Lake Placid 2018: The Riding

Here’s the quick and dirty version for those of you in a rush: I rode poorly overall but did have one round I was happy with. Frankie was the bestest beast on the planet (obviously) no matter what his pilot was doing. It was stunningly gorgeous and while it was challenging and a bit overwhelming, it was a wonderful show and I would recommend it to anyone.

For the sake of not hitting you with a 3k word post, I’ll split this out into 2-3 different topics.

I’ll start with the actual riding!

Frankie went in for a schooling round with my Trainer on Tuesday (while I was driving up) to let him get in the ring and see the place. Because we all know that the big guy really needs time to look around. Hah. When I arrived and asked if he was settling in ok, both Trainer and AT just looked at me and said, “Olivia, when does he not??” The angst. He does not has it. I got to see the video of him going around and he looked fine. A bit unfocused perhaps, but nothing crazy or worrisome. AT always does such a great job of using those rounds as a real schooling opportunity.


I was able to lesson in one of the schooling rings on Wednesday where we did mostly flatwork and a few small jumps. Frankie felt AMAZING. Super obedient, bendy, and giving me everything I asked for. Our lateral work feels like it has come SO so so far- haunches-in/out and shoulder-in/out was much more prompt and less of a wiggly wrestling match. We iz learning gud. We cooled out by going on a trail ride down to the river, which may be one of my favorite parts of this show. All the fancy ponies were so happy to go out in nature and relax! Frankie seemed content to lead the way, snorting happily the whole time.

We had matching big bay geldings

Then Thursday was the first class of our division, a jumpoff round that they turned into a straight speed round due to weather (wet. It was wet.).

Waiting our turn in the rain, bein super cute.
Reppin’ the gang while we waited for the course walk.

It was a fairly straightforward course. That I rode like a potato. I got SUPER long to the first oxer, which told Frankie that I had no idea what I was doing, and I never quite got him balanced underneath me after that. We smashed our way through the two-stride. I did the last line with one stirrup. “We made it out alive” is about the best I can say about it.

Honestly the last two jumps were the two best jumps because I was in survival mode. I told Trainer to just start sending me in without stirrups, I ride a MILLION TIMES BETTER.

So yeah. Disappointing because it was like I completely forgot how to ride. Frankie was a trooper, but he should not have had to put up with that. Extra pats for pony.

On to Friday. Where the nerves showed up because I thought Frankie would justifiably be like UM NO to everything. Not sure why I thought that because he has literally never shown that inclination, but I was super sure that he hated me. I’m not saying it was logical.

I was holding it together ok until I was partially tacked up. And then I had to wait a few minutes before bridling and heading to the ring. And fun fact about me is that the waiting is what makes me more nervous than anything. So when Trainer said to hold off for 5 minutes, I stood up, walked out of the tent, and puked.


30 seconds later I got on the horse and had a really great warmup and then a round that I was quite happy with. One rail in the speed phase of the power and speed put us just out of the ribbons but it was definitely redemption from Thursday.

The jumps were big, the spreads were wide, and Frankie absolutely flew. 

Our combos were accurate, we made decisions, I tipped a bit with my shoulders a few times but it worked out ok because my horse is a prince, and it was definitely the confidence boost I needed.

Lots of pics of me on Frankie with one hand on my leg. Weather was nicer on Friday!

We were completely done by 10am (I was the first class in the ring with a 7:30a start), so I spent the rest of the day doing touristy stuff with my momma (I’ll share that stuff in another post!).

On to Saturday.

Ah, Saturday.

So my class on Saturday was the last of the day in the big grass Grand Prix field, going around 5p. Meaning I had all day to work myself up.

And work myself up I certainly did. I basically had a meltdown about how I was not capable of doing this, I was panicked about going on the grass, EVERYTHING IS BAD FOREVER AND I AM TERRIBLE. I haven’t had an attack of nerves like that since I was a kid. It was ridiculous and frankly embarrassing. I’m only telling you this because y’all are my people and it would feel dishonest to say that everything was sunshine and rainbows and I am a beacon of emotional fortitude. I ain’t.

After much urging, I called Trainer to basically word vomit that I am a potato rider who can’t do anything right. And she is the actual best. She reaffirmed her confidence in both my and my horse’s abilities, she wanted us to go have fun, and basically reminded me that I am not terrible and everything is not bad.

There should be a special award for trainers of ridiculous ammies. She deserves one for literally being my sports therapist.

So by the time I got to the barn I was still nervous, but in a much better place. I was gonna go out there and ride my beloved animal who probably has more experience going on grass than most of the other horses there (hello foxhunting and eventing careers), and we were gonna have a blast. The mimosa I had during the course walk helped too.

Peep me last in line.

So between my Trainer talking me off the ledge, AT making me laugh ’til I forgot I was nervous, and the healing powers of champagne, I was actually excited to go Do The Thing.

We headed to the warmup and were doing rather well- Frankie was right there with me giving me everything I asked for.

And then I tipped my shoulders at a jump that I really should not have tipped my shoulders at (sound familiar? From Thursday?) and toppled right off the side. And took off Frankie’s entire bridle as I went. Womp womp.

Continuing his bid for sainthood, Frankie just stood there looking perplexed as someone said LOOSE HORSE and people helped me up. I’m 100% fine, just a little sore on my shoulder where I rolled. We quickly got his bridle back on and put me back in the saddle.

But at that point I started riding REALLY defensively. I took a few more jumps to confirm that we could still do it, and then opted to scratch. At that height, on a new footing, with all the hoopla around it, I needed to be able to help my horse out and I was not at all in a place where I was confident in my abilities to do that.

So that was definitely disappointing. I got myself into the right mental zone just in time to bungle it up before even stepping foot in the ring.

But on the flip side, I tried. I had spent the morning panicking, but I still got on the horse and I tried. And after I fell off I got BACK on the horse and kept trying. So while it didn’t go according to plan, I’m going to take that as a victory.

If that all sounds like a rollercoaster, it’s because it absolutely was. I had nerves rear their ugly head in a major way that hasn’t happened in almost 15 years, I didn’t ride to the best (or even the medium) of my abilities, I had my second tumble off Francis. It was definitely not how I hoped to go in the ring for such a major show.

But I also pushed through the nerves to give it a go, learned a lot about what kind of warmup we need to go in and do well, and I got to ride the best horse on the planet. No matter how all-over-the-place I was, Frankie was my constant the entire time. He really is an incredible animal.

So at the end of the day, I feel like one majorly lucky girl.



Next up: more about the area, the showgrounds as a whole, and getting to spend time with my momma!

24 thoughts on “Lake Placid 2018: The Riding

  1. Centered in the Saddle 07/02/2018 / 9:41 am

    The mental side can be so tough. Sometimes when I get really nervous I force myself to frame it as an opportunity to practice having mental strength, just like I do planks for my core strength. It sounds like you were able to practice that, too! And what a star Frankie is. I love him and I’ve never even met him.


    • hellomylivia 07/02/2018 / 12:06 pm

      That’s exactly what my trainer said- this was a chance to practice my guts!! And thank goodness for Frankie, he is such an absolute wonder ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Allison @ Pony Reboot 07/02/2018 / 9:52 am

    I am just like you, if I have all day to think about things I just turn myself into an absolute mess, and after crappy rides it can be so hard to believe in yourself. I’m glad your trainer was so helpful and good for you for getting back on and reminding yourself immediately that you CAN do it. You are now armed with that knowledge for next time, at least! It’s a pretty big deal how far you’ve come.


    • hellomylivia 07/02/2018 / 12:06 pm

      It’s that hurry up and wait that’s so crazy mentally! Thank you so much for the sweet words ❤


  3. the_everything_pony 07/02/2018 / 10:00 am

    Ahhh man I am so sorry. I am a nervous wreck at shows too. I remember seriously freaking out before one and it actually took a beer to calm me down because thank you alcohol lol. I agree with you though – you DID try and you DID get back on. That mental game is just what really really really sucks ❤


  4. martidoll123 07/02/2018 / 11:53 am

    i want to puke along with you just reading all that. Our nerves can be a pain for sure…UGH I am glad even with all that you had a good time and yes your trainer deserves sainthood for sure HA!

    Great job (come on you did it!!) and Frankie is a love….love his expression! 🙂


  5. roamingridersite 07/02/2018 / 12:00 pm

    Oh man, sorry the outing wasn’t what you had hoped for but it sounds like you have a great perspective on it all. I get nervous over 18″ jumps so I can’t even begin to imagine doing what you do.


    • hellomylivia 07/02/2018 / 12:08 pm

      AT has a saying that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but you always learn. This was definitely full of good learning for us!


  6. tntibbetts 07/02/2018 / 12:18 pm

    Have you ever used a sports psychologist? I’m still embarrassing myself in the 2’6″ ring, but am seriously considering engaging a mental coach for riding. I tend to have the opposite problem from most people; I spend all this time and money and I don’t really care how I place. There is a happy medium and I want to ride well, but a little internal push towards competitiveness would help!

    I’m glad you are both OK and riding is certainly ALWAYS a learning experience.


    • hellomylivia 07/03/2018 / 7:26 am

      I haven’t used one, but I’m definitely considering it! I have a few friends who really swear by it and I’ve absolutely seen a difference in their mental approach.


  7. Genny - A Gift Horse Blog 07/02/2018 / 1:50 pm

    The mental side of showing is 100x scarier than the actually jumps out there! We are truly our own worst enemies. BUT, you totally stepped up and handled yourself. You obviously love the sport, your horse, and seem to ready to tackle whatever is next. That’s the good stuff. 🙂


    • hellomylivia 07/03/2018 / 7:26 am

      That mental game is TOUGH! Luckily I’ve got a unicorn to help me out ❤


  8. Elizabeth 07/02/2018 / 2:06 pm

    Definitely good on you though for pushing through the nerves enough to get on and at least warm up (and get back on after the fall)! I was going to say the same as Genny, that we are our own worst enemies. Riding is just as much mental as it is physical. Hopefully you can take all the good from this experience and remember that you really CAN do it! ❤


    • hellomylivia 07/03/2018 / 7:27 am

      Definitely lots of good to take away and learn from- and at the end of the day, I get to ride a wonderful horse in some beautiful places 🙂 Can’t beat that!


  9. sarahczspots 07/02/2018 / 2:10 pm

    We all have these days in one way or another. I just flat around on a dead broke QH and get nerves out of no where sometimes, much less jumping big sticks! You need to give yourself more credit, you’ve come a long way in a short amount of time!


    • hellomylivia 07/03/2018 / 7:28 am

      Thank you! I sometimes get impatient and wish that I could progress more quickly, so it’s good to have the reminder that we really are forging ahead haha


  10. Stacie Seidman 07/02/2018 / 10:14 pm

    It’s just the most annoying/frustrating thing ever when nerves show up. Especially when it seems like it’s for no good reason. And then they get in the way and kind of give you a reason. Worst. But you got on and did the thing. I’m sure you’re going to work through those nerves and be just fine for the next show. I’m guessing all the stress from everything else going on in your life has just caught up with you.
    I’m glad you have Frankie. He’ll help you through the angst, and you’ll both be back to killing it in no time!


    • hellomylivia 07/03/2018 / 7:29 am

      Illogical nerves are SO ANNOYING for my engineer brain. Does not compute. I definitely think all the hecticness may have caught up with me, but you’re absolutely right- thank goodness for Frankie, he’s my steady reminder to have fun!


  11. Tracy 07/03/2018 / 5:49 pm

    I’m so sorry this show didn’t go how you’d hoped — but I truly appreciate your honesty! We’ve ALL been there, and while it really sucks, props for still getting on, getting back on and making the best decisions for both you and Frankie. Here’s to a better next show!!


    • hellomylivia 07/05/2018 / 9:26 am

      Despite the ups and downs, I will say that overall it was a positive experience! I mean honestly, Frankie makes everything better.


  12. Rachel - For Want of a Horse 07/09/2018 / 9:56 am

    Playing a little catch up on your blog and just now saw this. I am sorry that you fell. Tipping is my major problem and Winifred does NOT appreciate it! I feel ya on the nerves. I am not a puker but I am a crier. It took everything I had last show to hold back my tears! But hey, we both lived through it and I know that I am more confident for my show coming up and sounds like you are too! Ammy Strong!


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