Tuesday 1 March 2016

MREC 2 Phase Event

We pulled into the Maple Ridge Equi Sports Center later on Saturday night. First impressions, the facility was a little older, but well cared for. The haul in stabling got an A+ from me and the pony. A nice cosy wooden shedrow box stall out of the rain and giant heap of shavings nearby to make the pony comfortable for the night. Once we finished moving in, I was please to discover there was a on site pub and had a drink and a huge yummy dinner. I have no idea why more horse places don't have pubs on site, you'd think it'd be a win/win.

This stall is pony approved

My dressage test was the first one of the day the following morning. The logistics of that were a little awkward. The weather was once again absolutely horrible, so daylight was a long time coming. If there were any lit arenas to warm up in, I didn't see them. Also, I needed to pick up my numbers and sign waivers at the show office which didn't open til 45min before my ride time. So, things were a little rushed and frantic and I didn't get on the pony until about 15 minutes before my ride time.

Midge felt tired, and again a bit distracted. Our test was on the far corner of the grounds, and at that time of the morning, we were alone over there. The rain was torrential, and the wind kept blowing the letters over. I guess the bonus to that being the judge couldn't tell Midge ran out of gas a little before the letters a couple of times. Our test overall felt better than the day before, but we had a serious problem both canters (wrong lead corrected in the transition on one, then tired pony who broke to trot halfway through our circle on the second). Score was an eventing dressage 53 (62 again in 'real' dressage %) placing us 5/8.

We had to wait around a bit for the jumping. Again, both of us were soaked through, cold and miserable - while the people and the facility were awesome the weather just sucked! As I sat there, I mentally thanked Kate for her awesome blog post about the cost of improvement. Thank you Kate for helping me to stay motivated! Bloggers are the best!

Slightly damp jump course

The jumping was awesome - they had regular stadium jumps, but had also brought in some xc jumps too! Such a cool idea. Sadly, the starter (2'3") level didn't have any cross country jumps included in the course, so it was strictly stadium rounds for me.

And, on to the jumping. This is when it became really obvious Midge was DONE. She was a good girl and jumped everything, but we mostly trotted everything and I'm sure it looked all kinds of awkward. I think a part of it was just her being careful/cautious/unsure with new jumps in a new venue, but the largest part was just that the poor pony had zero gas left in the tank. We ended up with 4.5 time penalties, even though I'm fairly certain I have never used so much leg in my life. Our final score had 4 additional jump faults, which I am sure was a mistake, so theoretically we should have stayed in 5th rather than the 7th we got. Not worried about it at all though.  I've got to say the people at the venue were amazing - even though we didn't know anyone, I'm pretty sure Midge got the biggest round of applause of the day :)

Although I was pumped about the xc jumps, I opted out of the 2'6" round because it would have been completely unfair to the pony. I took her back to the barn and tucked her in with a full hay net with apples hidden inside. We still had a long day ahead as my barn mates and coach still had to ride, not to mention the 3 hour or so trip home.
Extra pony pic from Sat, before the rain drenched us

From a competitive standpoint, I'm admittedly a little disappointed in our results through the weekend. I didn't think I was an overly competitive person, but I guess I sort of am :) When I got home and checked the scores, though, I noticed that everyone but two of us were using the starter division as a warmup for higher divisions, so maybe I don't need to feel bad about how green we looked compared to everyone else!  From an 'our first away shows' standpoint I'm beyond pleased. We both showed up and did our jobs, now it's just a matter of fine tuning and being a little more confident out there.

Take aways:

-I need to work on Midge's fitness.
-I need to chill out and not stress. We've got this.
-More work needed in the canter. We're 100% improved, but it's still our weakest point by far.
-The pony is 150% honest to anything I point her at jump wise.
-Why do I not own a waterproof coat?
-Camping in Feb is cold no matter what part of the country you're in.
-I don't need to worry so much about courses and dressage tests, I remembered all three without issues.
-I had a previously undiscovered talent for calling dressage tests.
-Large-ish shows are not nearly as confusing/intimidating as I thought they might be.
-My barn mates and coach are awesome - so supportive and helpful, and talked me off the ledge multiple times throughout the weekend.
-I wouldn't say this was a fun weekend, or that I'm hooked on the whole showing thing, but I'm intrigued. There is potential for fun :)
-I wouldn't trade my pony for event he most talented eventers in our barn. She was easy to deal with, she did her job with minimal drama and most importantly, she's the cutest.

Next big outing: Possibly a return to this same show series mid March, barring that, definitely a 4 day eventing clinic in mid April. I'm SO excited for the clinic.



  1. Rotten luck that the weather was so bad! But, you came, you rode, you survived! You stayed on the pony and jumped all the jumps, and sometimes that's worth celebrating!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I am super happy with the pony, she's such a little star to pack me around so carefully all weekend:)

  2. Gah, she is adorable. I am glad she was such a well behaved girl. And yes, you certainly should own a waterproof coat!

    1. She was amazing. Maybe Midge and I should have matching waterproof coasts lol

  3. Midge is such a cutie! I'm glad the show wasn't a bust.

    1. It was a great learning experience!

  4. For me, with dressage, it's not so much about the placing as it is about the score - I want to be perfect and when I'm not I get disappointed. especially when I don't show as well as I think we train. I have learned over the years that you are rarely as good at a show as you are training at home. I also learned that it's good to school tests (even if they aren't the 'real ones') because at home I don't ask for a transition unless it feels good but a show you don't have that luxury so I need to practice getting it right at home. Not sure if that made any sense.

    And seriously? A PUB on show grounds? That is so civilized!

    1. I'm sold on the pub thing. It's now a requirement or future outings ;)
      Thank you for the tips - yes a little disappointing to make mistakes you wouldn't normally make at home, but all part of the learning process, I guess.

  5. i'm sorry the results weren't exactly what you were hoping for - but it really sounds like a pretty great weekend (except for the weather, ew). actually, i would guess that if it were sunny and pleasant out, the whole experience might have felt a little brighter. anyway congrats on making it through and setting a pretty great baseline for what you can expect from the Ms Midget Pony at future events!!!

    1. Sunshine would have made everything better!

  6. The weather was definitely not on your side, which sure doesn't help things!!

  7. Glad you enjoyed my post. :) I think this was still a great experience for you both. Excited to hear about your next one! Mystic and I are working on fitness now too.... mostly my fitness haha
    I think we need to meet up in October at the MREC event then! At the pub :D