Virginia Horse Trials Recap

Well VA horse trials didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. My show jumping just feels like I’m getting worse while he’s waiting for me to learn how to ride!

I’ll start from the beginning. We got there on Friday and I hacked him around the grounds and did a short dressage school. He was very relaxed, but still fussing with the bit a little. He tries to get his tongue over it, so I think I might try a figure-eight or drop noseband. I was still a little concerned after his “colic” incident. I say “colic” because I have serious doubts as to whether is was really an impaction colic and the fact that I don’t think he needed to be tubed twice. Regardless, he felt normal and was eating and pooping normally, so that was good.

My dressage ride was pretty good. He warmed up well and in the test just got a bit tense in the medium walk to trot to canter sequence. His trot just got a bit short. He actually anticipated his canter transitions too, which was surprising, so they weren’t as clear as they could have been. I was also conservative in my canter lengthenings and the trot lengthening.  We scored a 32.7 which was good enough for sixth. It was a tightly packed group. A fellow student of my trainer’s was in first with a 30.

We did cross-country on Saturday which we don’t normally do. I just jumped a few fences in the warmup because it was so hard. That was sort of unexpected because it’s been so wet at home. The course itself was fairly small and didn’t really have any combinations. It was definitely a good moveup course. I felt like we could have done the prelim.

We hit just about every jump out of stride, which is my indicator that we’re on a good track towards prelim. It’s always me with the cross-country. He’ll jump anything, but if I start taking back or don’t keep the pace up, we get to the jumps at weird spots (short or long). The only jump I flubbed a little bit was a bench, downhill to a log into a ravine.  I’d planned on show jumping it, but I show jumped it a bit too much and had the control of his stride, but not enough power. He still jumped it well though.

He actually stepped off the bank, instead of leaping, and jumped bravely through the water. I took back to the ditch because it was down a hill, so we had a funky jump there, but otherwise, the whole course ran well and we had a good rhythm.

Show jumping was Sunday morning at 8:45. I just have trouble keeping up the pace and I get so frustrated because I revert back to old habits. I just can’t seem to get the same feel at events that I do at home schooling. The course was a bit twisty and really only had a triple combination. We jumped fence two well, which was coming down a lot. We got to fence three a bit funky, but it was low, so he cleared it. I took the long way to fence 4 so I could be sure he was straight and then at fence 5 I totally jumped ahead and he had it down. It was so embarrassing and was such an awful mistake. I don’t do that very often, so I’m still kicking myself for it. He backed off the triple at six because of that awful jump, but he got through clear, even though I was not softening at the base and releasing in the air very well. The rest of the course was good, but we ended up with four time penalties! That dropped us to eighth and I was pretty bummed. 

Overall for him it was a good outing, but I’m just frustrated that I can’t get it together in the show jumping. Next up is Rubicon and Seneca back to back.

In other news, Sam is finally sound! He had about three weeks off for a heel bruise/soreness and now has heart bar shoes on (of which he already lost one in the first week) and they seem to be helping. So we’re starting walk/trot/canter this week for about a half hour each day. It’s starting to get hot too, but I guess I should consider myself lucky because by this time of year it’s usually been about 90 degrees for a month.

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