I am back home and recovered from jet lag so it’s time to go through the trip. Shout out to the best husband in the world for video editing for me. To be honest I opened up my laptop and looked at all the video clips that needed to be trimmed and edited together and got overwhelmed and shut the laptop off. That is when my husband intervened and did all the editing for me.
Okay so day one. We made our way to the first barn to see a couple of horses. I got on the first one but didn’t feel comfortable jumping so got off. Rode the second one and really liked him. I went ahead and jumped him and pretty much missed all of my distances. I did get one good one which was not captured on film 😦 I was extremely nervous riding in front of so many people and in a man sized saddle. The saddle was big, flat and slick and I felt very insecure in it but I needed to give it a go. The horse, Aris, was a saint and jumped even though he was probably wondering what the hell was happening. I was told I needed to ride in the German style as the horses are trained that way. Okay so learning how to jump in a different style on the fly with a bunch of people observing was almost debilitating.
When we got to the next barn one of our agents offered to give tips while I rode which I accepted. However, she only spoke Czech so any advice would need to be translated. I figured I would take a jump then come in and get some instruction before trying again but instead I would hear instruction being given on the way to the jump with the english speaking agent trying to translate fast enough. Needless to say it was chaotic. We suggested jumping first then getting advice but I think they misunderstood and ending up sitting quietly while my trainer and I did our thing. It ended up working better that way. With each horse I got more and more comfortable.
I really liked the horse No Fear, he had a cute jumping style and was comfortable. However he had a couple of sarcoid cyst that would need to be removed and even then might grow back so I was pretty bummed about that cause he was great. So while I am bumming on that the next horse comes out, Goody, and he looks great. He is big bodied, bay and has a nice jump. The rider jumps him 1.20 for us and then I hop on. I feel really comfortable on him and take him over some jumps. Again I am finding bad distances but he is just rolling with it. I get him to a particularly bad spot and he just gives it everything and over jumps and we get to the other side (didn’t get that on video). End on a good note with him.
Last barn of the day we see 2 more which I didn’t think would work and didn’t ride them. Then they bring out the third horse and he is a gorgeous dark bay 4 year old stallion. Felt comfortable on him and jumped him around with no problems. This place had more jumps set so it was great to be able to just take him around and jump whatever came up.
At the end of the day I had 3 contenders. Completely exhausted we needed to make a 2.5 hour drive to Brno where we would sleep and see more horses the next day. Enjoy the day one video. I will post about day 2 soon.
Sitting at the airport waiting to board our fight home. The wifi was super spotty here so that is why there are no videos posted. The internet just couldn’t handle it. When I get home I will do a series where I go through each day of trying horse and include the videos.
Things I would do differently next time.
Take notes after each horse. They really start to run together and after riding so many it’s hard to remember what each one felt like.
Give yourself a day to re-ride your favorites.
Don’t be afraid to say no to horses you know will not work for you.
Bring your own saddle if at all possible
I think I know which horse I am going to pick and am so excited! He will still need go through his vet check but I won’t say who he is until all the videos have been uploaded.
Okay need to board the plane. Look for new post in the next couple of days.
Running on little to no sleep. It is Sunday at 10:30 pm here in Czech. Had technical difficulties with the camera so there isn’t much footage unfortunately. Saw 10 horses today, rode 5 and jumped 4. There are 3 contenders so far. We have about 5 or so to see tomorrow.
I wish I would have brought my saddle. Riding in men’s saddle is difficult since I have 5’2 and all these men are tall. Got it done and am completely exhausted. Good news is there are three horses so far I can see myself growing with. A 6 year old KWPN gelding, a 4 year old holsteiner gelding and a 4 year old holsteiner stallion.
Very nervous riding in front of multiple Europeans since we Americans ride so differently I felt way out of my comfort zone. After the first couple of horses I became more comfortable with the process and things seemed to smooth out.
I have written and rewritten the opening of this blog post about 10 times now and no wording seems to be right so I am just going to say it. I sold Greyson at the end of May. He was an amazing horse and he helped me get my feet wet into this sport. I have known for a while that this was going to be inevitable. I have ambitions to go up the levels to a meter twenty and I knew he wasn’t going to be the horse to get me all the way there. We accomplished more than I could have hoped and I wish I could have kept him forever but expenses for two horses is not in the cards for me right now. My number one priority was to make sure Greyson was going to a good home. I am happy to say that he is going to teach an amateur lady the ropes of jumping. He will be jumping cross rails up to 2’6 for a couple of years so his job is getting easier. Also he gets to live on 60 acres at the base of the Santa Monica mountains. He will have an irrigated pasture to be turn out in everyday and a nice box stall to sleep in every night. I am told he is being adored by two children who spoil him with cookies and the family doesn’t ever plan to sell him.
It was one of the hardest goodbyes of my life and I honestly feel a little guilty about being excited for the next chapter of my riding career. But here I am about to embark on a whirlwind shopping trip overseas. I am leaving next week with my trainer to the Czech Republic. This will be my first time buying a horse overseas. In the past when I needed a new paint horse all I needed to do was put in the breed and state into dreamhorse.com and there were plenty to choose from all around me. Warmbloods are a different story. I don’t have the biggest budget and I need a horse that can do higher levels. I can’t find anything within my budget and wish list domestically so we are going to Czech where my budget will go further. I plan to blog the whole process. If you ever have seen all these amazing horses listed on Facebook in the Czech Republic but wasn’t sure if it was something you could to do then I encourage you to follow me next week as I experience it step by step.
My day started really early. I never sleep well the night before day 1 of a horse show and last night was no exception. Slept pretty solidly until about 2am then it was in and out of sleep until at last 6:00am rolled around. Throw on some breeches and I’m on my way. Maybe tomorrow I’ll throw on some light make-up 🤔
Get to the show and say good morning to my mighty steed and see what kind of mood he is in. He looks rested and ready to go. No good morning greeting would be complete without a carrot. I always give him a carrot every morning of a horse show (a well placed bribe if you will). Then it’s off to the ring to study my course and watch some people go.
Now it’s warm up time. He was defiantly stoked to be at a show again and was jumping around great. All my distances were showing up and we were clicking.
As I’m walking towards the ring I go over my course one more time and surprisingly I don’t feel very nervous and that is unusual for me. So we are in and cruising he is a little amped and needs some little reminders to wait for the spot to show up. But all goes well and we make the jump off. The buzzer rings out and we have 45 seconds to get to the first jump of the jump off. He has settled by this time and things are going great until I pull him mid air to the side (I was thinking I was going to splice it but should have positioned him for it before the jump not during the jump). So we got a rail and it was all on me. But ended up 8th out of 18.
Few hours break then back for the meters. He is even more settled and focused these two rounds but a bad spot to the second jump gets us a rail and we end up 8th. Next meter is a speed round and we cruise around and everything is great but get a rail on the second to last jump. Didn’t even know it came down until the announcer called it. It was very windy so I couldn’t hear the rail falling. BUT we were the fastest 4 faulter and got 3rd out of 8.
He seems pretty happy about the day. I always always give him carrots after our show rounds because I’m so greatful that he is so willing to do this for me and has a good attitude about it.
Enjoying his grain after a big day of jumping 😍
He is all tucked in and we get to do the whole thing again tomorrow! I’ll keep you posted.
Hey guys, so I wasn’t able to get any video of our 2nd to last lesson before we head out to the show but I did get footage of my last lesson. OK so lesson two went really really well. We jump 3’3 to 3’6 courses and for the most part did great. Yes I was still floppy when I saw my spot but this close to a show there is nothing I can do about it. Not a good time to really focus on changing a long running habit. But my distances were showing up and Greyson had so much fun being jumped up and getting to go into “jumper mode”. He looked so pleased with himself afterwards.
So for my third and final lesson before the Woodside show we coursed a little bit and ended with some jump off practice. I was having a difficult time today finding/seeing distances which you will clearly see in the video. Even though todays lesson wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination I still feel like it was a great lesson. We fixed things that went wrong and I got to really appreciate my horse. Greyson was such a saint for getting over all these jumps even though I continually got him to bad spots. He is a rock star and got lots of cookies and an extra long turn out in the big grassy pasture. Please note that the picture above was just yesterday so in between yesterday and this morning he managed to poop up his entire body. Sigh, greys….ammi right? Can I get a witness? lol