's 2 feet max for jump height (in stadium and cross country). I just want to have a positive experience with whichever horse I'm bringing so I'm trying to get a bit of a game plan going now, thanks so much for all your thoughts :)

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  3. Apollo. And then the lessons you learn with him you can apply to Henry. It sounds like Mystic isn't the perfect jumping match, so just pursue other things with her. Take Henry with you when you go to the HT though so he can get accustomed to the atmosphere before pressured to perform there.

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    1. That's a very good thought for sure. I definitely want to try jumping Mystic more at some point to see if things have changed on that front, but for now I'm just focusing on the trail/eventually dressage disciplines with her. :) Thanks!

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  4. I would pick Mystic, a horse that enjoys the outdoors and is HONEST are both super important for cross country. As far as the height thing, I honestly think I am too tall for my little mare also but she has never had an issue jumping with me, I actually think my position and balance are better on her compared to my larger horse, maybe because I am concentrating on it harder with her?

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    1. She is a very good pony! A lot of our issue seems to stem from her neck being quite short (and I have a very long torso). I will definitelu be revisiting jumping with her in the spring either way, and I'll see how it feels then! :)

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  5. I'll second MSM as a low cost maintenance option for the older horse. I have my 21 year old on a 1.5 dose as she tends to stock up badly (and this has gotten worse with age and injuries). You could (technically) prep both horses and take Henry if Apollo comes up lame, too.

    Depending on the level and show... I got away with trotting my mare on XC and SJ at Starter. In fact, we needed to trot to not get speed faults. I think Henry could be ready for simple dressage cantering quite quickly, and while I'd maybe aim for something later in the year to give him more time to become familiar with jumping and cantering... there's no reason to say he can't do it :)

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    1. Yeah I am planning to get Apollo on something soon regardless of if we decide to compete this year or not. I like your idea of prepping both! It's probably smart to have a plan b :)

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  6. I like the idea of prepping both Apollo and Henry and making the decision a little closer to the competition 🙂

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    1. Yes I quite like that idea too! :)

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  7. Honestly I would say that you should try each of them. It's all hypothetical until you're out in the opening cantering towards an xc fence. If you can't imagine doing that with a particular horse, then that probably answers your question. But you also don't really know how the horse will react until you give it a chance. Try going through all your paces out in the open. Setting up obstacles and stuff for each horse. Any of them can probably do it but what's going to be the most fun or likeliest for a good time for all involved?

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    1. Very wise advice! It will definitely be pretty easy for me to try out Apollo and Henry on xc (there are two not too far away from where I board). Thanks for your thoughts :)

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  8. I see no need to decide now. Just keep riding, learning, having fun, prepping all of them, and if you're not comfortable doing something on one of them, that's your answer. Leave doors open and see how you feel in a few months?

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    1. True! A lot could change in the next 5 months for sure. I was hoping if I could kind of decide on one I could channel time and resources more effectively towards the goal, but I think having them all somewhat prepped is a great idea (because it's so hard to plan anything with horses!) :)

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  9. Whichever one you feel the most confident on, the one that you feel has your back in potentially stressful situations.The one you can see yourself having the most fun on. This is why I ride Bridget, who is pretty much to opposite to anyone's ideal eventing prospect, ever.

    On a side note, if the answer is Henry, Bridget and I did a combined test at MREC last winter and we barely did our obligatory canter circle each direction in the dressage. In fact, I think we got a 4 to the left because it only sort of happened. Then we trotted the entire show jumping (and we weren't alone in that!) because cantering jumps wasn't a thing yet. It was totally fun and confidence boosting and I regret nothing.

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    1. My confidence does seem to fluctuate a little on all of them, mostly I would say Mystic is where I feel safest. That does make me feel a little better than canter isn't such a big deal! The jumps are smallish and trottable (that's how I like them haha) so really just the dressage test was stressing me a bit.

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  10. I agree with T. Whichever horse you feel the most confident on is the one to take, but that being said I would definitely continue to ride everyone as if you were taking them and then decided when it's closer. So much can change between now and show season.

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    1. That's very true, so much can and has already changed. Gives me a good reason to get the entire herd in tiptop shape :)

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  11. I like the idea of prepping both Apollo & Henry. Maybe you could end up taking both of them to one!

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    1. That would be amazing! Something to keep in mind. I think it would be sort of stressful taking two but if I had a lot of helpers it would be feasible for sure :)

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  12. I would prep two and make the decision closer to the time. Also that way you have a back-up in case you have to deal with last minute lameness, saddle issues, etc. Since prepping two will keep you pretty busy, I would rule out the horse who will be most okay (emotionally, living situation) with being on a longer break.

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    1. I am liking this idea of prepping two! :)

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  13. Why not just take two of them!! Lol!! If it were me personally I'd take Apollo. Just because as he is older you may as well enjoy him and take him out while you are able :)

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    1. Very true! I can definitely prep two! :)

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  14. If the goal is to go this year, I would pick Mystic. I don't think you're too long, you just need to strengthen the ol' core so you keep your body up off her neck. (I know this from riding too small ponies a lot as a young adult.) If you plan to have that as a goal for the end of the summer, you'll have plenty of time to get ready outside once spring comes.
    If you're in less of a hurry, I'd pick Henry and aim for next season.
    My reason for not picking Apollo from your description, it sounds like he'd be pretty strong and not super happy, which in turn would be not super fun for you.

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    1. Yes I definitely need to revisit jumping her again in the spring. I may have a trailer loan sorted out so her current location may not be as big of a barrier as it currently is. :)
      I have similar worries about Apollo. I may see how the schooling goes and then assess from there.

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  15. Are you going to do BN or intro (I don't know what they're called in Canada)? If you're doing intro, I would do Mystic if she's the calmest. You don't need a ton of practice to get around an intro course and you'll be happier on a calm horse.

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    1. It's called starter here but it's probably comparable to whatever the lowest level of eventing you guys have in the states is! Yes Mystic is a pretty chill pony for sure :)

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  16. Ahh, I can see why this is such a hard decision!!! I think that from the descriptions, the most successful outing would be with Mystic. It sounds like she has the best qualifications and like you would be the most comfortable on her. Your first horse trial, I think, should be just as much about you and your comfort zone as your horse's.

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    1. Yes it is a tough decision for sure! I am definitely comfortable with my girl Mystic :)

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  17. I would go with Mystic because of the XC experience :) It sounds like your best bet for a successful outing. It's nice to have options!

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    1. She was a good girl for me on XC last May. Lots of ponies to chose from ;)

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