USHJA Zone 3/4 Jumper Team Championships: Part 2

Moving on to the weekend part of the weekend.

Moar naps.

Saturday was team day. Importantly, the outfit was white pants and the Kastel sunshirt they gave us with Zone 3 printed on the front. I’m in love with this sunshirt.

Let me tell you, Saturday was EVENTFUL. I was slated to go in first for my team as the second anchor (I was just as surprised as you are) so we walked the course as early as possible and then started warming up while they were dragging and watering.

Walking into the warmup ring

And it was the worst warmup we’ve ever had.

We had the pace. My eye was there. And Frankie was just sticking over the jumps. If I hadn’t had a team depending on me, I would’ve scratched. And then Frankie threw a shoe about 30 seconds before I was due in the ring.

This required a wonderful coordination of effort from the warmup ring steward finding the shoe and radio-ing the in-gate to let them know what was going on, the woman running the in-gate moving me down in the order, the on-site farrier tacking the shoe back on, and Trainer pulling me aside for a kick in the seat.

To paraphrase: “stop riding like crap, you’re better than this. It’s a good thing we get a reset button right now. Get your head in the game.”

And then she told me something that I didn’t realize I needed to hear. She said, “Olivia, you have every right to be here. You qualified just like everyone else. You have just as much of a shot of going in there and laying down a clear round.”

I didn’t realize that I was feeling that Imposter Syndrome until she said that. Somehow she was able to read that in me and knew just what to say to get me motivated. She truly is an incredible coach.

So we went back to the warmup ring and had one of the best warmups we’ve ever had. No joke.

And Frankie threw the shoe again.

But by this point I was the last one to go in the ring, they were waiting on me to close the class, and my team needed me.

So we went in with three shoes.

jtc_sat_enter ring
At this point all I could do was laugh and say what the hell let’s give it a go.

And proceeded to lay down the fastest trip in the class with zero rails. Double clear.

It was the same round both trips. Not much to say about it- another tough but fair one that I think played to Frankie’s strengths.

To say that I was ecstatic about this would be a gross understatement. I was shaking with emotion as we left that ring.

Shortly before I collapsed on his neck from sheer joy

And if you know me at all, you know that I needed a place to channel that emotion. So when one of my teammates (who is a total fixture on my circuit and wins everything and rides SO FREAKIN’ WELL and I love watching her at every show) came up to congratulate me on my round, I went straight in for the hug and literally said these words: “I LOOK UP TO YOU SO MUCH I LOVE WATCHING YOU RIDE YOU’RE SUCH AN INSPIRATION.”

Because I have ZERO chill.

God bless her she patted me on the back and handled the shaking psycho hanging on her neck very graciously. At this point Frankie had been whisked away to the farrier before we had to go back in for our second round.

And to anyone who says that sportsmanship is dead in the horse world, I’d like to invite you to come to Zone Finals. Because when word got around that my horse had lost a shoe, someone FROM ANOTHER TEAM immediately offered us a set of bell boots. The warmup ring steward gave us good juju. The woman running the in-gate gave us good juju. Everyone was helping out and pitching in and I wish every person who complains about poor horsemanship could’ve been there to see all of these people offering a helping hand without hesitation or agenda. I will never forget that sense of community and shared purpose.

But it does turn out that the shoe was unlucky, because we went in for our second round and dropped three rails. Womp womp. This meant that I was the drop score for our team for the second round. But at least I actively contributed in the first round! I actually liked my second round a lot better- it flowed more smoothly and I had a more rideable horse. One of the rails was definitely my fault, but the other two were just Frankie being sloppy with his hind end. I’m sure by this point he was tired.

Happy Francis!

Even so, our team scores left us tied for first with Team 3. Meaning it came down to a jumpoff.

Ho. Lee. Crap. SO EXCITING.

Team 3’s chosen rider went in there and laid down a super crazy fast clear jumpoff. Then our rider went in there and laid down an equally crazy fast jumpoff- she was faster by 0.05 seconds. But then- ever so gently- we heard the faintest *poof* of the last rail hitting the ground. The entire in-gate area erupted in screams and cheers and congratulations. Team 4 took the silver!

I’m up there losing my mind and Frankie is just waiting for naptime again.
“Mahm is this ribbon eatable?”

The ribbon ceremony was absolutely incredible. They played the Olympics theme song over the speakers, they took a thousand official pictures, they sent us off for a victory gallop, they put medals around our necks up on the podium, they took a thousand more official pictures. Oh man.

I had never met any of these women before this day. Didn’t matter. Team hugs.
Absolutely punch drunk laughing at nothing in total hysterics
Aw yiss
As the token tall girl, I always stand in the back
Cheesin’ HARD

It was a dream come true. And true to form, Francis handled all the hooplah as if he’d been there a million times. Flapping ribbons? Horses running up his butt in the victory gallop? Loudspeakers and music and flags and flashes? Ain’t no thang for the Frankfurter. He very placidly cantered a lap and then happily went back to his stall. What a pro.

He was very happy to go for a walk later in the afternoon to stretch his legs. We were required to have his number on him every time he left his stall.

I’d like to give a shoutout here to my adopted barn moms- they took a thousand pictures (all the good ones here are from my barn moms) and cheered and supported and one of them literally cried watching me in the victory gallop. I felt so surrounded by love. I’ve got the best barn family in the world.

And it would be remiss of me to not mention the help I got with Frankie- our team made sure that he was shiny and groomed and tacked up whenever I needed him and worked their butts off to coordinate that around 7 other riders. They are rockstars who worked bazillion hour days without complaint the whole time.

I’ll wrap up Sunday quickly, since it was a bit anticlimactic.

Lot of related distances

I thought this was a fairly straightforward course for the most part, but the triple at 10ABC was the true weed-out spot. A to B was set SUPER long as a one stride. I got nervous when I walked it- Frankie has a big step, but as mentioned previously he does back off in combos. I think this was the big test of those who could go in there and lay it down perfectly, versus those who didn’t quite have it all together.

At this point in our career, we are the latter. It wasn’t a terrible course but it wasn’t our best either, and we did have to mad scramble out of the triple. Overall I’m proud of Frankie’s effort here and he listened really well. It had been a long weekend and I know he was tired, but he was definitely more fit than he has been in the past and was able to give me more powerful efforts. My big mistake in this course was that I rode the plan too strongly. I should’ve adjusted as we went through instead of trying to stick to a plan that clearly wasn’t working for the horse I had under me. My new mantra: ride the horse, not the course.

Between our 6 faults on Friday, 12 faults on Saturday, and then some additional faults on Sunday (I think 8 due to 2 rails?), we were out of the ribbons for the individual final. But one of my teammates from Saturday took home the Individual Gold! And despite squeaking in there with minimum points, we didn’t end up in dead last.

By that point, we were ready to go home.

Frankie was very happy to snuggle with his mama and relax outside.

What a weekend. I couldn’t be happier with how Frankie performed- we asked him for a lot of hard rounds at bigger heights with more difficult questions, and he took it all in like a total champ. It was certainly a physical stretch for us to have a full weekend of long courses and big jumps, but it was also a mental stretch. We had to deal with some snags and exhaustion and figure out how to keep trucking. It raised the bar for us in a whole bunch of different ways and I think we rose to the occasion.

We aren’t yet at the top of the pack in our division, but every round we go out there and the pieces come together a little bit more. Every round that goes well is due a little more to skill and a little less to luck. We’re making different mistakes. We’re fitter, stronger, faster, tighter than we used to be.

As always, we have a long long way to go, but we’re a lot further than we used to be. My heart is full to bursting with love and gratitude for this horse who so patiently teaches me so much.

29 thoughts on “USHJA Zone 3/4 Jumper Team Championships: Part 2

    • hellomylivia 08/30/2017 / 10:41 am

      He’s such a special boy! There were many happy tears this weekend haha


  1. CallyJumps 08/30/2017 / 9:54 am

    CONGRATS!! You guys have really rocked this year!

    Also, that sunshirt does rock. I have the long-sleeve, non-USHJA-logo version of it, and love it.


    • hellomylivia 08/30/2017 / 10:41 am

      I want every version of it haha. The weather was lovely this weekend so I didn’t have to test its cooling ability, but it just looked fantastic on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • CallyJumps 08/30/2017 / 10:56 am

        I ❤️ their sun shirts. Check eBay, they usually have last seasons closeouts for a very reasonable price.


    • Jenn 08/30/2017 / 3:02 pm

      Kastels are 20% off on Riding Warehouse thru Monday 😉


  2. Tracy - Fly On Over 08/30/2017 / 11:12 am

    Can’t lie, a few tears sneaked out while I was reading this!! Congratulations doesn’t cover it — I’m so happy for you, you worked SO HARD for SO LONG to get here and it could t have come together for a better person ❤️


  3. Boss Mare Eventing 08/30/2017 / 11:55 am

    What an accomplishment! Congratulations:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Centered in the Saddle 08/30/2017 / 11:57 am

    Congratulations! I might’ve even teared up a little reading about putting in that stellar first round on Saturday. Nothing like that feeling when everything comes together and you’re not always the best one but you work hard and care and it all comes together at once – just the best. 🙂


    • hellomylivia 08/30/2017 / 12:46 pm

      Thank you!! It’s a feeling that I’m never ever going to forget, that’s for sure


  5. Abby F 08/30/2017 / 5:17 pm

    So fun! I can’t wait for next year! Maybe I’ll get a 4 person team next time… haha! I hear you on the imposter syndrome. That was TOTALLY me the first year I went to WEF. Trainer had to give me a major pep talk.


    • hellomylivia 08/31/2017 / 8:32 am

      It was so fun to hang out and see you and Charlie go!! I’m already excited for next year too, it was such a blast 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one with imposter syndrome, that’s such a mind-twist


  6. NDchick1 08/30/2017 / 8:23 pm

    Awesome job, y’all!!
    Way to step up, Olivia!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stacie Seidman 08/30/2017 / 11:09 pm

    Such an amazing experience! I’m so happy for you and Frankie! Congrats on all of your hard work and dedication!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. heartofhope10 09/01/2017 / 3:36 pm

    So, so much happiness for you and Frankie! Congratulations for everything, and for really just loving the horse and sport! 🙂


  9. Karley 09/03/2017 / 10:54 am

    Omg a pulled shoe before having to ride… what’s the odds?! You poor thing!!

    I LOVE the pep talk trainer gave you and she’s so right!!

    Keep up the great attitude girl and your undying love for the Frankster!! 💙


  10. carey 09/03/2017 / 7:05 pm

    Congrats on your awesome weekend and congrats on how far you two have come. You put in the work and you still enjoy the ride!


  11. Liz 09/04/2017 / 12:06 pm

    So amazing. So inspirational. Huge congratulations, lady. You earned this and I hope you continue to find huge successes into the future.


  12. jkberger1006 09/06/2017 / 7:22 am

    What an awesome experience! Congratulations on all your hard work, and all of Frankie’s hard work! I also love your attitude! You have great places to go-Good luck!


    • hellomylivia 09/06/2017 / 7:45 am

      Thank you so much!! He works so so hard for me, I just love this horse ❤


  13. Micaylah 12/08/2017 / 12:35 am

    You worked so hard for this and totally deserve it!!!


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