Monday, September 2, 2013

Stanton Farm Horse Trials - Flying Thru the Air

This last weekend Traveler and I entered and competed in our first
Training level Recognized Event ever - I had been nervous for weeks prior
- I had no idea how it would go.  It's quite a bump up from Novice to
Training - the jumps are bigger, trickier and everything is more technical.

We practiced and practiced and practiced - and finally I felt I had the
right tools to be able to do it - but I had no idea if we could really
pull it off.

I bought a Hit Air exploding vest to wear over my jump vest, I had my
studs for my shoes, everything I could think of  - now I just had to do

What do they say - Courage is being really afraid and saddling up anyway?

So we saddled up and headed into the dressage ring first thing Saturday
morning.  Steady little Traveler trotted into the ring and pulled it off! 
We had a great dressage test - a better score than we usually get in
Novice and it put us right in the running with all the other horses.  The
judge even commented that we were a cute pair!  I was so pleased.  I was
actually over the moon - one event down, two to go.

Next up later that afternoon was cross-country.  I walked that course
about 50 times before I rode it and I rode it all night in my sleep.  Warm
up was great - the timers counted us down and we were off.  We sailed over
every jump.  We took the first fence like nobody's business and didn't
look back.
(Warming up for X country.  Don't let them see you sweat!)

Linda V. came and cheered us on and took some amazing photos of us in the
water hazard.  (Thanks Linda!)  We hit the water hazard, down bank, up
bank and then a second up bank and I grabbed mane and off we went.  
(Here we are entering the water hazard from the down bank)

(Jumping up out of the water - the first up bank)

(Then it was 3 strides to the second up bank)

(And on to the next fence, thankfully that next was as an easy fence)

He did the trakenner, coffin and all the others flew by.  The last fence was a
picture frame.  It was a training/prelim fence - Traveler asked me if I
was sure this was our fence, I told him it was and we sailed over it and
across the finish line.
(This was a fence to another down bank in two strides and then right turn to the trakenner.)

(Flying through the air like a super hurricane!)

(I told my husband I can "retire" now from eventing.  All I have ever wanted was a great picture of us jumping through a picture frame.)

(Run, Traveler, run - we are done!)

18 fences - no problems. We did get some time faults - will work on our
speed, but this time around I couldn't have been prouder of Traveler.

My trainer now calls Traveler (after viewing some of our cross-country
pix), the "80 Dollar Champion" after the book about that amazing jumping
horse.  She said you look at Traveler and you don't have any idea that he
is this amazing little powerhouse of a horse.  He gets a leg down and we
are up and over with room to spare.  She said that she believes we can
qualify and compete at the Prelim level.  I was shocked.

Two events down - one more to go.  Sunday morning (with Linda supporting
us again and taking more great pix) we hit the stadium round.  Through
some amazing acts of jumping and determination Traveler and I had a double
clean round - many of the horses in our division either pulled rails or
had refusals.  But not my Traveler - if you line him up to a fence, he
will take it and pull those legs up and high.
(First fence of the two-stride set. We catch some good air!)

(Last fence and we are completely done!)

I absolutely can't believe we did it.  I know this is a long blog - but
it really is a dream come true.  I never thought that Traveler and I would
ever be considered an upper level eventing team.  Half the time I still
feel like an imposter - taking my little Curly up against these huge TBs. 
However, never underestimate the little guy.  LOL

We placed 7th out of 13 riders.  Total of 35 fences - all clear.

And now we have to do it all again in 2 weeks......


  1. congratulations, The only word I can think of off hand is you were awesome,, I am envious of you and your horse, you must have felt as if you were in tune with each other,, If your helment is a little tight I understand for being so proud,

    1. You are too funny - I did get a little teary eyed after stadium I was just so proud of him. :)

  2. I am 100% with Harold - AWESOME! I really want to thank you for posting this so I can ride vicariously through you. You have one heck of a horse there. Linda V sure took some fabulous pictures of the both of you that make me feel like I was right there. You two worked hard and practiced hard and you deserve to be there with the Big Guys. Traveler looks so fit and muscled up. Fantastic job, Liz!

    1. Thanks - we were very fortunate that the stars aligned and we had such a great event.

  3. AMAZING!!!!!!!!! Love the amazing pictures and story to go with it!!!!!!!! Don't you love a great friend with a good camera. You will treasure those pictures forever. They are incredible!! What a team. And the part where you say that he asked you if it was the right fence.... you know it is a true partnership when they ask you questions :-) You are with your friend and not your robot! Well done!! I'm sure his confidence and dignity are through the roof now.

  4. Liz, both you and Traveler are awesome!!!! I met Traveler years ago, and frankly, I would not even go in the pasture with him......You have made such great progress, and he really does have a heart of gold. I can ONLY imagine the stories he told the boys back home....I can just see them all, Traveler and all his sons gathered around him listening to his account of the weekend.....what a great pic in my mind! This is exciting and I am honored to help be a part of your great success ;-0

  5. All I can say is WOW even I get teary looking at those pictures. What a absolute great accomplishment. Proud of you and Traveler!

  6. Woah, that boy is clearing everything by a meter!

  7. I just love your posts! He is such an awesome horse and you're a great team! He's the poster child of what Curlies can accomplish and one of my favorites!! Good luck with your next competition, can't wait for that post!

  8. Awesome You both are my idols! I can't wait until I'm posting about my first training level ride.


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