I competed Oh So at Seneca Valley horse trials on Saturday. The ground was quite hard, but we needed the run, since I won’t be doing much until the end of October. I underestimated the time I would need for dressage warmup and the hack over, so when I got there, I only had about 15 minutes! His trot and canter seemed to settle within that time, but I didn’t have the time to ask for some lateral suppleness. He tensed up slightly on the way over to the ring, and the judge rang the bell quite quickly, so we didn’t have a chance to circle much before entering the ring.
His trot work was good, and apparently I have been riding the first canter transition at the wrong marker for awhile! She only commented that it was early, but we still got a 7. His canter work was a bit tense and I couldn’t get him back to trot, so the transitions were not accurate. His free walk was non-existent and he jigged in medium walk. His stretchy circle was also non-existent, because it comes after a lengthened canter. But the trot lengthening was decent. We ended up with a 37.3, which put us in seventh. First place was a 35, so it was all very close.
The show jumping course was pretty straighforward, but seemed big. Lots of square oxers. We had a silly rail at fence 2. I think he just got a bit flat. And we had a green rail at a two-stride. He was focusing on the jump out, and had the first part down. It’s sort of frustrating that he only ever has rails down in a competition, but I have to keep telling myself that the atmosphere is different at a show.
The cross country had some nice combinations. There was a bank down, three strides to a maximum vertical, which he did very well. It was in the woods too, but he was fine. There was a half coffin in the woods that was a short two strides, so we sort of stuffed the cabin out. Next was a bending line of boat houses. We planned to angle it a bit, and he got a nice four strides.
The water was a cabin, then off a drop, but it was spooky because there were giant bushes on either side of the drop. He stopped, the jumped off the drop, but sort of landed all four feet at once. Then we turned a hopped out over a bank. I have serious issues with giant, square tables. There were three on course, and I only truly flubbed one. I wanted to take a long spot, but he didn’t, so he sort of twisted over it. At the end, there was a huge drop, three strides to a cabin. He was a bit unsure of the drop, since it was the biggest one he’s ever seen, but he did it, and got to the cabin on a long rein just fine. We made the time and ended up fourth.
It was a good competition with some new cross country questions. I have to keep remembering that he is still in “training”, so things will get better. He needs to relax a bit more in show jumping, so he can be more supple and adjustable.
Next up we’re doing a combined test at Loch Moy on Sunday.