WEC 2019: The Rides

I’ll be honest with all y’all, I had a hard time sitting down to write this post. Not for any emotional reason – like I said earlier, I had a total blast and was super happy with my rounds, learned a ton, etc. But as this blog has grown and evolved, I’ve moved away from a round-by-round analysis as my own mindset and training philosophies have changed. I find it much more useful to consider a show as a whole and look for patterns, rather than fully dissecting what went right or wrong in each round. That worked fantastically for me for a long time and I’m glad I did it, but times and perspectives change.

That being said, I do want to share some of the course diagrams with you, talk about what I found good and bad in there, talk about some of those patterns that I noticed throughout the week, and a bit about the competition itself.

First I’ll kick off by talking about Tuesday and Wednesday, where I didn’t show but I did hop on for a brief lesson with Belle. We were able to go into the Sanctuary (the big jumper ring) both days to string together a few jumps instead of being stuck on a single in the warmup ring, but no full courses either day. Basically my thoughts are that I don’t particularly like flatting this horse. There’s nothing wrong with her, she’s not trying to do anything bad, but it wasn’t fun and interesting in the way it is with Frankie. She had a very VERY clear attitude that it was a necessary evil to get out of the way. But once we started jumping? Big fat grin on my face. She was a BLAST. Much much more forward than I’m used to and much harder to pull up off the last fence, but she locked on and carried me every step. I felt much more confident about heading into the show ring with her on Thursday.

My first schooling class at 0.80m on Thursday
And my second schooling class on Thursday at 1.0m

Notice how similar they are? Honestly these are both basically hunter courses with some combos and an end jump thrown in: bending, outside, bending, outside. Not a ton of places for inside turns which is fine, they were just schooling rounds to get used to the ring and each other. Clear in the first round and a single rail in the second where I didn’t quite give a generous enough release. I noticed that we had a pretty strong right drift, which is interesting to me since Frankie has such a strong left drift.

This was also my first full round jumping 1.0m since probably August or September, since Frankie and I haven’t jumped at height in a good long time! I definitely got a bit fetal in places when she jumped hard, but by the end I was feeling much more confident about the height and it wasn’t an issue again.

Schooling class at 1.0m on Friday before our division started

This was another really soft course in my eyes. There really isn’t that much to say, it’s another glorified hunter course. I had to sit back pretty hard in the lines to help her fit it in, but she went clear for another blue ribbon round.

Our first Low division class!

I was hoping that the division courses might be a little more intense, but I didn’t really get my wish. I had one rail at 10a that I’m actually not at all mad about – she was trying to blow through my hand and leave a stride out to the combo (UM NO MA’AM) and I had to check her pretty hard to get her back under me. Checking her earlier would’ve saved the rail, but I’m glad we at least got the job done and rode the striding. That rail was enough to bump us to 5th out of I think 8th. I’m thrilled that we weren’t last considering how rusty I was!

I forgot to take a picture of the course for our speed round on Saturday, but I have something better: video! Monica came for a visit and was there to see us go in the ring. Funnily enough, this was probably the round that I was least happy with all week. Still happy with it in many parts, but there were several sticky moments where Belle 100% bailed me out of trouble.

She was definitely the most tired in this round out of the entire week, and I didn’t adjust my riding enough to that. You can see that 2 was an OHCRAP moment, we left one out for a launcher at 6, and it was a bit of a wrestle to fit in the stride to the last jump. Other than that, there were some great moments! You can definitely see that right drift, and me doing approximately zero to correct it. Womp. Overall her majesty did manage to take us clear and fast, and she earned us a second place in this round. Queen Mare is a Queen.

Also this was my first show with my hair in a braid and I hate how it looks swinging around so BRB going to chop it all off.


Which brings us to classic day! I was expecting a tired pony again, but certainly did not get it. I think only doing one class on Saturday was just enough of a break for her.

Classic round from Sunday

Everything rode in a 7 here. Legit every related track you see was a 7 stride (except 3-4 which was 8. But that I rode in a 7). I was super bummed to have a rail at fence 1 – I think I just didn’t help get her eyes on it quickly enough, because it was a good spot and she jumped well out of stride. Other than that, this course rode wonderfully and was our best one of the week. I was able to rate her stride to get just the jumps I wanted, I controlled the right drift at least a little, and our turns were super efficient.

Luckily, tons of other people got rails in this class too (I mean, luckily for me, not for them). Only two people made it to the jump off and we were the fastest 4-faulters, which earned us a big pretty yellow ribbon!

It’s the one directly over her left ear. My friend took some shmancy ribbon pics with us, I’ll share when I get them!

I’m beyond thrilled with all of these placings. I was able to knock the rust off after over 7 months out of the show ring, navigate at 1.0m on a strange horse with some solid rounds, and felt confident and positive all week long.

I’m so happy that we had Belle in the barn, not only for me but for her. She got to have turnout every day which is unusual for her, we got her a massage on Saturday, and she was fed and groomed and loved on with a lot of care and attention. Our barn has a reputation for returning our leases in better shape than we got them, and she 100% deserved that as well. She had to put up with a lot with a rusty ammy in the irons, so I’m glad she seemed to enjoy pampering that came along with it.

This was exactly the show that I needed to boost my confidence and make showing fun again after a season of some pretty intense burnout. I’m feeling great and ready to get back out there with my bestest boy to tackle some new adventures!




12 thoughts on “WEC 2019: The Rides

  1. Stacie Seidman 03/01/2019 / 10:41 am

    What a great week! You two look like you’re having a blast, and you even got to bring home lots of pretty satin! I love the ribbons there, they’re so fancy!


    • hellomylivia 03/01/2019 / 11:23 am

      The ribbons are so pretty!! We had so much fun and I got to learn so much ❤


  2. Genny - A Gift Horse Blog 03/01/2019 / 12:05 pm

    She looks so fun!! Glad to hear you guys had a great time getting to know each other 🙂

    Also – is it trendy to leave your hair out? Or did it not fit in your helmet? I’m super out of loop on cool jumper stuff, so legit asking lol.


    • hellomylivia 03/01/2019 / 12:33 pm

      I’m seeing it more often, but I think it’s more due to helmet fit than anything else – that’s why I’m doing it! My new helmet just fits much more safely with it out. I’m sure some people do it for the look, but I think the research coming out and conversations about helmet fit are more of a driver


      • Genny - A Gift Horse Blog 03/01/2019 / 3:04 pm

        Super interesting!! That’s why I wanted to know. I recently chopped all my hair off and it changed how my helmet fits for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Centered in the Saddle 03/04/2019 / 11:17 am

    So fun! What a great week. Makes me want to go out and show ASAP!

    So funny about the braid/helmet thing. I have SUPER thick hair so I’ve never liked putting it all the way in my helmet. (I either have to get a huge helmet and always put my hair in it, or shove my hair into a properly fitting helmet that then cuts into my forehead and give me a killer headache.) I now opt for the hairnet option, so it’s more of a bun (or sometimes a braid shoved into a hairnet) tucked at the base of my neck. I don’t get the braid/ponytail flop, and I also have a comfortable (and safe) head. However I also chopped off all my hair since my last show so at this point everything I just said is mostly moot because it doesn’t fit into a braid anymore haha.


    • hellomylivia 03/04/2019 / 2:46 pm

      I’m gearing up to chop mine off and I may have to do something similar! It may not be long enough for a braid, but you will have to pry my beloved hairnet out of my cold dead hands.


      • Centered in the Saddle 03/05/2019 / 10:18 am

        I’ve been told this is known as the “post-wedding chop.” Apparently it’s a thing.


  4. Austen 03/04/2019 / 4:06 pm

    Love that you guys take such great care of your leases. I definitely see a lot of horses sad about their lack of turnout on the show circuit, and it makes me happy when they can get out. 🙂


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