Timber!

Unfortunately, that was the sound as Oh So and I made our way around the show jumping at the Seneca Valley Pony Club horse trials this past weekend.

Let’s start from the beginning. I shortened our dressage warmup just for fun because he’s been getting a lot more confirmed, even at home, in his flatwork. We did about 35 minutes, and almost didn’t need that long. At home, Nicky and I have been working on picking him from his stretchy warmup sooner rather than let him trot around unengaged from behind. It seems to be working because he’s been producing some nice work.

I mostly worked on leg yields in the warmup because we were riding test A which has them from the track to the centerline, and those can be difficult for us. I also played with some lengthened strides in canter and some counter canter. I was wearing spurs for the first time at a show and he didn’t seem to mind, so that helped.

I thought he was quite willing in the test and we salvaged the free walk to medium walk to trot to canter sequence with just a little resistance. We ended up with a 34.1 for fifth place, which was fine, but there were just a few too many 6’s for my liking.

They moved the show jumping warmup, which was nice. We had had a pretty awful lesson on Thursday where he just had this attitude. I had hoped that things would be different at the show, but unfortunately they were about the same. Our warmup wasn’t horrible, but once we got in the ring, I made one error and had fence 2 down, then fence 3 came down, then my bad habits started creeping in and he had the attitude. We had a vertical down that a lot of people had down, then the last part of the triple that just seemed unlucky. He was fussy and I was letting my hands get too low, so then he jumped more into my hand than round over the fences. Back to the drawing board I guess, plus more jumper shows, whether I like it or not.

The cross-country was a bit different this year with a new mowed path and a few things we hadn’t seen yet. I made two mistakes in an otherwise good round. At fence 5abc, there was a very vertical fence, hard bending line left, down a drop and over a skinny. I was worried about him hanging a leg on the vertical if we got too close, so what did we do? We got too close! But he righted himself and I had to pull hard left to get over the drop. Once we landed, he saw the skinny and we kicked on quite nicely. We had a bit of a big one into an angled two stride and the drop into the water rode well, but I need to sit up afterwards and gather him a bit, because we got too close to the skinny coop out. He was clever, but this is the second time I’ve made that mistake, so it’s time to get it right!

The final combination was a left corner, five strides to a right corner. I was freaked out because the second corner was quite narrow with the way the flags were placed. Once he got over the first part though, he saw the out quite easily. We finished about 18 seconds over time. I know I lost a bit because I really set him up for some of the combinations, but at this point, I’m more concerned with getting a good ride to the difficult stuff.

We ended up eighth, but got a pretty brown ribbon! So, notes for next time: keep the show jumps up and trust him a bit more. Our video is coming soon.

This weekend we’re making our Second level debut at a schooling show. Nicky will be there, so that will be helpful. I rarely get her help warming up for dressage, so I’m excited. I sent off my entry for the CDCTA schooling show in July and we’ll try Second 1 and 2 then.

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