Middleburg HT recap

We’ve had quite a bit of rain this past week, but I didn’t think it would cause so much trouble this weekend! The parking lot was deceptively sticky, but luckily I had four-wheel drive. Dressage warmup was on grass and it was pretty awful. I couldn’t find one place that was decent, so Oh So pushed through. Since it made him work harder, he was pushing from behind really well and was even in both my reins. I warmed up for too long though, so for the last 20 minutes I just did free walk to medium walk transitions. We had to disrupt our flow to head over to our ring which was on good sand footing. He tensed up, but I thought I had him as we made our way around the outside of the ring. Then the chains fell down, so we had to stop, turn around and trot the other way. Well, that was the end of any hope I had of keeping him relaxed. He tensed up during the test and almost exploded when we came back from free walk to medium walk. I tried to contain his trot before the right canter transition by sitting, but that didn’t make a difference. We ended up with a 39. My coach thinks he’s getting back to his old habit of not wanting to do any work after the free walk and being a bit of a jerk, so this weekend at Morven I might have to “jerk his chain” in the ring and just sacrifice a few points to get my point across.

I’m kind of glad we had to come back the next day for jumping. He’s gotten so used to getting to jump right after dressage. He almost got me off on the way back to the trailer as we walked past stadium! I’d like to get to a dressage show between now and Waredaca/Lexington, but I just don’t have any free weekends. I’ve been thinking about taking a couple of lessons from Heidi Berry again, but I’ll have to see how my schedule goes. October is the busiest month of my year.

Sunday was show jumping and cross-country. I don’t know why I was so nervous for show jumping this weekend. It seemed like a bit of a tough course on the side of a hill. There were some funky related distances and a skinny that was coming down a lot. I wasn’t as relaxed in my body warming up and I think that translates to him sometimes. He was strong, probably because we hadn’t done a dressage test right before. The round ended up being inconsistent. He changed too late from 2 to 3 and I got him a bit short. He landed in far after 3 and I lost count of the six strides from 3 to 4a. He ended up getting too close to 4a and had it down. I’m happy that he made the distances to the other one stride though. The skinny was slightly downhill. I asked for a bit of a long one and he put his front foot down at the last minute, then jumped. Miraculously he cleared it, but it jarred my position a bit. The last two jumps were much better though.

The cross-country was quite small and not technical at all. It seemed like a good move-up course, which is not exactly what we need at this point. He did everything really well, practically with his eyes closed! It was nice and open and gallopy though, which I think we both like. We ended up in fifth place, but the ribbon is really pretty!

Now on to Morven this weekend. I’m hoping we don’t get anymore rain!

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