Well, I survived an event without Lisa and had a pretty good result to boot. I decided to let Oh So stay out overnight before Morven to see if it would help with his dressage. I bathed and braided him the night before and to my surprise, his braids still looked great in the morning and he was clean! Unfortunately, the turnout didn’t seem to help with the tension in dressage.
This was the second show in a row where I felt like I was just barely holding him together from an explosion. He started out holding himself a bit in the warmup and I had only allowed about 35 minutes, when I could have used more. We’d had a good flat lesson earlier in the week trying some renver in trot and canter, so I was able to get some in trot, but it didn’t seem to influence him as well as it did at home. We had to disrupt our rhythm a bit to go up to the ring, and his trot work in the test was just a bit tense. He was also fussing with his tongue for some reason and I could see it in my photos. He had his usual near-explosion after the free walk and his halts were kind of crappy, but we ended up with a 33 to be in first after dressage.
I barely had time to breathe before I needed to be on for show jumping, so my course walk was more like a course run and I didn’t really get a chance to think critically about what I was going to do at each fence, but I guess it didn’t really matter, because we only had one rail down! The ring was on the track with a slight slope, not what I was expecting at Morven, so I had to make sure I really kept his stride open going up some of the hills. I lost his shoulder a bit, and as a result some impulsion, to the triple combination and we got there on an off stride, but he somehow powered over the first oxer and then added a half stride in the one-stride distance and cleared the second part. He made the next one stride distance, but had the rail down just barely. It was kind of embarrassing to be the person who got two strides in the one-stride, but it didn’t look as bad on the video as it felt. Lesson learned, as I rode the last combination a lot better.
I had an hour before cross-country which was slightly nerve-wracking, and it had been raining a bit, so I knew the footing wasn’t going to be perfect. I took a bit of a short spot to a table at fence 4, then subsequently rode terrible to the quarry and got two strides in the one-stride again! Luckily he just kept going, but was a bit suspicious of my bad riding for a couple of fences. He did the water complex quite well and tried his hardest at the bounce bank where I think I didn’t ride strong enough to. Overall, I felt like I was a bit backed off or some reason, be it the footing, or my uncertainty about a couple of the combinations when I walked them on my own. We were about 15 seconds over time, so not too bad considering I wasn’t really going for it because of the footing.
I think I like the bit so far, but I almost have to be careful he doesn’t listen to it too much and then find that my leg isn’t on to push him forward. We ended up second and won an autographed copy of Denny Emerson’s book.
On to Loch Moy this weekend, then ATCs.