Eff You Winter: A Tale of Show Prep for a non-Show

But like actually, people. I hate hate HATE being cold. And I hate hate HATE freezing rain. Mostly because freezing rain means shows get cancelled.

Yes, our move-up show has been cancelled due to weather Y U DO THIS TO ME WEATHER GODS.

Honestly though, if the weather is going to be that bad then I’m glad we’re staying home. It’s nerve wracking enough to jump all the big jumps for the first time, I’d rather do it when I’m not also panicked about the trailer sliding off the road and sending Francis to an icy doom. Not that I pictured that at all when I saw the forecast. No way.

So a little disappointed that the show is cancelled but also grateful for the chance to 1. sleep in omg I haven’t slept in for MONTHS it feels like and 2. have a bit more time to prepare for the move up. That can never hurt.

Our lesson this week was under the assumption that we’d be showing, so it was prep time. Assistant Trainer taught so you know it was good. Her style of teaching really works with Trainer’s style so well and I LOVE lessoning with her- I always know that we’re going to do something super challenging and I’ll be majorly sore the next day, but I’ll also walk out of the lesson feeling really accomplished. She won’t sugar coat things when I mess up, but she’s the first to throw a big party when I get something right. Seriously, both my trainers are amazing and I can’t say enough good things about them both.

Anywho, I’ll hop off the love train and actually tell you about our lesson.

Flatwork this time was much more basic, mostly to get us moving and warmed up. Lots of extensions and collections within each gait to get us tuned into each other and adjustable. Frankie started out a little sluggish so my job was to get him moving forward and powerfully first before trying to contain and recycle that energy. Lots of big circles to small circles, serpentines and changing direction to make sure he was moving off my leg and suppling throughout his body.

Warmup was trotting a crossrail a few times which UGH TROT JUMPS ARE SO HARD and why can’t we just canter everything pls. I think they’re getting better- Frankie has figured out that they do actually count as jumps, and I’m trying to wait with my shoulders a bit more. Maybe someday they won’t be terrible.

Then AT put the jumps around 2’9″-3’ish (I think?) to give us a bit of a warmup course, seen here:


So it was single outside vertical, down the bending line in a waiting four strides, up the single oxer, down the box again as a single, up the one stride combo on the outside, liverpool, and up the quarter line in a GALLOPING three strides.

You read that right. The famous liverpool indeed made an appearance. But I’ll get to that when I get to that.

Single jumps off a long approach are kinda our jam at this point so the first jump came up nicely. Getting to a nice close spot to the box meant sitting back for the four strides was very do-able, and we held out to get a nice wide track up the black oxer. Down the box was another straightforward jump, got some power through the end of the ring to get up through the combo, and then it was a long approach down the diagonal to the liverpool. I sat up, legged on, held my breath, channeled Frankie straight, prepared for a peek or a hard jump….and nothing. He galloped right up to the base and popped over it like any other wide jump. There was no time to celebrate though, because that turn to the quarter line was TIGHT and we had to really dig in out of the corner to make the striding, especially at the lower height.

But then I was done and BEAMING because bucket list item totally checked off! I’m sure we will jump many more liverpools in our career but this was the first time I’ve ever jumped one! Remember that I only started doing the jumpers a year ago, I’m still new at anything that isn’t huntery haha. But seriously, if I needed another reason to love my Francis…he is such a confidence booster and takes SUCH good care of me.

So with my confidence high and my horse warmed up, AT put the jumps up. And up. And up (except the liverpool, she left that around 3’ish). And holy crap my heart kinda went into my throat because those jumps are so freakin big and you actually want us to jump that are you sure this doesn’t seem right maybe we should go back to the 0.65m division for a bit because those look way bigger than 1.10m and now my internal voice is babbling oh god oh god oh god. I’m sure none of them were over 1.10m, they just looked HUGE because our standards are not tall and the ring itself is not big. So yeah, definite nerves. Of course, as soon as I picked up the reins and moved out the nerves disappeared- Francis has that effect on me.


AT had me pick up a gallop down the long side to get our energy up before packaging down at the short end for our first approach. We had to work a bit harder to fit the four stride into the broken line, and power up out of the corner to the black oxer. I got Frankie a little too tight to the single box and we popped it a bit, and then I just absolutely mangled the one-stride and had to come back around and try again with more leg. The liverpool came up just as nicely as last time, and the quarter line was another HAULING ASS down the line.

AT’s comment: “Not bad, made some good decisions and some bad decisions, but you look a little starry-eyed at the height. Give him a break and then try again, this time with more gusto and intent.” She was totally right- I was a little intimidated by the height and I let that back me off.

So we tried again. And I didn’t necessarily make better decisions, but this time I kept my leg on and RODE instead of just steering around the course. We still got a few fliers and a few tight spots, but they weren’t as “sticky” this time around because it turns out keeping your leg on really helps support your horse WHO KNEW.

Final comments from AT: “Was this your best coursework? No. But you’re learning that the answer when shit hits the fan is to just keep kicking and GO. So we can work on smoothing things out, but that intent is more there and that’s what we need to see.”

I gotta tell you- I’m thrilled. We managed around a full course at the bigger height including a liverpool and made it happen. Pretty? Not yet. But my horse tried his heart out and jumped the big jumps for me without question. We only had a single rail the whole lesson when I biffed it HARD and to quote AT, “he didn’t even look like a moose over some of those.” Progress! Best jumping moose in the world.

And yes, obviously I needed to take a pic with the liverpool to commemorate the occasion.

27 thoughts on “Eff You Winter: A Tale of Show Prep for a non-Show

  1. shelbyrallen 12/16/2016 / 11:07 am

    So sorry your show got cancelled. What a bummer 😦 But on the plus side, dang those are big!!!


    • hellomylivia 12/19/2016 / 2:43 pm

      Considering the wacko weather this weekend, I’m pretty glad it ended up canceled!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. carey 12/16/2016 / 11:55 am

    Bummer about the show, but what a lesson! Big jumps, tight turns, liver pool! My trainer is all about intent/determination, too, but I’m sure you already guessed that. 😉


    • hellomylivia 12/19/2016 / 2:44 pm

      Like 90% sure we have the same trainer that just flies back and forth every day 😉


      • carey 12/19/2016 / 2:58 pm



  3. emma 12/16/2016 / 11:58 am

    aw that’s a disappointment about the show. lesson sounds baller tho – seems like all the pieces are clicking into place!


    • hellomylivia 12/19/2016 / 2:45 pm

      It’s getting there!! Frankie has been working his tail off, he’s getting cooler and cooler to ride 🙂


  4. Allison Stitzinger 12/16/2016 / 12:11 pm

    Will you teach me that the answer is always to kick on and GO?! Sounds like an incredible lesson, and y’all will only be even more prepared for your move up!


    • hellomylivia 12/19/2016 / 2:45 pm

      HAH once I fully internalize that I will definitely share how I managed to convince myself. Until then, I just need my trainer yelling MORE LEG constantly 😉


  5. Hillary H. 12/16/2016 / 2:47 pm

    Bummer the show got cancelled. Sounds like a good lesson though. I always try to be schooling atleast some fences at the level above the level that I want to show before I attempt to tackle it.


    • hellomylivia 12/19/2016 / 2:48 pm

      With the crazy weather, it ended up being a really good thing that we didn’t go! And agreed about schooling bigger fences- whenever we get to shows I realize that my trainer has been lying to me and we’ve actually been schooling bigger than we thought. One situation where I’m 100% ok with being lied to haha


  6. Avery 12/16/2016 / 8:27 pm

    I have not read the part about your lesson yet, but I am so sorry your show was cancelled! I know you were looking forward to it and you were prepared. But, as they say, better safe than sorry. At least now you will be extra prepped and will dominate when you do go out! …I have those thoughts about hauling too…


    • hellomylivia 12/19/2016 / 2:48 pm

      Yes, I’m definitely glad to have some more time to prepare, that can only help!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Heather 12/17/2016 / 10:13 am

    Something I’ve been trying to remember lately as we’re also jumping bigger fences is that there’s a big difference between chipping, and choosing a close spot. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m not always going to get us to the sweet spot, but my horse’s job is a heck of a lot easier when I do at least make a good choice, versus crossing my fingers. Sounds like you guys are well on your way to some really nice work though!


    • hellomylivia 12/19/2016 / 2:54 pm

      That distinction between chipping and CHOOSING is something we’ve definitely been working on too- we’ve had to work on getting Frankie’s feet up faster and he’s come a long way, but he’s still not a huge fan of the close spot since he THINKS he needs more time to get his legs out of the way. He’s not convinced he’s fit yet haha.


      • Heather 12/19/2016 / 3:00 pm

        He’s a big dude! I can see that being a struggle. My horse is basically a pony jumper so it’s not nearly so hard for him.


      • hellomylivia 12/19/2016 / 3:02 pm

        Dude your guy is the coolest little man, I have such a jumper crush on him ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  8. KateRose 12/17/2016 / 9:01 pm

    Yippee about the liver pool! Sorry to hear the show was cancelled 😦


  9. Stacie Seidman 12/22/2016 / 3:37 pm

    Ugh. I hate winter. It ruins all the fun!
    But the lesson sounds great! Nice job jumping the big jumps in the small ring! They’ll look like short stirrup fences when you get to do them outside with lots of space!


    • hellomylivia 12/28/2016 / 8:54 am

      Jumps always look SO much smaller at shows for exactly this reason!!


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