Posted by: eventer4life | June 26, 2010

Inavale Day 3:Cross Country

Today was cross country day at Inavale! I rode at 10:26. I got to the barn early (ish) around 7:30 and watched some of the Training 3 day competitors go. I saw 1 girl fall off…the whole round looked kinda nasty so I hate to say it but I expected it. I kinda feel bad for her since she’s been trying to sell her horse FOREVER and he’s actually really cute. But definitely not willing this morning.

Then I realized I should probably go tack up and spent an unreasonable amount of time trying to figure out studs. I didn’t have any grass tips, and I ended up having to borrow some from a friend (thanks Brynn!). But we got that figured out and then I tacked up fast and got on. Luckily everything was running REALLY late because of the fall I had seen. That was the worst one, at least, as the ambulance went out so there was a 1/2 hour hold on course. There were lots of other falls though so that probably made it worse. FINALLY I was able to warm up and went into the tiny crowded warm up arena and warmed up a little, then went out to the other very limited warm up field by the start box. I was wandering around since I had a few minutes when there was yet another fall and the horse came right by me at a full gallop. Dawkins flipped and was so nervous after that. I couldn’t make him walk at all, he was jigging or trotting. A few minutes after that I was finally able to start!
The second we left the box Dawkins took off. We had a couple seconds through the trees before the first jump and I ended up having to sit up and PULL to get him back enough to be able to get to the first jump. He jumped it great and went on to the 2nd. We went through the whole first section of the course really well. Then we jumped into the big field where the water complex and trakehner were. Because of the water, pretty much every spectator was watching there. Apparently there had been a TON of problems with the water, particularly at the Training level. The water complex for regular Training was an up bank, then I believe it was 2 strides to a down bank into water, then through the water. Dawkins jumped up fine, then hesitated MAJORLY before the down. I think he may have stopped for a second, actually, but I had my spur in his side and was smacking him with my crop. FINALLY he dropped into the water. There was a ton of applause (: I was really scared they would count it as a refusal!

The next jump was the trakehner which I was really nervous about. We had to make a big right turn from the water to the trakehner and I was so nervous about it that I pretty much kicked him the second we started to straighten out to go to the trakehner and tapped him with my crop, then SMACKED him as we got close just so he’d have no chance to stop. He didn’t even think about it and popped over great. We galloped to the brush and of course he jumped over the whole thing (:  A couple jumps later as I was coming down a path through the woods, I noticed there was still a Prelim/Intermediate jump in the middle of the path. I had been hoping it would be moved for Training, since there was just enough room to get by on one side! I decided to trot because I didn’t want Dawkins to get excited and jump the big jump and get us eliminated. That cost us a lot of time. He jumped the bank well, although he was weaving a little. When we came to the half-coffin, he started being weird like 15 strides away. He started backing off and swerving, only continuing forward because I was beating him. Again, I was afraid it would be counted as a stop. We did jump it eventually 🙂 Then as we were coming to the final jump my watch started beeping and I freaked out! I let him go a little faster and didn’t balance like I should have over the final jump. We did okay, but my trainer is not happy.

I spent a long time cooling Dawkins out, and after a couple hours my scores still weren’t up! I overheard people talking about the Training course and they said they haven’t seen carnage like this years on a lower level course that’s not beginner novice.

I just checked my scores online, they’re actually up! Neither of my almost stops were counted as stops, but I got 5.6 time. Which I was expecting, and am completely okay with. Only 6/16 people in my division finished with no jump faults, only 1 double clear (!), and 6 people were eliminated-2 of which were falls. I moved up from 12th to 6th!!! I’m happy about that (:

Let’s hope stadium goes well!

Dawkins now has another cut-kind of. My saddle has rubbed all the hair off his withers and he’s bleeding. We might go see about getting a new one from Gallops today or tomorrow and we’re definitely calling Amerigo if we can’t find one. I’m going to jump him tomorrow since it doesn’t seem to be bothering him too much yet. Fingers crossed!


  1. Sounds like you have discovered a major saddle issue that is causing your horse a lot of pain. If a saddle problem gets to the point of actual bleeding – well, that’s as bad as it gets.

    You had to go to your whip at certain points around the course – what did they have in common? Did they involve dropping down? What happens to your saddle when you do drops? Does it hit your horse’s withers and injure him?

    Your horse was kind enough to go for you yesterday. Now that you see how badly your saddle fits, please be kind to him and find one that makes him comfortable.

    It will take you some time for him to trust that certain jumps (drops especially) will not cause him pain once you have changed your saddle, so don’t expect a new saddle to be an immediate fix. Please be patient.

    Your horse is lucky to have a rider who cares so much for his welfare.

    • Actually, I never thought about the drops-saddle fit connection, surprisingly enough. I’m sure it does hit, considering the way it fits him. Wow…well thanks for pointing that out to me! I had a saddle fitter look at him-as mentioned in my most recent post- but we couldn’t find one that fit. I’m going to be trying a Mattes pad until we find the right saddle, which could take time since we live in Montana where saddle fitters are quite rare, except during the Event at Rebecca Farm, where we will really make an effort to get a new one, and will get a custom if we can’t find the right one!
      A lot of the times when I had to use my whip were more for my sake than him, to be honest. The last time I jumped a trakehner- and the only time- the horse had no idea what he was doing, had never jumped that big, and hadn’t jumped a ditch. And yes, an instructor told me to jump it. (I don’t use her anymore haha). But, I fell off and now they’re terrifying to me! So although he probably would have jumped many of the jumps without hesitation, I used my “weapons” to make me feel better about it. The times I actually needed it were the banks and the jump before the ditch. I will definitely now have to make sure we get a new saddle that fits, because there really must be a connection between our hesitation at drops which is completely new to him, and the fit of the saddle.
      Thank you!!!

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