Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sigh of relief ...

I'm so sad it's over! Had a GREAT time! Super excited. Got up at 4:00 to make the 2 1/2 drive up north. All 3 of us rode together with Joyce, and we had a good time conversing with each other the whole time. Weather was SUPPOSED to be partly cloudy and 61. Umm, we had RAIN, and 38. Wow. I was SO glad I'd put on plenty of clothes. Got on the Muffin about 20 minutes before I needed to ride. Warmed up in a field next to the xc ring. Sadly, he didn't really settle in too well. He was just interested in everything but paying attention! He was NOT bad, at ALL. In fact, I felt like we did a really good job. Again, if He'd had more time, he probably would have relaxed a little more. Ended up with a 43.4; better than dressage test numer one.

XC was a TOTALLY different experience than Chatt Hills. The jumps were a little more narrow and dark, and they were CLOSE. Maybe only 6 strides apart for the first part? He was a little bug eyed at the first, snorted and stuck off the ground at number 2, jumped 3 sort of "yahoo", 4 was up a hill; a brush box that was a little spooky looking. Back down a hill to a tire jump; ok over that. Then, it was the next one that he sort of went Uhh ... a stack of wood (like what he'd jumped at the hunter pace), but it was wide and tall; definitely the biggest jump on course. But the approach was tight, off a turn, into a tree, and pointed towards the little pond. He ALMOST stopped; I was about to pull out the crop and use it. But, he scrambled over it, then it was up to a coop, which he jumped big and caused me to land disorganized. Bumped up over a little candy cane mound from a stride away, so my helmet fell over my eyes as I hauled him around to the right up a hill in a switchback turn. We were TOTALLY disorganized, lol. He was pulling like a train, I was trying to fix my helmet, my armband had slid down around my wrist, and I was worried about the jump because it was coming uphill, it was tall, and it had large potted poinsettas under it. He jumped it super, though, then it was a left switchback over some sort of log that had walked big, but felt just fine, a long run down the hill to a tall rolltop, which felt amazing, an akward turn past a jump that was right in line with the rolltop , a right sweeping turn to a post and rail palisade jump uphill that was great, then another switchback hauling turn, past another jump to the final jump of pinestraw and flowers. He gave that one a bugeyed stare and jumped it sort of in a heap, but as we cantered through the finish, I gave him a huge 2 handed pat because we'd been CLEAR. Over a course he HADN'T schooled, YAY!:) It wasn't the most beautiful or graceful course we'd ever done, but I hadn't even grabbed my neckstrap over anything ... I was pleased.

Stadium was in the rain. Yuck. Luckily, the rain was light, but it WAS enough to get you wet and miserable. The course was simple enough, jumps were not bad looking. Walked in, saluted the ring steward, then began. First jump rode amazing! Left hand rollback to a natural vertical, 3 strides to a crossrail vertical. He hit the 2nd jump, then we did a nice 4 to the next. Sweeping right turn to an outside line of 4 strides. Jumped in beautiful, added in a perfect 5th stride, but he saw something he did NOT like about that oxer, and jumped it from a standstill after I dug in my spurs when I felt the hesitation. He jumped the SNOT out of it, and I got some MAJOR air! Landed super disorganized, so I trotted for a second to get my lead and once again fix my helmet. Jumped a diagonal single vertical well, got very organized and did another simple change to a left turn to a vertical on the end of the ring, then a final sort of tight left turn to another outside line of vertical 6 strides to an oxer. Jumped in perfect, got the striding this time, and I supported him to the oxer, and used a nice amount of leg at the base paired with a cluck to get him over much better than the other one.

Overall, we finished 4th out of 6. Sadly, we had the worst dressage score until I noticed on my sheet that on my circle right 20m at the posting trot said "error, misplaced", and had no score. I took it to the office guy, he took it to the judge, they fixed it, and that improved my score from a 45.7 to a 43.4. Still, it was the 5th best score, but one person had gotten eliminated, so that moved me up to 4th. Everyone else in my division had also jumped clear, so bummer for us, haha. SO, SO proud of Becca and Nicole; they kept it together, had a GREAT experience as well, and finished 3rd and 1st in their respective divisions. We had such an amazing time; it was GREAT!!!!!!!! Looking forward to a little break. I will drop down to riding muffin 3 times a week for the rest of december; one jump school, one dressage school, then one day in the pasture doing something. January is going to be a month long hiatus, then in February I will look into some weekly dressage lessons from Susan. March, we will start looking at the calendar for some cheap schooling mileage to get, then May will be a recognized trial at Poplar Place farm. Looking forward to continuing our journey:)

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