Spring Bay 2017: Cross Country

I tossed and turned all night on Saturday. I wasn’t so much worried about the fact that we were running novice but rather super anxious to run in general. Turns out I need not have worried. Annie dominated the course despite me. Unfortunately I forgot to use Course Walk when I walked the course… And even more unfortunate is that my stupid Cambox wouldn’t cooperate. Also can’t seem to determine if there was a show photographer. Super thankful that Rachel Lynn Creative got the shot below.

All that matters though is that we finished on a number and not a letter. We didn’t have the most pretty run. There were plenty of learning moments for both of us but when the going got tough Annie took over and really packed me around. I picked at the distances and got her to some bad spots and she still jumped with all of her heart. That cannot be taught.

We still ended well out of the ribbons but moved up 10 places to finish in 15th place. Not too shabby considering the division had 25 people and we were in last place going into the day. 

We have a lot to work on but despite the ugly bits I still crossed through those flags with a grin on my face and an unexplainable amount of gratitude for the little red dragon. Not sure what is on the docket next but I am sure we will only continue to improve! ūüôā

Continue Reading

Spring Bay 2017: Dressage and SJ

This weekend was spent in Lexington, KY at Spring Bay HT. This event was a bit of a brain jam for me as the last time I competed there was with Houston and we were eliminated on XC. I was determined to come away from the weekend with a number not a letter though!

jdpanicThe weekend got off to a not so great start when my TPM light came on. It turns out I ran over a screw and had to handle that mess before getting on the road. Shout out to my awesome barn owner who saved me like $350 by plugging my tire when the tire store said it wasn’t possible and that¬†I¬†would have to buy a new tire. pocgreat

Once I finally¬†made it to the KHP my anxiety kicked in full force. I¬†managed to¬†convince myself to get on the dragon and we actually had a pretty decent school before calling it a night.¬†I am not sure why I was so nervous because while our dressage is hideous it isn’t¬†dangerous. She’s not stupid she’s just opinionated.¬†¬†Saturday morning our ride time rolled around and Annie predictably was belligerent in the sand box. We secured our usual last place position and I felt pretty defeated about heading into stadium. pocworldend

Warm up arenas (for¬†SJ and¬†XC)¬†might be the worst part about horse shows. The entire time I am in one I feel like I am in a war zone. Annie was a super star though and warmed up great. All I had to do was SIT¬†¬†BACK FOR THE LOVE OF GOD and keep her stride compact. Guess what I didn’t do… Thankfully Annie was incredibly rideable in the hackamore and tried her heart out for me. Unfortunately I went into fetal position mode and picked at all of our distances which cost us 2 rails in stadium.¬† I was tired, frustrated, and honestly just poor company Saturday evening. pocstuKristen was kind enough to let Annie crash at her lovely little slice of Lexington on Saturday night. I am sure that Annie appreciated getting off the concrete at the KHP and getting to stretch her legs. I am saving the best for last and will talk about Annie’s XC beast mode/¬†my continuing inability to ride¬†tomorrow.

Continue Reading

Weekend Wrap Up: Poplar Place Schooling Show

This weekend was nothing if not eventful. On Friday I made the trek down to Poplar Place Farm for a 1 day 3 phase schooling show. I had never been before and I was taken back by how pretty it is.¬†That makes 3/3 of the bigger HT venues in GA that I have been to being gorgeous. Also¬†can I just say how much I appreciate a venue that has stall mats in paved stalls. Because this was a schooling show PPF allowed you to school cross country on Friday. This was exciting and also a bit scary as I have never ridden with Lauren’s trainer and it is hard enough to meet a new trainer in an arena let alone when you are out in the field and you have no idea if your ginger will be a good witch or a bad witch… Thankfully while Annie was a little fiery she was quite rideable and I was able to get a really good feel for LT and she for us. Poplar-RiverBirchTeam-100Of course because I shared how difficult Annie has been with her Annie was great –¬†albeit a little excitable but I mean who can blame her because ermahgerdddd JUMP ALL THE THINGS. We schooled what I will¬†say was a super weird little course and Annie of course dominated all of the jumps. I need to stop leaning (for the love of¬†god)¬†was my main take away. Annie is plenty bold but as LT said we are a teeter totter. If I lean Annie does as well and then we end up with a huge flat stride approaching the jumps. LT had a lot of other insights for me but I am going to have to break them down into separate¬†posts.¬†We wrapped up with a super confident school through a novice water question and prepped for the next day. Poplar-RiverBirchTeam-26It is no secret that dressage is a struggle for us. I went from riding a horse that was literally top 3 after dressage¬†to a horse that is almost always in last place after our test. Annie is unlike any horse that I have ridden and obviously is my first truly green one off the track (even though not actually raced).¬†She is very very smart and sensitive and while we have made leaps and bounds in our training we have so far to go. I will Poplar-RiverBirchTeam-30That said when we were warming up I was not sure how our test would go. She was pretty well behaved but normally the nerves in the arena have me riding her like a motorcycle with the wheels falling off. She totally surprised me and kept her thinking cap on. I was very nervous though¬†and did some bad geometry and almost forgot my test (apparently a theme for the day but more on that later) but she rocked. Obviously nothing was perfect but we scored a 38.25 for an almost 10 pt improvement on our score from Feather Creek. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish this year. Poplar-RiverBirchTeam-96Stadium unfortunately left a lot to be desired and while I was able to ride it I apparently couldn’t ride and remember all of the jumps simultaneously which resulted in a TE. I could have run XC but as we schooled all of the jumps on Friday I opted to save her for another day rather than run a weird course with 12 jumps since we couldn’t place anyways. Poplar-RiverBirchTeam-102I ended up with a layover at LT’s barn Saturday night and a couple of training rides but more on that later this week. Did you guys have eventful weekends too?



Continue Reading

Moving Up

img_3190This past weekend Annie and I made the move from BN to N. Having never done an event in Area 5 I have nothing to compare it to but overall I really liked Feather Creek as a venue. Minus the previously mentioned burrs. Those things… Like any horse show I had to get rations… Wine on wine on wine. img_3222Unfortunately I was not as prepared as I usually am for the cold weather for myself or the horse! Somehow I moved my blankets out of the tack room of my trailer. Bobby to the rescue though! ¬†Riding on Friday didn’t go the best. Annie was tense and really uninterested in playing. I did my best to ignore her antics and say a little prayer that she would be more game for our actual test.img_3240Going into Saturday I was more nervous that usual. Annie was surprisingly good in dressage warm up and I unfortunately got so excited about the right lead canter circle that I just kept on going – the tornado sirens being tested did not inspire soothing feelings either. We finished our test with an error but it was all on me. ¬†img_3232

I have to say that the move really didn’t concern me until we were actually about to go into the ring for Stadium and then I freaked out. Incase you were wondering not breathing, dropping your horse at the base of the jump, and throwing yourself onto said horses neck makes for a hideous round. We still moved up after stadium by some miracle but I was not proud of the ride.img_3248

If only I rode stadium like I rode cross country… On Friday night Bobby and I did our first course walk… Having never had a trakehner on course I stupidly walked up to it. Cue panic. Bobby found me in a nervous sweat staring at the death pit. Lesson learned. Give the trakehner a wide berth on all course walks.¬†img_3216I need not have worried though because Annie is a perfect rock star and attacked all of the cross country jumps like a pro! She is an absolute machine. We finished at the bottom of the pack but it was a learning experience that ended with a number and not a letter.

img_3214To summarize I need to ride better and Annie is a super star even if she can be a little belligerent about dressage. We have allll winter to focus on improving our flatwork.


Continue Reading

TN to OK

Well this weekend Annie and I completed our first Novice HT. There were ups and downs but I will go into more detail tomorrow. First off I wanted to share things I learned about Oklahoma this weekend…

There are burrs everywhere. It’s seriously a sticker trap and even pants and tall boots won’t keep you safe. They will attach to your skin, clothes, shoes, and especially your poor dogs paws.¬†No way no how could I handle that all the time.

It was fah reeeeeezing at night. Why god why?! I planned to camp this weekend and like an idiot decided that this horse show I wasn’t going to over pack. Well this left me freezing my butt off. And scurrying to find a store to buy more clothes at. I also realized that I want a Butler Bag like no bodies business. Bobby was all cozy and happy while I was crawling into my truck every night freezing to death.

It is a flat place and there is sure to be a casino approx every 10 miles… I guess that is how they lure people into the state? (Sorry Steph) Overall I think that it was a really good venue for our move up but I definitely don’t want to get in the car for a road trip anytime soon.

The area V contingent are pretty nice! All in all I met some really awesome people that were super friendly. Did you all have fun adventures this weekend?

Continue Reading

River Glen HT August 2016: Day 2

Coming into Sunday I was pretty disappointed in myself for not giving Annie better rides on Saturday. She is a great baby horse and even coming off a less than stellar dressage test we should have had no problem going clear over stadium.

I knew that we would be able to redeem ourselves on the cross country course though and boy did we ever! I did record my walk with the course walk app but for some reason the app lost some of my pictures and the GPS wasn’t cooperating.

Regardless I did remember to turn my helmet cam on and Annie was a machine. I seriously have never had as much fun on a horse as I do when I am out running cross country on her. Feast your eyes.

My apologies in advance for my mouth breathing and commentary haha.

Annie – River Glen BN XC from Hillary McMichael on Vimeo.

I should have pro pics to share later this week and this weekend we will actually be heading to GA for an Elisa Wallace clinic. I even get to meet up with a fun blogger too!

Continue Reading

River Glen HT August 2016: Day 1

Going into River Glen this past weekend I was admittedly a bit more nervous about dressage than I have been because Annie has been quite difficult on the flat recently. After lamenting to Amanda and Karen and discussing like every amazing Little Debbie treat naturally I stocked up to eat my feelings should that be necessary.

This show was my first time sleeping in the truck tent and I have to say that it was pretty awesome. No long drives back and forth from the hotel and I also made some new horse show friends too.¬†In dressage warm up Annie made it pretty clear she wasn’t super interested in playing. She wasn’t going to make any of it easy for me and actually threw a fairly impressive tantrum at one point. From there my goal was just to survive the sand box. I wanted to go in and out of my own accord.

Annie for the most part cooperated and I would actually say that the beginning of our test was not bad. But come time for the right lead everything went to hell in a hand basket. Despite knowing I would get an error I opted to circle twice and attempt to get the correct lead… we ended pretty tense and flustered. We got a very generous 45 but were still in last place.¬†Annie knew the stoopid sand box portion was over and was a perfect little horse for stadium. Unfortunately I got a bit too far forward to fence 6 and had a rail. This led to Annie jumping the bejesus out of fence 7 and I got really discombobulated/ went out to lunch and kinda forgot fence 8 and had to circle back. Annie of course would have been great if I hadn’t had pilot errors.¬†All in all we finished day 1 still in last place but with some good learning experiences. As I walked cross country I found myself wishing that I could have been running the novice course. Who am I?!

Can’t wait to share the pro pics once I have them as there are some winners for sure!

Continue Reading

Chatt Hills HT July 2016: Pro Pics Stadium

LCP_5158 After our improved dressage (even if our score didn’t reflect it) I was so excited to get to stadium and cross country. Annie grew up so much during our week in Tryon and I was excited to test her out so to speak. Plus she is always more game about jumping than dressage… Refer to yesterday.¬†LCP_5159 As we already knew Annie is a perfect little creature. We went into the ring and she was on it. When I walked I weighed a couple of different options and after the first jump I knew that I would be able to take more inside turns on my little sports car instead of the sweeping loopy track.¬†LCP_5160Towards the end of the course Annie was on auto pilot. I need to remember to ride and keep her tuned in but I was having so much fun. By the end of the course we ended with quite a big step and were flying.¬†LCP_5162 I was so happy when we finished the course. Things started to come together with us and I knew that the fun over fences was just starting!¬†LCP_5163

Continue Reading

Chatt Hills HT July 2016: Dressage Pro Pics

straight down the centerline

Last week I finally got pro pics from our last horse trial. The photographer got a lot of really nice shots. Surprisingly there were even enough giraffe free moments that there were actually dressage pictures that I like. Hopefully this trend will carry over this weekend at River Glen!

LCP_4419 LCP_4420LCP_4430 LCP_4429 LCP_4456In summary Annie gets better every time out. She still thinks dressage is STOOPID but she keeps trying for me! Even in the sweltering heat – I am going to have to rethink summer horse shows next year…

Continue Reading