Well today was interesting.
It started off with scrubbing stains out of my horses ear, and thoroughly upsetting him because clearly it was breakfast time- not face washing time. At least we know he slept well. After wandering the show grounds aimlessly for the better part of 7am- 11am trying to stay warm, we got on and had an awesome warm up for our 2’9 handy round. The course was simple enough, single vertical off the diagonal away, to a bending line coming home to an outside six, to a diagonal 5, finishing with a roll back from a outside single oxer to a vertical on the diagonal quarter line.
For any of you who read that and were lost.. Don’t worry- its something probably only other riders will be able to decipher as its what goes on in my head while learning and riding a course. Except this course apparently. I jumped into the first jump, got to the second (the in of the bending line) and had a great jump, galloped down to the out of that line, a perfect distance set up, legs on, eyes up- aannnnd he ran out the left side. This is the same jump that caused so many problems yesterday (myself included), and it did the same today. This time thankfully I stuck to the saddle and was able to get him over the second time. This is where my brain stopped using all reasonablelogic. From this jump I proceeded to head towards jump 8. The single oxer on the outside. Before I got there I heard someone yelling “other way! Other way!” and two strides out it clicked that I had absolutely no idea where I was going. None. Whatsoever. But taking the voice shouting in I decided to turn around and eventually figured out where to go. After this I had a great round. Even though I was disqualified for crossing my track and therefore going off course. This is, as far as I can recall, the first time I have ever gone off course. Ever. Silver lining, it was a great warm up round!
After that fiasco I had my 2’9 under saddle which we placed third in. And I had some time to catch my breath before I warmed up for my 3fts (again super warm up). My first 3ft course today was pretty simple. Diagonal coming home, outside 6, diagonal 5, outside oxer, to inside bending line. This course went much smoother, mostly because it didn’t have the apparently super scary oxer in it. We added in our outside 6, but everything else was grand. He was jumping so well! We placed 4th in this round. Our 3ft handy was the same course as the earlier handy. And I went in prepared for war. Crop in my left hand, good pace, leg on, supporting him with all I had, lots of left aides coming up to jump number 3, straight line to the jump, no surprises (and really- he has to know its there by now), aaaaand he ran out the right side. Thankfully this time I kept my conscious mind in place and he got a good thwack and off we went over the jump the second time and proceeded to have a fantastic ride rest of the course. Mike said he easily would have won if we had gotten that jump the first time. Seeing as almost everybody had problems with that line. Apparently it’s a scary jump. As it was we placed 5th in that class, and pinned third in our under saddle again. Not bad for what it was! Still pretty shocked at getting lost in the first course, but as they say there is a first time for everything. And based on how much everybody was struggling with that fence- I am really not too worried about it. Yes, its frustrating. Horribly frustrating. But looking at the bigger picture, he’s had a spectacular season. Even comparing this season with 2011’s season I see huge improvements in both me and my horse. I am stronger, and we are both more confident.
Tomorrow we are doing the hunter derby- which I am so excited for! Hopefully they choose to not include that one oxer though.. That would make a lot of lives easier, I think- based on the past two days! Either way it should be a fun class and a great way to end the season!