When we started walking this course, I was typing things into my Course Walk app and my husband had the show brochure with course map. The BN course was black numbers on yellow background. As we approached the first jump, I was like, omg, this jump can’t be BN, can I see the book? Nope, it was definitely the right color. It was just huge.
While the jump wasn’t actually huge (I’m just terrified of cross country jumps), the whole course was maxed out. When I walked the Starter course at Camelot, I checked out the BN jumps and most of them looked doable. I was actually regretting not signing up for BN at Camelot. However, the jumps at Eventful Acres were terrifying.
Here’s a link to my Course Walk, but you can flip through this slide show to see the jumps and my commentary:
And the jumps weren’t just maxed out, they were things we’ve never done, like a ramp and a feeder, or a jump immediately up from a large creek hollow. I’ve also never jumped Nilla up or down maxed out banks, only baby banks. And two of the jumps I swear were Novice height. We got to #9 and I was just like, “I don’t want to jump that.” Then we got to the water and I was like, “Well, I’m going to be eliminated here.” Why?
Because the pond was full of leaping frogs. Remember how Nilla doesn’t like lizards? Well, she also hates water. So a water obstacle full of what are essential hopping lizards was basically our worst case scenario. Even my husband, who kept telling me to “you’ll be fine” every time I complained about the scary jumps, was like, yeah, that’s gonna be a problem. I really should have continued to video the pond as there were hundreds of frogs jumping as we went around it’s edge.
Really, 15 was the only jump that looked easy and I figured I’d be eliminated at 13 if I even made it that far. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well Saturday night. The next morning I was such a bundle of nerves I was feeling literally sick. When I went to go into the start box, the guy running the start box gave me a little talk like, I’ll give you a 30 second warning then count you down from ten, etc, etc, and most importantly, have fun. My response? I think I might throw up.
Anyway, enough talking right? Here’s the video.
I will add some commentary:
00:00 – As we exit the start gate, Nilla explodes into a rodeo performance literally as the nice man is saying, “have a nice ride.” You can’t hear it on the video, but I could hear him saying “rider 121 on course” and thinking, “kinda.”
00:19 – bucking post first jump.
1:20- We’ve never jumped such a large bank and as it looks like a fence from a distance, I wanted Nilla to trot to it and see that it was a bank so she’d know how to negotiate it. Since I know she can jump a 2′ bank from a standstill, I knew she could manage this from a slower pace. She popped right up it like no big deal.
1:51 “Are you looking at this?” You can see from her ears that her attention was totally on something else in the trees. When Nilla sees a jump, she will pull me to it and I knew her attention was not on this jump.
2:18 – I made her trot the down bank as well. After the last time we schooled banks and she launched herself off and then tripped and nearly killed us both, I did not want her running to this drop. She took it perfectly.
2:28 – first refusal. You can tell from the camera that I am staring at the jump. If you read my commentary, you know I was absolutely not okay with this jump. It was huge with very uneven footing leading up to it and it had lizards living under it. So obviously staring at it was the perfect solution. We did fine on re-approach when I kept my eyes up a bit more.
2:50 – after 9, the course goes through the jumping arena and the warm up arena is to the left. I made the mistake of clucking Nilla on to make up some time on the nice footing and she tried to bolt over to the warm up.
3:00 – “sh*t” the moment I try to look at my watch and realize I never started it.
3:27 – I also stared at this jump as we went over it because it was huge and I’m an idiot.
3:31 – I felt like my saddle slipped forward so I was checking on my DIY crupper.
3:40 – The jump judge right before 12 was really scary. Actually I think the decorated jump she was sitting near was the scary part, but Nilla did not want to go near it and I really needed her to as #12 was huge and I wanted a straight approach to it.
3:56 – “You gotta go, you gotta go.” She tried to slam on the brakes for the water, but was already practically in it by that point.
4:00 and on – 3 refusals. I think the main problem here was that I had mentally written off this jump. There was no way to my mind that I’d ever get to this jump so I didn’t really have a plan. I was still busy praising Nilla for actually going through the water and that ramp comes up right away. Once we had a refusal, I didn’t have a great re-approach to the ramp and I didn’t think I could go back through the water (although this is where not having a trainer or really knowing the rules hurts me so readers can feel free to chime in here).
As much as getting eliminated sucked, I actually wasn’t that upset. Nilla was a good mule. Her refusal at #9 was really my fault. #14 was my fault as well although I felt like I rode that one a lot better, but I was not really prepared for it and we’ve never schooled a jump like that. Despite my stomach in my throat level of panic over this course, parts of it were really fun. Nilla absolutely loves jumping. As long as she locks on to a jump, she will drag you to it and fly over it. If you watch her ears in the video you can really get a sense for what she’s thinking.
The Eventful Acres property was amazing. I haven’t seen this much green grass since I lived on the east coast. The owners were so nice and accommodating. I would love to go back here to school and would attend every show they put on if they ever do another one. Even with the elimination, it was a great weekend.
A few people commented yesterday on Nilla’s hocks. Thanks for the concern. I do appreciate it. Nilla was cleared by the vet to go to this show. And the bucking post jump is something she’s done as long as I’ve owned her. She only does it for the first few jumps and then quits although she’ll sometimes throw a surprise one in mid-course. I’m not ruling out that something’s wrong with her and I am making a chiro appointment. But mostly we just don’t jump much to preserve her hocks. I usually only jump at shows and once before for schooling. So like 3 times a month and not at all during the winter. And as multiple vets have told me: she’s a mule, if she can’t do something, she will let me know. Right now, she still wants to jump.
Aw man, I thought she was going to go over it that second time. It looks like a really fun course, I’m glad that you both survived – and that she went into the water!!!! It sucks that you got eliminated, but still seems like it was a really great experience for both of you overall!
It was a very fun weekend even with the elimination.
Happy Mule! I think you are brave to do any of that course. Hopefully it was a great learning experience for the both of you and you find yourself with more confidence the next go round.
We’ll probably be much better next time.
As far as your clap back to the comments yesterday….you really can’t “preserve” hocks. They either aren’t good, or they are good. Not jumping x amount of days isn’t going to keep them nice if jumping is still something those hocks have to do. Yes, rest can help alleviate pain, but if one is still jumping said horse, there’s still going to be pain if injections didn’t work. I do hope they did though, lameness is no fun.
Regardless, those BN jumps are HUGE. 14 was just insane for BN. I’ve always said they’re getting bigger and bigger! The whole pee your pants heart racing choked up feeling before XC is the reason I quit eventing, despite having a horse who loved it…I did not! Haha
Ha, I was going to say with all those logs it actually looked like a pretty standard maybe even leaning to the soft side of BN. Of course I thought that stadium looked huge yesterday so maybe that’s more my bashed in brain and it’s hatred for wooden rails chiming in. 😛
Great job on the rest of the course though! I think you were right not to go back into the water–crossing your tracks and what not, though that rule has always been kind of murky to me as well.
Logs aren’t an issue per se, but these were really large logs.
According to vets you can in fact preserve hocks by not doing hock injuring work like jumping or collected dressage work. Horses that don’t do those things don’t get bad hocks. Outside of retiring Nilla to a pasture or light trail riding work, which she would totally be okay with, but I would not, she’s gonna have to use her hocks. But I can keep her from using them a lot.
Ah, well, our vets opinions on hicks differ then. Good luck with that
“she’s a mule, if she can’t do something, she will let me know” SO TRUE. My donkeys are very good about communicating thing they don’t want to do as well. 🙂 I was watching this, even after the first refusal, thinking that I’d be totally pleased with this round. She nailed that jump coming up the hill out of the dark and I feel like it was scary. Considering the rest of the weekend, this was a bright spot I’d think.
Yeah, the jump on the hill after the creek had me very concerned, but she was great about that.
Reading the USEA rule book will answer all of your questions.
This is a really supportive comment for someone that had a bit of a trying horse show.
I’ve read the book. However, I haven’t memorized it so it’s not like I can just instantly know the answer to things on the course.
Good for you for getting through the anxiety and getting it done (until you ran out of plan, which all of us have done at some point).
Also, I have a bad-ass Training level horse who would have taken a second look at that water (that many jumping frogs, no thanks).
It was like the freaking pond was alive.
Can’t believe no one else has commented on this, but helloooooo A+ outfit there lady.
My experience with arthritic hocks and fusing (not sure if Nilla is fusing, but Simon did) is that movement is the best and otherwise taking it easy on them via jumping is a GREAT plan. The less you pound them and the more you stay on top of injections/maintenance, the better. I hope hers fuse as well as my guy’s did – then you will be golden!
I would LOVE for hers to finish fusing. But the vet said that can take a few years. For now we stick to jumping only a few times a month and getting regular injections and supplements.
1st – Don’t ever feel like you have to explain why you took Nilla to a show. If she was cleared by a Vet, she was cleared by a Vet. Simple as that.
2nd – That outfit is on FIRE.
3rd – I love how she just locks onto those jumps 🙂 Too bad about the refusals, but she had her game-face on for most of them!!
I was honestly just impressed we made it as far as we did.
Sucks about getting eliminated! Agree with Cathryn, and also my own judgement from meeting and speaking with you, you care deeply about your animals otherwise you wouldn’t go to the lengths you do for them.
Thanks. I know that I’m good to my horses, but the internet makes it hard for others know that. I know I myself sometimes wonder if people are doing right by their horses when I read their blogs and see them doing questionable things. So I might as well put the facts out there. Obviously haters are gonna hate and no amount of anything I say will change that.
Ah I felt like I was right there with you! Seriously mad props for even making it that far. And you got through the scary frog water!
I was really surprised we even made it into that water.
It was fun to ride with you- which is probably as close as I’ll ever get. 🙂
Good job. Now, how did your Husband do?
That’s tomorrow’s post.
i’m sorry about the elimination but still really enjoyed the video – major kudos for going out there and kicking some butt despite not feeling great about the course! jumps after water are hard… isabel and i had a refusal very similar to that at our first BN too. really tho Nilla looked like she was enjoying herself and like it wasn’t really particularly challenging for her either – the pieces will come together!!! congrats on the experience 😉
I don’t think she thought it was challenging either. Just me. She’s a good mule.
Holy crap! I’m impressed! Bummer that you didn’t get to finish, but Nilla was a rock star out there! Props to you too for getting as far as you did despite the angst.
Thanks. She’s a good jumper mule so at least I have that going for me.
The course does look scary. Well done for trying!!
Thanks. I will generally try things even if I’m scared. Probably not a great long-term plan, but it works for some things.
Totally scary looking. Props for giving it a go. You guys totally made a big step forward in going through Frog City. That water was alive and wriggling, and you got her right in. I was expecting the frog pond to be the end of the story and it totally wasn’t. That’s awesome.
I really never thought we’d get into that pond either.
Having recently had a rough time around a beginner novice course, I really enjoyed your video. I think its exhausting to be stressed out about the size of the jumps, and then the refusals really take the wind out of the sails. I’m sure you could have gotten Nilla over the ramp, but the water and lateness of course just made it a no go for the day. Getting as far as you did was a great accomplishment with the nerves!
Thanks. I think we could have done the ramp if we were schooling and I could have had time to settle and change my approach. I’m sure if I was more experienced I’d know how to do that in the heat of things, but I don’t.
I love how Nilla locks onto the jumps! Bummer on the elimination, but good on you going out and getting things done!
She’s a great jumper. So long as she wants to be.