Don’t let that springtime mud get you down — Ainsley Jacobs, our amateur event blogger, rewinds to April of 2015 when she learned a valuable lesson on how to both ride safely and have a good time in less-than-optimal conditions.
Adult amateur event blogger Ainsley Jacobs has been chronicling how she finds the takeaway lesson from the good, the bad and the ugly in her equestrian experience. Her horse JJ has been rehabbing from a ligament injury for a few months, so during his layoff time Ainsley is revisiting earlier lessons in her experience. Today’s story is from April of 2015.
We’ve been getting better and better each time out lately, so I was especially excited to celebrate my 31st birthday at an event with my awesome husband, wonderful team, and fantastic horse!
It’s been a really wet spring, and this weekend was no different. We tried to minimize Friday night’s cross country schooling session so that we wouldn’t add an unnecessary damage to the footing or risk potentially hurting one of the horses, or ourselves. My awesome Go With It Farm team helped me celebrate my birthday with some cupcakes, and after we tucked the horses in for the night, I headed home for some much-needed sleep.
We’ve been working on our dressage lately. Flatting isn’t really something I’d ever focused on before, and it’s showing in our scores. Our Beginner Novice Test A went well, but the footing was extremely sloppy from all the rain and JJ was (mildly) annoyed. We scored 40.00. I was disappointed because I was hoping to get back into the 30s, but I know I’ll need to keep working to make that happen.
Stadium went well once again, despite the slick footing. JJ’s SO handy and is great with his feet, so even the roll backs and tight turns didn’t bother him. I’m learning to trust him to take care of me! We were clean in every sense of the word, except for literally – we finished double clear and absolutely filthy. Hah.
I was starting to feel confident about cross country again, but apparently that was a mistake. As we left the start box and headed for the first jump, I just assumed JJ would jump it. He didn’t. He stopped, which was unusual for him, but I think it was just the incredibly muddy footing that he didn’t like and he wasn’t feeling confident about. We began our course with 20 faults already tacked on to our score, but worked hard to make the best of what we had left. I was careful to place JJ where the footing hadn’t been churned up already, so we took most of the jumps off-center. He responded by giving me a GREAT ride, and it was the most fun cross country course we’d ever had!
The stop ultimately put us out of the ribbons. Yeah, I’m a little bummed I didn’t get a “birthday souvenir” but I still haven’t stopped smiling because of his much fun I had, and the amazing photos that my wonderful husband Erik took for us are way better than a ribbon!
Don’t let challenging terrain or conditions get you down. What may seem less than ideal at first may push you to ride more effectively, and you’ll wind up having more fun than if the conditions were perfect!
Ainsley Jacobs is an adult amateur based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She started riding huntseat equitation when she was eight, and has tried practically every discipline since then. In 2014, Ainsley discovered eventing and it changed her life! She purchased her first horse, JJ Spot, in February 2016 and chronicles their successes (and struggles) of learning to overcome literal and figurative obstacles in her blog at www.RideHeelsDown.com.