Upperville 2018

Upperville 2018 is a wrap! It was definitely a rollercoaster of a show- long days and good moments and pilot-error moments and all that good stuff. Spoiler alert: Frankie could not have been better. He was professional to the extreme, and packed me around with incredible consistency and kindness.

So let’s jump into it! (Strap in, because this is a MONSTER post)

On Wednesday, Frankenbean trailered in with Trainer and AT to get some more miles in the 1.20m. While I would’ve loved to be there, I sadly had to be at work and missed his round. Fortunately I was able to get a full report card from Trainer that evening!

Her thoughts, in no particular order: overall, thumbs up. He looked much less surprised by the height and settled into it much more quickly than his first outing. She’s very happy with the increase in his fitness and recommends we continue the program we have him in (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!). He was able to handle a range of distances with much more power and agility- he did have one rail on course, but it was from a perfect spot, he was just a little careless over it. The close and long spots he rode cleanly. There was a four stride set a little short and he kinda blew through the half-halt until stride 3, so working on responsiveness is (as always) something for us to focus on. He finished middle of the pack (26th) in a class of 59, against much more experienced horses, and didn’t look like a newbie- he looked like he belonged there.

It’s a crappy blurry screenshot, but Sir Francis was totally unfazed by the big jumps!

I got to watch the video and I absolutely agree, he looked rather nonchalant about the whole thing. Trainer did recommend that AT take him in at least one more time to solidify him at this height before I take over, which I’m entirely on board with. It gives him more positive miles, and it gives me a little more time to make sure I’m totally tuned into giving him a good ride.

Francis got to go home and relax outside, and I gave him a short flat ride on Thursday to stretch out before our weekend together.

Friday. Was. Long. I was up by 4:30a, at the barn by 5:15a, on the showgrounds by 6:45a. And I didn’t show until 4:30p-ish. At one point I slumped over a folding table and napped for a solid hour. It was great cheering on my barnmates and seeing AT take our OTTB in the 1.25m 6yo class (he seriously gets better and better every time out, whoever buys him is gonna be one lucky rider), but I’ll admit that I was pretty exhausted by the time I hopped on.

Francis also did some shavings-snorkeling while we waited

We got to the warmup ring and my eye was…uncharacteristically long. Like, a mile long. This used to be my default, but I thought we had conquered that instinct a long time ago. AT worked with me to get to the base, but for whatever reason I just struggled seeing anything but an awful gap.

Friday’s course

Our first fence on course was a big wide oxer on a long approach away from home (I have opinions about that being the first question in the first class- from a course design standpoint, I think that would be more appropriate on a Saturday or Sunday once we’ve had the chance to get a sense of the ring), and instead of trusting the rhythm and my horse’s brokeness, I straight up gunned him at it. For no reason. And he very understandably said NOPE WE DON’T DO THAT ANYMORE. I reapproached and FINALLY asked for the short one. And homeboy was perfection- a little sticky off the ground because he was like wtf is going on up there lady, but he carried on without holding a grudge. I was still a little frazzled going into the line 2-3, but by 4 I felt mostly recovered and was very happy with the rest of our course. As if I needed more proof- I have a super broke horse that will perform exactly as well as I allow. Overall disappointed in myself for giving him a mediocre ride, but still very proud of how he handled it and moved on without question.

I didn’t get home until 9p that night after trailering back and getting Frankie settled in and my tack cleaned, and I fell asleep before I even finished lying down in bed haha. Luckily, we didn’t have to leave the barn until 11a the next day so I got to sleep in!

He still went down for a nap as soon as we arrived. And had opinions about being woken up.

The sleep definitely helped (both of us). I had one or two flyers in the warmup that Trainer swiftly put the kibosh on, and we went in for our II.2.b (immediate jumpoff) round.

Saturday’s course

If we’re friends on Facebook, you already saw the video I posted of this round (and if we’re not, why aren’t we?!). Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it yet:

Short version: Francis. Was. A. Star. Jump 2 to 3 walked in a bending 7 but we did a more direct and forward 6, I got a little up on 5a but he powered out the 2 stride, 8 to 9 walked in a balanced 6 and I didn’t steady enough so we got a VERY flowing 5. So certainly not even close to perfect, but Frankie was forward and eager and listening and obedient and all those good things. And we went clear so we got to jump off! In case it’s hard to see on the diagram, the jumpoff was 9-6-7-8-10a-10b-11. All very standard- we had a rail at 8 where I asked for the close spot and he just nicked it slightly, then we stayed inside 1 and 6 to set up a more efficient turn up to the combo, and then we left out a stride over 11 to gallop out in 6 instead of the 7 we had put in the first round.

I was dripping with sweat but happy as a clam. It was redemption from Friday for sure. I felt like I was making better decisions and Francis was responding beautifully.

Powerful and muscley and shiny and amazing and omg I love him so much

I also got to see Jen and Cally go in the sidesaddle! Is there anything better than meeting up with blog friends?? Both of them performed wonderfully- you can tell how hard they’ve been working, and Cally was such a queen. Jen even let me hop on for a quick WTC in the sidesaddle! New goal: do sidesaddle on Francis. It was such a weird sensation, but super fun to try something new. Maybe we’ll be in the ring together next year for the sidesaddle classes πŸ˜‰ Enjoy seeing a short clip of Cally being very tolerant with me!

And then Sunday. I have mixed feelings about Sunday. Not about Frankie obviously- he was a little more tired but was really nicely balanced and lovely to ride. But there was kinda a lot going on for me mentally.

For one- upset stomach. Like really really not comfortable, regretting ever eating any food, could not talk about food or smell it or anything. Part of that I think was from eating something that disagreed with me.

But the other part was definitely nerves. Which was kinda new for me. I’ve gotten jittery anxious energy before, but I rarely get full-on nervous. I don’t like it. 0/10 would not recommend.

Luckily I have a trainer who knows me extremely well and knows how to work me through it. When we were watching some rounds go in the Children’s before my class, she went, “Hmm. The jumps look like they’re set lower than yesterday.” Since she is the Alpha and Omega to me at shows, I immediately believed her and felt better because the jumps totally looked lower! Looking back- I have my doubts. I think they were set pretty normally. But she knew that I needed some reassurance that it was well within our skill set. By the time I hopped on, I was feeling a lot better and ready to go.

Trotting into the ring looking like a hunka chunka beefcake omg
Sunday’s course

Ok so funny story. I was pretty concerned about the turn from 2 to 3. That’s super early on course for a combo, away from the in gate, and historically we struggle more turning left. Repeat after me: OLIVIA STOP LIVING IN THE PAST. I was so concerned with that left turn, in fact, that I continued turning left after 3a and missed 3b altogether. Frankie was a little confused at the track but totally game for it! Legit just straight up bad steering hahaha. Circled back and made it through just fine, and was quite happy with the rest of the course. I was especially happy with the combo 10abc- we haven’t done a triple since Team Finals last August, but we got in powerfully and he pressed out wonderfully.


So overall: some really great moments, some struggles to work through, but I could not be any more grateful for my horse. We nailed every combo (when I actually steered) which is something I so badly wanted to improve upon. We went and made different mistakes. And every single time we walked in the ring, I had complete faith that Frankie would be there with me every step of the way. We’ve spent so much time and effort getting him up to speed- now it’s time to get myself up to his level!

The most amazing horse in the world ❀


24 thoughts on “Upperville 2018

  1. KateRose 06/11/2018 / 9:41 am

    Good boy Frankie πŸ™‚ Sounds like a great outing for you both. Sidesaddle kind of freaks me out but I think sidesaddle riders are total BAMFs


    • hellomylivia 06/12/2018 / 7:15 am

      My trainer has done it in the past, so now I’m just pestering her about giving me an official lesson hahaha


  2. Allison @ Pony Reboot 06/11/2018 / 12:03 pm

    Sounds like you had a great experience! Working out the kinks after a move-up is always interesting but you are doing awesome and he’s taking such good care of you πŸ™‚


    • hellomylivia 06/12/2018 / 7:16 am

      He is seriously such a caretaker at heart, he learned the ropes so quickly and now he’s turned around and is teaching me!


  3. CallyJumps 06/11/2018 / 12:04 pm

    You guys have made such amazing progress together! It’s so good to see it all coming together for you guys, and I would be so tickled to see you aside next year πŸ™‚


    • hellomylivia 06/12/2018 / 7:16 am

      Frankie told me he has a crush on Cally and wants to impress her with his sidesaddle skills. I gotta give him what he wants, ya know?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Liz 06/11/2018 / 12:42 pm

    Damn is he one hott hunka chunka beefcake. ❀


  5. Tracy 06/11/2018 / 2:43 pm

    Man, it’s so cool to see you guys learning and improving so much!


  6. Stacie Seidman 06/11/2018 / 3:03 pm

    That Frankie! He’s the best! So the nerves thing… They just show up for me randomly. Like I got to jump my friend’s horse the other day, and I was kind of afraid to go canter a 2’6″ vertical. And the horse is 17.3. So basically a cavalletti for him right? Nerves are dumb. I’m glad your trainer helped you right on through that, and everything went well after the small steering issue. You two are killing it out there!


    • hellomylivia 06/12/2018 / 7:17 am

      Nerves are SO dumb. Thank goodness for Mr. Confidence Boost over here, he’s the bestest boy!!


  7. Abby F 06/11/2018 / 3:47 pm

    It was good to see you! Glad I got to see your round in person Saturday! You both looked super!


    • hellomylivia 06/12/2018 / 7:17 am

      So so great to see you!! Hope we get to meet up again soon!


  8. Alex 06/13/2018 / 12:28 pm

    Man, you guys were flying in that video! It’s crazy what your mental state can do for you, isn’t it? I’m glad you have a trainer that knows what to say though. Just a few words can help that anxiety go down a bit.


    • hellomylivia 06/13/2018 / 12:31 pm

      Francis has definitely learned how to pick up the pace!! And for realz, sometimes it just takes one little thing to tweak that mindset for the better.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. draftmare 06/13/2018 / 2:07 pm

    Sounds like an awesome show! Loved watching the videos.


    • hellomylivia 06/13/2018 / 2:14 pm

      I love getting videos, I don’t get them nearly as often as I’d like!


  10. carey 06/13/2018 / 5:33 pm

    Why, I just ran Cosmo to nothing this morning! It happens. Sounds like a great, long, tiring, educational, wonderful show weekend. πŸ™‚


    • hellomylivia 06/14/2018 / 12:17 pm

      It was exactly that! And one of these days I’ll stop running at nothing…


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