Lucky at Loch Moy

I’m sure glad I chose to compete this past weekend at the Maryland Horse Trials II instead of the first weekend! We got extremely lucky with the weather, and considering I was done with everything by 11am, I was happy.

It always stinks to get up at 4:30am, but I had an 8:22 ride time. We got stuck in a bit of traffic on the beltway getting there so I felt slightly rushed, but I’d planned on a shorter dressage warmup anyway. Loch Moy has a lot of atmosphere, with four rings going at once and the trade fair, so he was a little bit tense, but surprisingly. He’s been getting better in the dressage, but this time he felt like he was holding his neck a bit and was quite dry-mouthed. The test was fairly obedient, but at the end as we were coming down to trot at X, something caught his eye, so the last lengthened trot was not too pretty. He usually doesn’t get that distracted, so it was surprising and I was expecting a bad score, but we ended up with a 31 for fourth place.

I feel like I kept my cool a little bit better in the show jumping, but we had three rails down. The first three jumps were beautiful, then I asked for a big spot to the one-stride and he had the second part down. I let his head get a little low towards the liverpool, and we had a bit of a long spot to it and I got jumped out of the tack. It stayed up though!

I thought I got him quite nice to the triple combination, but he had the first rail down for some reason. Then he had the last rail down, which happened at Seneca too. He gains as he goes along and runs out of room. Triples used to back him off, now I need to find a way to make him whoa in between.

I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I’d be about show jumping. I guess it’s because he had mostly nice jumps, and one rail was my fault. It looks bad on paper, but I think overall, it was better than Seneca because he was more rideable.

He just skipped around cross-country. My goal was to make time, and we were only 2 seconds over. I really let him gallop to the first two jumps and tried to move along in between others even though the course was quite twisty.

I thought he could have come back to me a bit more for the skinny brush to the steps. I tend to go to my hands first to slow him down instead of sitting up and really putting my leg on. We jumped the ditch and brush confidently and the roll top to corner combination. I used to worry about corners with Sam, but Oh So just sees them and locks on.

The second water had a serpent jump in it, and we’d never done a jump in the water before. I landed from the cabin, sat up and collected him a bit, and we had a steady ride to it, no problem! We ended up fourth, which wasn’t too bad considering our show jumping round.

We’re heading to a jumper show this weekend at Fox Chase Farm whether I like it or not!

Sam’s been having a tough time the past month. Unfortunately I think it’s time that I stop riding him regularly. He’s not been sound in trot and this past week he’s actually seemed a bit ouchy in walk, especially coming out of his stall. I think I’m gradually coming to terms with the fact that I don’t have two horses to ride anymore. I really liked having Sam to practice on, but obviously I can’t push him now.

He seems ok to trail ride and enjoys being groomed. I’ve never retired a horse before, so it’s kind of odd having one around that doesn’t have a job. It’s just really sad that he’s so unsound at only 18 years old. I guess that’s what happens when you do dozens of long format events with no breaks, ever.

I’ve been really trying to appreciate every ride I have with Oh So now that I’m basically a one horse rider. I’m not sure what I’d do if I couldn’t ride him. I don’t have the money right now to get another project, but the idea has been planted, so I’m thinking about starting to save.

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