Seneca Valley recap

Well, Saturday turned out to be a little longer than expected. I went up early to walk my cross-country before dressage, which was at 1pm. When we got there, a huge black cloud came in and it rained pretty hard for about an hour. There was a lot of lightning too, so they held the show for awhile. Oh So was good about hanging out in the trailer though. He’s gotten so used to showing now. We can pull in and he’ll stand on the trailer while I walk my courses, get off the trailer, look around and sigh, then we tack up. It makes it really easy. All those shows where we had went up early to “hang out” really paid off!

So after walking the course, dressage was about an hour behind. My warmup was alright. I need to find a way to get him to engage his right hind so I can get some left rein contact though. When I watch my video I can see my left rein flopping and the photos are pretty horrifying, showing the bit pulled almost to the joint out the right side of his mouth! It never feels that bad, but photos don’t lie! The test itself felt about the same as last week. The trot work was good, I thought the canter lengthenings were ok, and he actually tried a little in the stretchy circle. Just as I was gathering him from the free walk to the medium walk, to trot and canter, a prelim horse came galloping to the finish line right by our  ring. Bad timing! He got a little fussy last week, and this week was the same. I thought we’d fixed that issue, so we’ll be schooling that one at home again. The judge I had was a dressage purist for sure. I’ve had her before and my scores are always 5-7 points higher than usual. Everyone else’s were the same, including other levels throughout the weekend. her scores were consistently higher. So we ended up with a 37.7 for fourth place.

My show jumping warm up was pretty good. I didn’t pull and I kept a decent pace. The course had a triple bar, a one-stride and a two-stride. It flowed pretty

nicely. I had a rail at fence 3, which was my fault. I have problems with long lines. This one was either a bigger five, or a decent six. I don’t decide until I get about two strides away, and then we end up too close to the second jump. It was a vertical of course, so it came down. Other than that, he was very rideable and was trying to keep the rails up. We had a lucky one at the vertical out of the two stride. The rail bounced in the cup, but stayed there.

Cross-country ran the opposite way from the spring. We did a different coffin at 5ab which we got a little close to, but he was feeling very forward from the start. I had to remind him at 4 that we had a square table to jump, and after that, he settled. Usually he settles by the second fence. When he gets that strong and pulling, it can make me take my leg off and just use my hand to slow him. I think I avoided that as we got going around the course. There was a bank up to a corner and then a tight turn around to a cabin drop fence. We got a little short to the corner, but once he saw the cabin after that, hefocused on it and I was able to soften my hands and let him jump it. We did the steeplechase fence right out of stride and he popped over the cabin into the water confidently. Then we jumped up a bank and out over a cabin. He stumbled jumping out of the water and my reins were a bit long, so I shortened him too much to the cabin. We popped over it, but it didn’t flow like it could have. It reminded me of last week when we did the same thing over the skinny brush. I’ve just got to let go and trust that he’ll

jump the narrow things! We took a bit of a flyer to the ramp, then had to pay the consequences with a right turn to a two stride of black tables. We got in a bit big and then had to whoa hard to get the two. At the end of the course there was a big bank up with a ditch in front that he didn’t even peek at. The top was sort of rounded like a mound, and he jumped up very smoothly.

We ended up second and could have won without that darn rail, but I was just really pleased about how solid he’s become at training level. He was galloping great and took every jumping stride (as longas I don’t pull!).  So now we’re on a bit of a break until Middleburg in three weeks. I took Sam out to Morningside today for a little canter around the track. We popped over some cross-country jumps too. I ended up doing more than I’d planned because he was getting really into it and wanting to run the last three strides before the jumps. Because he can be spooky and hasn’t done this in awhile, I didn’t let go, so I ended up picking to some of the jumps. Luckily they were all beginner novice height, but I was disappointed in my riding. He enjoyed himself though and that’s what’s most important.

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