I can’t remember a Memorial Day weekend where it wasn’t hideously hot in Virginia, and this year was no different. I competed at the third Loch Moy Starter Trial after missing the second one last month due to Oh So’s injury. As much as I missed being at Virginia Horse Trials, I was glad I made the choice I did, because we won!
It was basically gross and humid from the time I got to the barn at 7am until I got home that night at 7pm which really just exhausts me. I’ve never been a hot weather person, and this was the first weekend where we were eventing in the heat. We’d gotten a taste of it the week before at the PVDA show and didn’t like it then either!
We did a very short warmup, about 20 minutes, and maybe it was because he was hot, or maybe it was because we’d done the dressage show the weekend before, but he was quite relaxed, and we carried that right into the ring. Our troublesome free walk to medium walk was the best he’s ever done, and he got an 8 on the transition. Who is this horse?! His frame was a bit more open too, and we didn’t get any comments about him coming behind the vertical.
We ended up with a 24.3 to lead by 8 points.
I’d walked the course the day before, so I had a few hours to sit and fry. It got a bit cloudy for a second, but the sun was pretty much baking us all day even though it wasn’t crazy hot, just the humidity.
We had a very minimal show jump warm up because I was really feeling the humidity by then. I didn’t pick, he didn’t hit anything, so in we went, and we carried that feeling the whole way around the course.
I got a bit close to the second one and he tapped it, but it stayed up, and the second part of the first line was a bit close, but otherwise I was actually happy with my riding for once! He really rocks back and waits through the in and outs, so that was a good feeling.
I was just barely hanging on as we went to cross-country. I kept telling myself that I just had to make it another 5 minutes! He was excited and pranced around the start box. The first three jumps were lovely, and the fourth was a small rolltop down a hill. I sat up, he came back, but I did not back him up with my leg, and he kind of scrambled over it. It was pretty embarrassing honestly!
When I get tired I get loose, and with the heat, I think he really needed me to be there with my leg more so than usual. He’s not going to stop, but he’s not the same youthful crazy that he used to be, as much as he’d like to be, so I’m not actually being run off with like I sometimes think I am! I actually need to, not kick, but nudge a bit sometimes to help him off the ground.
The next few fences were good until we got to a roll top with a hole in it right before the water. A lot of horses had stopped at it, and I really should have ridden with more leg, but instead I picked, and he trotted a few steps, then cantered over it. Not the most beautiful jump. Then we needed a bit more go through the water to get out over a log, and I was undecided as we hit the edge of the water, which was about a stride back from the log. He went long, and I was planning to wait with no leg to back up the short spot, so I got left behind and then got thrown up on his neck on landing. Good lord. I know better than that!
The last three fences I got my shit together, and he finished up well to take the win and the TIP award for novice.
So lesson learned. Dig deep and be more secure even if I’m dying in the heat, and make sure to cross-country school closer to an event. I hadn’t schooled anywhere since competing at Loudoun, and he certainly doesn’t need it, but I do.
I’m hoping to school this weekend somewhere where we can work on jumping stuff up and down hills. I’m off to Bromont next week for some cooler Canadian weather, then hopefully Seneca and Surefire.