Spoiler alert- I’m about to brag on my horse.
But before that, let’s recap on the goal(s) for this show. Primarily, don’t do anything stupid. Ride every fence/movement. And then secondly, allow for the forward pace (i.e, go pony go!) and have soft elbows.
We arrived on Saturday and first thing I hopped on and schooled dressage, which turned out to be OK, but exhibiting some tension in his neck and back. So Sunday before our test I spent the first 15-20 minutes solely on stretching work. This definitely helped with the relaxation, but got him a little flat with his movement. I made the decision to sit the trot and use my seat to get him moving a little more up. So with that, we went in to do our test.
Overall, I felt like the test was pretty good. Sure, we had a bobble in our canter depart, and he ran into the fence in our walk/trot transition (at least he didn’t take it out this time!), but I was really proud of myself for riding every corner, and preparing at every diagonal and centerline. I think the judge was a little rewarding, but here’s what she thought:
And here’s the video of the test.. Other than my chair seat, I know we could improve a bit with the impulsion and forward energy, but otherwise a respectable test in my book. Also- I have to call out the ‘beautiful turnout’ comment by the judge. My friend A was my eyes on the ground, coach, and groom, and every time she helps me get ready for a show we get this comment! Kudos to her!
There were a ton of professionals in my large division of 18, so my 31.3 test landed me tied for 7th headed into showjumping. Watching the showjumping go, we noticed a lot of people getting either poles or time penalties. I have faith in Foster’s handiness to get around the course, so our warm up focused on getting a good pace and keeping my elbows soft and following. I think the pace held up through the course (with again unfortunate counter cantering from 6 to 7), though we got seriously stuck heading into the 2 stride combination, and the last 3 fences are as a result… fugly. But clean and clear and onto XC!
After walking the course twice (I was not going to get lost this time), I felt like this was a nice, inviting course to build confidence in horse and rider, and the technical and terrain questions were really appropriate to the Novice level. Here’s a look at the jumps:
Goofing off while looking at the jumps.. we’re not in Beginner Novice anymore!
The fences I was worried about, and planned to ride aggressively to, were 3 (the skinny), element 9A of the sunken road, and the second bank. But as I rode through the course, I don’t remembering using my bat at all! Foster locked on to every fence and I didn’t feel an ounce of hesitation- he ate it up! All the photos show his ears perked and a confident expression on his face, which makes me swell inside with happiness. We came through the finish flags with 1 second to spare!
Ending on our dressage score of 31.3 earned us a fourth place ribbon. Considering the seriously stiff competition, I never imagined placing, and feel really good about future Novices this year. I am heartened by the thought that we can definitely improve on our score, and… we checked off our major goal for 2014!
Get a 65% or better on dressage and go double clear in show jumping and cross country.
I also need to give credit where credit is due… This weekend would not have been nearly as successful or fun without A by my side! And if you are reading this, A, thank you again!
Next horse trials, maybe this summer!
He looks awesome!! And that XC course is beautiful 🙂
Thank you! We love Carolina Horse Park… they always change up the courses to make it interesting and the footing is amazing!
Congrats on the 4th place! Those xc jumpers are scary!
Thanks! XC jumping is definitely an adrenaline rush!
Yay congrats on a great show!
Thank you! 🙂
Heck those are big jumps!! Great job!!!
Thanks! They definitely got smaller the second time walking the course, but still big enough! 😀
I’m actually surprised your dressage score wasn’t much lower- you looked incredible!! and the stadium round was superb until right at the end- but I was major jealous of your eq 🙂 you guys looked great, glad it was a good outing!
Aww thank you! I wasn’t sure if the judge was scoring high or just everyone in my division was a rock star.. the highest score after dressage was a 38. But it would be great to think I earned that 31.5! 😀
Also, I always admire your position over fences, so I really appreciate the comment!
Well thank you but I thought you looked like a pro!
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