OK, on to phase 2! I was FINE with my dressage test. I knew it was absolutely as good as it possibly could have been at that time; we've NEVER performed a dressage test in public. So, was feeling pretty good about it.
Booked it back to the barn, cut out the braids I'd worked so hard for, wet his mane down to straighten it, and ran to the port o potty to change.My fantabulous support for the weekend, Becca, tacked my horse up for me. Zipped myself into my life jacket, I mean vest, and even remembered my armband. Climbed aboard and headed down to the warmup. He was UP. He was ALERT. He was shaking. He stopped and stared. I was thinking in my head ... "LOOK at the jumps. LOOK at the jumps. Over there, THAT'S where you're going!"
Considering I've never even done so much as a schooling show, I wasn't positive what technique I was going to use. Once I got into the field, there were only 2 other horses in there, so I decided to R E L A X. Held the reins on the buckle, kicked my feet out of the stirrups, and walked for about 20 minutes. Lots of patting, lots of talking, and lots of breathing. I'd learned, and left myself TONS of time for my xc warmup. Shortened my reins, cantered both ways, then cantered into the crossrail. He backed himself up, I sat BACK, supported, and OVER he went! He felt good; nice and forward, but a little hesitant.I was SO happy to see 2 solid warmup fences ... I had NO idea what to expect. He jumped both well (I'd schooled both before at the hunter pace back in August) so I decided to run with that. Got a sip of water, Becca talked me down, and got the 4 minutes to go, so I headed to the start box.
After the horse in front of me went, I felt on the verge of tears with panic, so I PRAYED. Like, prayed for real. We got the countdown, and off we went! Had planned to trot ... straightaway to the canter ... ok! First jump was a hard look, but a good one. Second jump was a kennel ... we'd never schooled it ... the cabin type jumps are a sticky point. I thought it was TOUGH for a second jump on course. He said, "Um, no". I stayed BACK, used my spur, he ALMOST said "OK", but then changed his mind. So, a stop, I used my crop, circled, re-presented, and cropped twice behind my leg at the jump. He landed, took 2 strides, then said, "OK!!! I'm now going FORWARD!" Up to another scary palisade jump, which was great, then straightaway to the bank complex. Big square oxer, up the ramp, off a drop. We'd never schooled that particular type of drop. I stayed back, looked up, used leg, and he sailed off perfectly. From there, he was a MACHINE. Holy cow, it was AMAZING. Every jump was right out of stride, I rode the HECK out of the remaining "scary" jumps, and even though he jumped the cabin framed by trees from a virtual standstill, and I totally ate the tree, he was SUPER brave off the ski jump, and perfect to the last 2.
As we crossed the finish line, I had tears in my eyes. I patted Tiki, good boy'd him to death, and jumped off. Ran up the stirrups, loosened the girth and noseband, gave him the peppermint out of my pocked, and walked back to the barn. He was PUMPED full of adrenaline. I felt lightheaded ... we'd DONE it! Never strung together more than 6 in a row, and never without looking at/jumping at LEAST one of them first. Despite our 20 penalties, we had moved up from 7th to 6th.