Well, if we were searching for redemption, we found it… and then lost it. Lost it in a way I will share in a moment, and in a way I can sum up in one quote:
“The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused.”
But let’s start at the beginning- thanks to Ali, Foster was able to get to the show grounds the day before and we had quite a nice schooling in the dressage arena, although I noticed he was getting a bit tense in his neck and starting to go crooked again. During dressage the next day I continued to feel this, but got on with it, since you can’t fix everything in one day. We put in a decent test, with some tension and crookedness but otherwise pleasant enough. I was a bit disappointed that we broke in our free walk (normally a solid 8) but happy that we received a 7 on our right lead canter depart and circle, which has been our pain point in the past couple tests. After discussing with a few equine people much smarter than myself, I am going to get his left hock injected again and hope that solves the crookedness issues that are starting to creep back into our work.
In show jumping I did my best to go in with a get-er’-done approach to the first fence, which he went over quite confidently and then move on with the rest of the course. While he almost jumped me out of the tack over fence 3, he put in a nice round and I am oh-so-proud of my spotted pony. I thought the energy was much better than our last show, and was surprised to hear that we received 19 time penalties. For this level, I thought a forward canter should suffice, barring a few trot strides to allow for simple changes. The time penalty issue seemed to be prevalent for many of the competitors though, so I don’t count it as a loss.
Cross country is where things fell apart a bit. Foster was a total star and went over the first fence quite happily, and I had the most fun on cross country that I have had in a long time, cantering all the fences without hesitation. Maybe I was having a bit too much fun even, because when I landed from fence 9 I started looking for 10 and didn’t see it where I thought it would be! In the 30ish seconds that followed, I brought him back to a walk, and then a trot, wandering around looking for what I thought would be an obvious obstacle in the middle of the woods- it was bright orange for Pete’s sake! In any case, I laughed it off when I spotted it, hopped over it and carried on our merry way! Just a minor pilot error, and one that I will be laughing about for a long time!
(and no, I couldn’t hear her tell me to turn right! oops!)
So while we didn’t finish where we wanted to (a whopping 40+ time penalties will do that I guess!) I am so pleased that Foster put in nice jumping rounds and did his best. I desperately needed a positive experience after being so bummed about the last show, and this competition was just that. Still more to work on, I know, but nonetheless proud of my boy for redeeming himself and not being phased by his passenger’s nonsense from time to time!
On a more serious note, I have several family members who could do with prayers and positive thoughts sent their way. As great as horses are, our loved ones come first! So if you are reading this and have a moment, please send a quick prayer our way. Thanks for your support!