Eventful Acres Autumn Horse Trials – Stadium

An alternate title for this post would be Breaking Tack.

breaking tack

OMG this took so much longer to make than I thought it would

In my very limited experience, I will say that I really like running dressage then XC and stadium last. Having stadium after dressage just doesn’t work as well for me. But I do see how it’s easier to organize/run as Dressage > Stadium > XC.

My husband’s stadium time was close to mine so we tacked up walked over together. As we were heading over, Nilla stepped on her reins and broke one of them. Well, I guess we’re sharing reins now. When we got to the warm up arena we swapped reins. Stadium was actually running ahead of time so I’m glad I got there early. I needed as much time as possible, because Nilla was lit.


I was already in a panic because we had walked the cross country course after dressage and I was not okay with how big the jumps were. Seeing that the stadium course was larger than any course we’ve ever jumped before just piled on the nerves. Add in Nilla “playing” after every jump and I was freaking out.

Jump 1

The thing is, Nilla doesn’t jump jumps at their actual height. She adds a foot or so on top (see above). And cracks her back over them. Then she lands bucking. And since I don’t/can’t trust her, I sit back hard over jumps so even in stadium I look like I’m going down a bank on every jump. It’s not pretty. So when we had a bit of an odd landing off of jump #1, I didn’t think too much of it. We jumped #2 and the saddle went flying up onto her neck. I very barely stayed on.


I pulled her up in between the jumps and turned to find my crupper broken. Well, frick. I managed to wiggle my saddle back a bit, but I couldn’t get it back where it should have been and I couldn’t really jump without a crupper. Double frick. I finally stopped wiggling around and figured I was getting eliminated, but the judge offered to let me go fix my tack and come back.

You can see the moment my crupper breaks. And yes, I know my form sucks. I just spent a paragraph talking about that.

You can see the moment my crupper breaks. And yes, I know my form sucks. I already spent a paragraph talking about that.

I hopped off, grabbed my broken crupper from the ground at #1, and then jogged back to the trailer. Well, jogged as much as I could given I was wearing tall boots and have asthma. So mostly speed walking with a bit of jogging. The thing is, I don’t have a second crupper. Well, technically I do, but I can’t find the second one. (I’m ordering two new ones so this will never happen again). Luckily, the part that goes under Nilla’s tail hadn’t broken, just the strap connecting that part to the saddle. In a rush, I began frantically disassembling my endurance breastplate. I managed to attach the two d-ring straps to each other and use them to connect the crupper to the saddle. Then I hopped on and rode back to the arena.


I forget to get a better picture of my rigged crupper

There was only one rider left in the division so I barely made it back in time. I hopped over one more practice jump to see how she was and the answer was pissed. That’s not really surprising given she just had her saddle fall up onto her neck. And I do mean onto her neck. I was also extra unnerved. Having my tack fail me like that really left me not trusting it.

So with our powers of mistrust combined, we were obviously even better than before.

captain awkward

I’m not sure we’re as bad at jumping as we are at dressage, but it’s a close competition. Nilla has also decided that she’d like to be a disney character. This one in particular:

Nailed It!

Nailed It!

Shockingly – shockingly, I say – we were clear. I think I got 4 time faults because I had to trot a few times to get her settled. But that still moved us up to second place. Of course none of it mattered because we were not going to make it through cross country. My mantra following walking the course was “I’m gonna die.” And my husband’s mantra was “you’ll be fine” and also “why did you want to take up eventing if you’re so terrified of the jumps?” Good question, husband, good question.

brick wall jump

We don’t always look terrible

46 thoughts on “Eventful Acres Autumn Horse Trials – Stadium

  1. Megan

    good on you for mcgyvering a fix for the crupper. this is DIY horse ownership, after all 😛

    im sorry things went so sideways for you, but she looks GREAT over the slightly bigger jumps. now if she would get her act together and not play around after…

  2. sarahczspots

    That judge was awesome to let you come back, regardless of the outcome. I can believe all the broken things. That is some crummy luck! I’m also sad that husband didn’t get a picture of the saddle on her neck. 😉

    1. Olivia Post author

      I asked the vet when I got the injections done and was cleared to go to the show. She was never actually presenting as not sound before the injections anyway. It was just a stiffness/awkwardness that I could feel when riding her.

  3. Jenn

    Just adding my two cents here, but maybe she’s acting out and playing over/after the jumps because she’s uncomfortable? I know you had her checked by a vet a week or so ago, maybe she’s still sore from the injections or her hocks are still bothering her? I’m by no means a vet or any kind of medical professional and it’s just my opinion, but I always heard that horses can take up to a few weeks to feel “good as new” after injections. Best of luck.

    1. Olivia Post author

      She’s always done the bucking thing after jumps. It’s not a new thing. It goes away after the first few jumps on course. The overjumping never goes away and I suspect has something to do with not liking to tuck her hocks up so she just overjumps so she can let the back legs coast over.

  4. Stacie Seidman

    I’m glad you had a second try! So sorry for all the troubles, but Nilla really is jumping great! I’m hoping cross country went better than you were expecting! Can’t wait to read the rest!

  5. Fig

    This is why I always had two saddles, because the pony likes to break crupper rings, except now I’m about to be down to one. Eep.
    I’m super impressed you rigged the crupper back up AND got back on to ride again with it rigged up!

    1. Olivia Post author

      I feel like two saddles would be overkill, but two cruppers is a reasonable thing to own. Of course, I do own like 4 saddles for Nilla, but only 1 jumping saddle.

      1. Fig

        I agree in your case. My issue is that crupper rings are sadly usually integral to the saddle. You may or may not have inspired me to start casually saddle-shopping again. Oops.

        1. Olivia Post author

          I just use the metal crupper attachments for my non endurance saddles and breaching for endurance. Have you considered trying breaching? Also, remind me to bring my endurance saddle to quicksilver for you to try (not for the ride, but for a quick ride day before or after).

  6. emma

    ugh definitely not a good feeling to be surprised by the height and complexity of a competition course 🙁 nice job making it through tho the course despite tack malfunctions!

    1. Olivia Post author

      The stadium course was fine. We’ve never done a course that high, but it was the correct height. The height of XC was what had me freaking out. And my nerves were leaking into stadium.

  7. Courtney

    She is so springy! I admire that even though the size was intimidating, you did it anyway. And you look super business-like even with the springs and tack issues. Nice job getting through it!

  8. Pingback: Disappointed – DIY Horse Ownership

Comments are closed.