It really was a lovely weekend; could NOT have custom ordered better weather, yay! Sunny, in the 80's, and at the GIHP.:) Arrived Saturday afternoon and all was well. Got stalls set up, unloaded Becca's horses, waited on Joyce to arrive with Tiki and friends. They pulled in about an hour after us, so we put them in their stalls to chill/drink/eat hay since the show was still going, anyway. Some time around 6, the ring FINALLY finished, so we all tacked up and walked into the massive grand prix ring. It is beautiful, huge, and nearly overwhelming. Both the hunter ring and the jumper ring were set in the one ring. And there was STILL plenty of room ... that's how massive this thing was. Walked in and he was definitely bright eyed and bushy tailed ... remember how I was going to hack him Friday after the farrier? Yeah, didn't happen. So, this was the first time I've sat on my boy's back in a solid week. No longeing or anything. So, we just walked the entire perimeter, ALL the way around both rings. The hunter ring was pretty standard; 2', no oxers, inviting jumps. The jumper ring was only 2'3, but MAN those jumps looked twice as big. We are talking a fill layer, then flowers, then a box, then a pole, then the oxer rail. Tiki (and I) has NEVER jumped such elaborate jumps. I won't lie, it was intimidating. The course was more oxer than vertical. And there were a LOT of jumps in there. Plus, there was an in and out and a 2 stride (glad we've been practicing those!). I let him canter around the whole ring a few times; he was VERY fresh. Kept cantering until he finally dropped down a gear. Trotted a bit, then cantered into the jumps on the hunter side. He was great; his usualy Tiki self!:) Came over to the jumper side, picked out a course to do, and began. I don't know if it was me, or him, or both. Every single jump, he stalled out, leaped over from a dead standstill, and of COURSE I hit him everywhere but in between the ears in the process. That certainly didn't help his confidence. Apparently I was leaning forward and dropping my leg, so tried again ... a teeny bit better, but still a HUGE hesitation at the base of every single jump. Wow, that was NOT helping my nerves, lol. Tried the 2 stride ... did 2 and a chip. Came again; same. Came again with a forward canter, body back, and a loud voice; got the 2. Did the in and out; got the one, but it was long. Again, and he got it. Wasn't making the step down any of the lines, but we did finally finish with a course that felt RELATIVELY hesitation free. Quit there.
Sunday rolled around early and beautiful:) He looked fantabulous; glossy, happy, and jumper-y. He was SO much more relaxed; he'd eaten all his food, dove into his hay, and had lovely, solid poop. Pulled on my boots last minute, put on his bridle, and we began to walk down about a half hour before the start of the show. Becca talked to me and calmed me down, and I took him in the ring to see every single jump. We could hack, but not jump that morning. I let him walk up and sniff every jump. Lots of pats, and he felt fine. Did a little trot and canter, then came the all clear call, so we went into the schooling ring to jump a few. I felt pretty good since we'd ended on a good note, so trotted into the little pvc pole crossrail with my body up, leg on ... and he stopped dead and leaped over. Holy cow! What the heck!? THAT had never happened.:( Again, the same; again, the same. Finally kicked him hard, and he went over smoothly. She raised it to a vertical, and he was sticky off the ground, but he made it. Did the oxer, and it felt ok, so we quit. Great, now the nerves were back full force. Watched one go, then we went in. Walked until the whistle, then picked up a trot. Cantered by the in and out (on the WRONG LEAD) and headed to the first outside line. OK first jump, then a chip, then a few ok with lots of hesitation jumps, then to the in and out. He wanted so badly to run out, but I did NOT let him; he put 2 in there, but stayed clear. Continued to the final line and he was clean, but stopped and leaped at the final. Now, it was time to continue on for the speed portion ... something clicked in his head at this point, and the boy totally changed. I FELT it. We cantered into the fence, nailed it; bending line, nailed it. Around to the in and out, I growled loudly, and it was MUCH better. Finished with a big oxer to oxer bending that wasn't in the first round. I had my leg on tight and rode down to the base; he finished up clear and NO more stop/jumps. It was SO much better. We ended up 6th out of 10; yipee! I was SO proud; it was a HUGE course, a first for both of us, and he made me so proud. Back in his stall for a few hours, then back out for the hunters.
I changed into my hunt coat, tacked him up sans ear bonnet and boots, and we went back down to the jumper ring again. He felt wonderful jumping; much more like my Tiki boy. Our worst bobble was coming into a 5 stride line, he backed off and chipped the whole thing, and I don't think he got a single change. Went back in for 2nd trip, and he got 2 lead changes this time, and felt GREAT! Came back to the line we'd chipped, and I rode him up to it pretty hard ... nailed the first, then trucked down the line so hard he got a 4 and a half this time. Oh well, at least he tried! Was picture perfect in the hack, but he's just NOT a hunter. We got all 4ths out of 4 and we deserved that, but gained some valuable experience. Next time, we'll do all jumper classes, and in the mean time, I'll work on building up some jumps at home so we're both not so taken aback by REAL horse show jumps:) All in all, a hugely successful weekend.:)