Marlborough Horse Trials recap

Well, it’s back to the drawing board for jumping bits. I think I’ve figured out that a Pelham is not going to work for us!

Let’s start from the beginning. As has become the norm this season, I had an 8am ride time for dressage at Marlborough. It’s been ages since I’ve competed there. Oh So did his second beginner novice ever there in 2008 and I remember freaking out about a little two-stride on course! How how times have changed…

We had a decent warmup, but I’m looking for ways to get him really through in the trot. I usually do some leg yields, but I’m thinking I need to push through more with some haunches-in and shoulder-in.

I made a dumb mistake that pretty much ruined our test as we were trotting into the ring. He probably had about 5-10 minutes too much warm-up and was starting to teeter on the edge of tension, and as we turned down centerline, my left foot hit the little plastic sign marking the arena name. He scooted forward, and after that, the test was all about holding it together. The tension showed in his downward transitions on the long side after counter canter and of course in the free walk. We ended up with a 35, which was respectable, but not what I was hoping for.

In show jumping warm-up, he got a bit tense to the point where my trainer actually said there was nothing I could do. He was taking too much hold of the bit and felt flat. My “popping” before the fence that worked so well at home, had no effect. As a result, our show jumping round was inconsistent. We had two rails due to the fact that I was trying to control him too much with my hand and not with my leg. I even started riding a bit backwards, which I haven’t done in awhile.

Cross-country started out a bit rough as I had virtually no control between fences 1 and 2. Again, I had that dead feeling in my hand. A lot of the distances were quite short, but he handled them well. There was an angled one-stride combination, a two-stride skinny combination, a bounce (our first one we’ve ever done on course) and a decent water complex with a down bank to an up bank. Overall I thought the course was quite nice and up to the standards we’ve been doing this season, I just had no control the whole way around.

We ended up being about 30 seconds over because I was fighting with him before most of the fences. So now we’ve got to try something different before Morven Park. My trainer thinks we’ll be changing bits a lot throughout the season, but for now, I’ve found a Myler pelham with a port to try.

We ended up in fourth place, our third white ribbon in a row! I’d really like to get our overall score below 50 if possible though. Until I find the right bit though, we’re going to have to sacrifice some time on cross-country so I can make sure I have control.

Be warned, our show jumping round is ugly.

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