Upperville: The Recap

Phew. Moved into the new apartment, had my first day at the new job, and now I need to tell you more about Upperville.

I had some pretty high hopes going into Upperville- not of the ribbon variety, but more just reeeeally wanting to go lay down some good rides in our division. I combined that drive for success with barely riding for two weeks prior to competing. Because that’s always how to get better at things, right? Completely wing it.

Except you forget the part where Francis is literally a unicorn pegasus hearts and flowers kind of horse that is way better to me than I deserve. Srsly.

Overall I was thrilled with our rounds- despite my lack of saddle time I think I made decent decisions and stuck to the plan, and Frankie was just so on top of things that he made up for any of my deficiencies.

On to the details.

I arrived on Saturday to the oh-so-familiar sight of Francis conserving his energy for the upcoming competition:

upp_sat_nap
Too tired to close his mouth.

Someone commented that the stalls seemed small and I just pulled this pic out and said: “17.1 horse. Stalls are fine.”

But I left him to his beauty sleep and went to learn my course with my trainer. By the time we got back to get ready for warmup he had roused himself (luckily, I had a BEAST of a time getting him up at Culpeper) and we were able to go get our muscles moving.

upp_sat_pose
The rule is that I’m responsible for listening to our trainer, and Frankie is responsible for finding the nearest camera to make cute faces at. (PC: A. Frye)

Weirdly enough, I’m almost more proud of our warmups than I am of our actual rounds. It’s always taken me a little while to get my head in the game and ask Frankie for some real work, but this time we set right to it and were making better choices much more quickly. I consider that a big step forward for us. And of course, he met this dedication with his own hard work:

upp_sat_warmup
I swear he doesn’t even look like the same horse as last year. (PC: A. Frye)

We didn’t need a ton of time to get us going and it was pretty hot, so we opted to head into the ring without too much of a delay. Course here:

upp_sat_course

I liked this course a lot!

upp_sat_canter
His first time in this ring, keeping an eye on things. (PC: A. Frye)
upp_sat_canter3
Specifically, keeping an eye on the camera because he is a diva (PC: A. Frye)
upp_sat_canter2
UGH MAHM FINE WE WILL GO JUMPS (PC: A. Frye)

We came up to jump 1 off a shorter turn on the right lead- we like to collect through the turn and then bounce up instead of taking a longer runway approach.

upp_sat_jump1
And it paid off with this lovely effort. In love with those perfectly even back feet!

We stumbled a bit off 2 but recovered in time for 3, and just continued on to 4. The bending into the combo walked a little short and I ended up holding a bit too much- it was uphill and away from the gate so it didn’t ride as short as I anticipated. But Francis was a bro and powered out the one stride totally fine.

upp_sat_combo
Please ignore everything about me in the Superman position and focus on the cute horsie NOTHING TO SEE HERE EXCEPT MY HORSE (told you he’s better to me than I deserve) (PC: A. Frye)

6 to 7 was fine and all was clear, so we continued on to the speed phase.

upp_sat_purple
Aw buddy be cuter (PC: A. Frye)

I let him get up on 8 too much and knocked a rail, and then we knocked one of the rails in the combo, got a bit of a flyer out over 11, and then 12 to 13 was decent.

Did we make mistakes? Absolutely. Did my horse listen like a champ and give me what I asked for every step of the way? Also absolutely. His first time in the ring, tons of activity, and he stayed tuned in to me the whole time. Even better- after going through the timers and finishing, he tried to veer left and pull me towards jump 3. HeΒ wanted to go jump more. While we were out of the ribbons, I finished in the top 50% of the class and with a happy horse who was loving his job. I consider that a definite show success!

upp_sat_hack
We also got to go cool down with these views, so not too shabby.

On to Sunday!

Sunday was brutally hot. Like, it sucked. You know how when it’s that hot out you don’t want to eat because nothing is refreshing enough and your body is just too hot? Yeah. I did choke some fuel down, but I didn’t enjoy it at all.

But Frankie continued his eternal streak of being a Very Good Boy.

upp_sun_pose
Including mugging for the camera while getting tacked up.

I was a little nervous for our Sunday round- our first 1.15m class together, and Upperville does not set the heights forgivingly. This was going to be a true test at height, and I knew there would definitely be a triple combo in there somewhere. I was right:

upp_sun_course

While more challenging, I thought this was a really fair test. There were a few options for the bold to make some intense inside turns, the time allowed was tight, but it wasn’t trappy anywhere. If you rode a good pace and made efficient turns, you could safely ride this competitively.

We again chose to make a short turn on the right lead to jump 1 (passing in front of jump 3). 2 to 3 was a standard 5 strides- I saw some horses struggle to get out in 5 if they didn’t jump in correctly, but I liked our jump 2 and Frankie carried his standard stride to take us out just a leeetle bit long.

upp_sun_gavin
Cute jump 2! (PC: G. Mohan)

End jump at 4 was fine, 5 was ok- it was a skinny and a very upright vertical so a lot of horses knocked that one. We got a bit close on it, but Frankie was scrappy and got his feets out of the way. I needed to hold more left leg and get straighter into the combo, but we ended up to a good takeoff spot and made it through unscathed. We flew a bit into 7 which made 8 really tight- Frankie earned his oats by getting clear over that, because that was a tough spot for him.

upp_sun_blue
Flyer to 7 but he still real cute (PC: G. Mohan)

And then my horse started running out of steam. Due to scheduling confusion and the heat we had done a longer warmup than we strictly needed, and this was a long course. But true to self, he still went about his job like a pro and carried me through the triple combo without touching a rail. We galloped up 10-11 and took a well earned breather.

upp_sun_purple
Yeah he totally looks tired, doesn’t he? (PC: G. Mohan)

Despite the heat and both of us starting to flag, we had gone clear and within time! They buzzed us for our jumpoff almost immediately.

Again, 1 was fine. I didn’t get him back quickly enough to make the turn I wanted to 3, so we went a bit wide. 13 to 14 was a basic bending line, not much to say there. Then I am so proud of Frankie- we took a tighter turn and sliced across the oxer at 10 and he didn’t even blink. We made it around through the one-stride no problem again, and just has one jump left. Away from the gate. The course designers absolutely did this on purpose- both of us tired and hot and ready to be done, and I didn’t get his attention back on me and we biffed the last one. Womp womp. Just goes to show- do not relax until you are through those last timers.

But we again managed to finish in the top 50% of a big class, even if we were out of the ribbons. And we again finished with a horse that was tired, but a horse that had his ears up and made his way back to the barn with a spring in his step.

upp_sun_smile

And the height? Not even a thing. Frankie charged fearlessly ahead to every jump on course.

So yeah. My goal of going to Upperville and having some good rides was 100% successful in my book. Nowhere near perfect, but we’re further along that path than we used to be. And if you didn’t have a crush on Frankie before this, I hope you do now because he deserves all the love in the world from everyone. I count my lucky stars every day to have this goofy wonderful gelding in my life.

We now have our sights set on Zones in August! Our new outdoor is complete (post to come once I get pics I’m satisfied with) and full of fun jumps for us to practice with, and Frankie has never felt better.

It’s looking like we’ll do that in August, and then wrap up our season at Culpeper Finals end of September- we’ll plan to do the Modified A/O division at 1.15m, and I’m going to beg and plead and work really hard to convince my trainer that we should probably try a 1.20m class. We’ll revisit as we get closer depending on Frankie’s fitness, my own fitness, and how our training is going, but that’s a tentative stretch goal. We’ll focus on smoothing out the rough edges at 1.15m first, I GUESS.

Hope to get some more updates out to you soon!

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “Upperville: The Recap

  1. draftmare 06/27/2017 / 8:13 am

    Congrats, sounds like a successful show despite the heat! And love all the pictures!

    Like

    • hellomylivia 06/27/2017 / 10:41 am

      I really lucked out with all the awesome people taking pics!!

      Like

  2. Liz 06/27/2017 / 8:14 am

    The change in Frankie over the past year is remarkable. Such a perfect unicorn. Congrats on such a huge success!

    Like

    • hellomylivia 06/27/2017 / 10:42 am

      Gah he really is the best unicorn, such a good boy ❀ thank you!!

      Like

  3. Avery 06/27/2017 / 8:53 am

    Golly, Frankie is such a guy! Congrats and props on the move and new job and still being able to adult!

    Like

    • hellomylivia 06/27/2017 / 10:42 am

      Thank you! It’s definitely been hectic, I’m looking forward to settling into a new routine

      Liked by 1 person

  4. L. Williams 06/27/2017 / 12:36 pm

    Glad you had a good show! And yay to be all moved in and working πŸ™‚

    Like

    • hellomylivia 06/27/2017 / 12:49 pm

      It was a blast! And yeah it’s definitely good to be getting back into a routine

      Like

  5. Stacie Seidman 06/27/2017 / 1:21 pm

    Congrats on surviving the move, changing jobs, and still horse showing too! AND moving up! That Frankie is so perfect!

    Like

    • hellomylivia 06/27/2017 / 1:50 pm

      It’s been a whirlwind! Lucky that my boy has been such a constant for me!!

      Like

  6. Kelsey 06/27/2017 / 10:06 pm

    We should all be so lucky to have a Frankie in our lives. Those courses look SUPER fun but also terrifying to my out of shape ass!

    Like

    • hellomylivia 06/27/2017 / 10:08 pm

      I am of the firm belief that the world would be a better place if everyone had a Frankie. And yes the courses were great! It made me really appreciate the power of a thoughtful course designer.

      Like

  7. Karen M 06/28/2017 / 11:41 am

    Congratulations on show success! The way you describe Frankie reminds me of Lisa Frank stuff so I now I just picture Frankie as if he were illustrated by Lisa Frank.

    Like

  8. carey 07/17/2017 / 10:32 am

    I’m so behind, but I’m catching up now. AWESOME job! Sounds so fun, I desperately want to play with Frankie.

    Like

    • hellomylivia 07/17/2017 / 10:37 am

      Come visit! Our saddle is always open, Frankie loves making new friends πŸ˜‰

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s