Day 1 at Fall Harvest went about as well as I could have hoped! And we survived the extreme humidity. Thank you Gatorade!
The reason I have the title as “stay positive” is because it was a phrase tossed around a lot today by Mike and Charlene. When they say it, they mean it in a physical, biomechanical sense. As in, when you are riding on course- keep your body upright and your leg on with a feel on the horse’s mouth. Supporting your horse to every fence and waiting for the distance. Not letting yourself jump ahead or fall forward or get weak with your leg. It’s also a phrase I use a lot with myself when I get frustrated over insignificant things that shouldn’t bother me.
All my rounds today went very, very well. My 2’9 was smooth and put together, although I added on the seven stride- which was the right decision for what it was. I generally use this class as a warm up for my 3fts so adding is not a bad thing because it sets us up nicely for the bigger jumps later on. I had my Sr Low 3ft division today- and I honestly couldn’t be happier with my horse. He was a little picky in the warm up ring but once we got into the class he tried his heart out for me. And I felt so strong in the tack today. Our first round in 3ft included the 2 stride, which was so much fun! I jumped in a little tight, so initially I was worried about ending up with an add, but almost immediately I heard Mike’s voice in my ear saying “sit up, leg on, feel the reigns and trust him”. Guess what. It worked. He jumped out of there like he could do 2 strides all day every day, giving me a huge effort over the out oxer. We placed 5th in this round. Next was the handy round, the handy part being a tricky bending line from jumps 6-7- and -8. Six and seven were easy as they had been included in the previous courses. Eight was the tricky jump. A oxer facing the out gate off a bending turn. A lot of people had problems at this jump- including me. I’d had a great round up until this point. Perfect distances in both lines and he was jumping so nice. Up and over six and seven in good distance and as I made the turn for 8, we drifted slightly to the outside- as he thought we were done and I wasn’t quite “positive” enough. Now this drift wouldn’t have been a big problem if I had caught it in time- unfortunately I had been lulled into a trance by our great round so far and let down my guard a bit too much. Of course we didn’t find a great distance to eight and of course I didn’t support him through it which resulted in him skidding to a stop and me jumping out of the tack. I landed on my feet thankfully, and have a very sore foot as a result. He wasn’t being dirty, he was just a little unsure of the distance and didn’t have much support from me. Many other people on this course had the exact same issue- which means the course designer set a fair challenge. It was very frustrating to end up DQ’d after such a great round otherwise, but in all reality I have to “stay positive” and recognize exactly that. It was a great round otherwise and I have so much to take from the experience. It was a reminder to me why I have to be there for my horse- no matter how well he is going. It’s a team effort. As Charlene likes to say, “horses keep us humble”, and this was a perfect example of that. Mike and Charlene were both very happy with my riding today, especially since I’ve been on for only a week in prep for this show. So that’s encouraging, maybe some of their lessons are finally starting to sink in!
Tomorrow is a new day, and I hope we can recreate some of the rounds we had today! Such a good feeling!