Friday, April 12, 2024

First Forays

While Goggles has technically been to two "shows", one was a very casual jumper show and the other was an equally casual HJ show. Which meant that his Wednesday trip to the Majestic Oaks Schooling Show felt like his first real show as an eventer in spite of the fact that we entered a combined test, not the full three phase. 

With Ben as his emotional support animal, Goggles relaxed on the way there and ate hay. He chilled on the trailer while I checked in and then was relaxed while I was tacking him up. 

Dressage was objectively not good, but subjectively I was thrilled. We warmed up focusing pretty exclusively on tempo. I generally tried to keep him bent the proper direction, but that was about it. He squealed a few times, his trademark "I'm being wild!!" move and hopped around a bit a couple of times in the canter, but otherwise was relatively chill. There are two areas to warm up at Majestic: to the left and right of the in gate to all 4 dressage arenas. Most people form a crowd to the left, so even with Ben who handles traffic pretty well, I usually go to the right. Goggles and I had that space almost all to ourselves with just one other horse doing a few circles. I gave us about 30 minutes to warm up, but realized about 20 minutes in that it was about 10 minutes too long. He'd hit a plateau in improving in relaxation and more work was just going to make him tired. Fortunately they were running early, so we headed in. He gave the barrel at A that marked the ring number a wide berth, but wasn't spooked by the judges car or the woods behind the judge which was great.

I really like the entry test and much prefer it to the days of riding intro C for starter. We had a few moments of relaxation on our left trot circle. The left lead canter was a canter, so that was a win. The free walk had good over track the whole time, but pretty limited stretch, given how many things he wanted to look at. The right trot circle was again okay with a few nice steps. The right lead canter quickly devolved into bucking for about a quarter circle, but he did come back to the trot reasonably. Our final halt was a bit rough and crooked, but again, it happened. He walked a quarter way out of the ring on a loose rein getting lots of praise before he picked his head up and squealed and I had to pick up contact again. I expected around a 45 and we ended with a 41 with our only 4 being the bucking right lead canter. 

The judge was so positive and constructive, I love her comments. I also would hate to think how it would've gone if I wasn't ALREADY thinking so much about tempo hahaha. 

After dressage I wandered over to stadium and looked at the course. The map still had an option for 7, which at least for the N and BN was a liver pool. While I definitely was not planning on choosing the liver pool, I was even a little concerned he might spook badly enough at it that he'd have a run out at the regular 7. I planned to trot his right side near it before starting and then ride positively and confidently AT MY JUMP and tell him to DO HIS JOB. My slight mental anguish turned out to be unneeded because they removed the whole thing for entry. 

By the time I went to tack up for stadium, Goggles had decided Ben was his BFF. Ben did not help the matter by screaming for Goggles from the trailer, so warm up was a bit spicy. JT's assistant trainer arrived and I said "We'll see how this goes". She helped us through a super productive warm up in which Goggles proved he is in fact trained. While pushing the already kinda bouncy horse further forward was the last thing I wanted to do, we did it. Then we jumped and he was shockingly civilized. AT (Assistant trainer) told us "He has to do two things in the ring - jump all the jumps and come back to you after". And wouldn't ya know, he did those two things! Without even a second thought about the standards or things around the arena. GOOD BOY!! 

Overall a very successful first outing as an eventer. There are CERTAINLY a million things to work on, but when are there not, y'know? He tried soooo hard for me though and proved that he is in fact a little trained. He did not launch and buck after a single fence! I was very proud of how his brain managed to function even when he was internally (and sometimes externally) screaming for Ben. He also got some good eventer show mileage in by learning how to chill in the trailer. 

I'm tentatively planning on the POP schooling show in May for our first 3 phase. They do XC schooling the day before, so it would be great to let him see all the XC jumps (and function out in public) before doing them. 

Out of three, but a FOD for our first eventing outing is pretty great. Please excuse the reuse of this picture, it's just so dang cute I had to. 


  1. Yay!! What a great day - I watched the video when it first popped up on YouTube and was just so impressed - you guys look great ! Congrats !!

  2. Nice work! Congrats. And that photo IS super adorable.