No cross-country footage this time. Camera malfunction!
I competed at the Maryland Horse Trials on Saturday with Oh So. I entered the first weekend because it was said to be more challenging and I’ve been looking for that all season. The courses we’ve done have been a bit on the softer side, so I was happy to see Loch Moy use their wonderful variety of jumps at training level.
As has been the case all season, I had a dressage time before 9am, which I wasn’t really complaining about this time because it was pretty hot. The humidity stayed relatively comfortable and I didn’t feel faint at all. (Luckily that’s only happened once, at Rubicon). I got on about 40 minutes before. I knew the warmup ring could be chaotic with horses warming up for four different competition rings, and I thought he would need to settle a little, but he was totally relaxed and comfortable. We’ve been working with counter canter at home to get him straight and to weight his hind legs, so I utilized that and also worked in some canter lengthenings. We kept that momentum going, and could have actually had a bit more “engine” as the judge commented, to score a 28.2 and land in first after dressage! I think I might be able to cut down my warmup to 35 minutes next time. The less time we’re out there, the better, especially in the heat.
Show jumping was another story. He felt a bit strong and I guess rusty. I’m not sure of the right word. We had only done one jump lesson since Seneca because my trainer was out of town. I don’t think we ever got the right canter going in the warmup and when we went into the ring, we had the first fence down! Watching the video, I don’t think it was my fault. I lost the impulsion around the turn to 2, and so we got a 6 instead of a 5 in between 2 and 3. Then, I took back too much the 4a and he had it down, followed by 5, which was a swedish oxer going towards the rail. At that point, I was pissed, so I picked up the pace and he jumped the one stride well and finished the rest of the course clear. To be honest, I didn’t keep the pace for the first part of the course and let that rail at 1 get to me, but I expect him to help me out a bit. It didn’t seem to affect him that he hit the rails, and that’s not good. From watching the video, the round was not smooth and he was fussing at me and not wanting to turn well either. So, that put a damper on the day, but we rebounded and jump a great clear cross-country.
The new tracks through the woods were lovely and felt like riding at Southern Pines. He did the step up combination well and the two drops into water. There was also an angled combination, a corner, a trekehner and a ditch and wall which all rode well. That was definitely the challenge I was looking for. The prelim course looked nice and had some good combinations. We’re going to go back and school next Saturday. Hopefully they’ll have some good stuff from this weekend’s event.
We ended up 6th unfortunately. I just feel like this season has been up and down as far as show jumping. I can never seem to be completely comfortable in the competition ring, even if I’m getting it at home. My lower leg looked awful in my photos too. I don’t know what else to do other than what I’ve been doing (trotting w/o stirrups, two point practice, making sure my leg is on at the base of takeoff). I’m starting to think my jump saddle isn’t working. I sent it off this week to get the tree narrowed to fit him better, but I might end up looking for something else entirely. Sam’s saddle looks like it might work and I have to use it now for a couple of weeks anyway while the other one is gone, so it will be interesting to feel the difference. I always feel more secure in Sam’s saddle, even though it’s the same model Albion, just a few years older.
I have a Trilogy rep coming on Monday to fit Oh So for a new dressage saddle. His Albion is just not working anymore and I can sit so much better in a Trilogy. So if anyone is interested in a used Albion Genesis 18″ seat, medium tree, I’ve got one that’s only 3-4 years old and in good condition.
Other than that, I’ll be at Loch Moy all weekend shooting with GRC. I scratched Sam from tonight’s CDCTA dressage show. He has been quite uneven and sometimes lame from behind recently. I had a long talk with my dressage trainer today about what I should do. His hocks were just injected in March and that helped for awhile, but now he’s obviously not comfortable again. We’re putting a lot of money into the saddle situation right now, and I have to decide how long I want to keep injecting him and asking him to do dressage work. We’ll take it easy for now until I decide what to do. If he wants to trot or canter some days, we will. I’ve never retired a horse before so I just don’t know when to stop riding. I don’t think he’s ready to retire yet though.