I spent Father’s Day like so many before, at Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials with my dad!
I had super early ride times and was done by 10:30, which I was grumbling about at 4 a.m. when I woke up, but I’m glad we got done before it got unbearably hot.
Bittersweet Field, where the event is held, had some damage due to cars and tons of rain this spring, and they ended up cancelling the prelim and intermediate. As a result, there were some rutty spots on course and the dressage warm up was half the size and not super great.
He’s been coming out quite relaxed at his competitions, bar the first one at Loudoun when it was cold and windy, so I’ve been doing about 20 minutes of warm up for the novice test.
I think I ended up doing less this time because of the footing, and as a result we were actually lacking a little impulsion in the test. We got a 27.4, and could have actually gotten better had my centerline been a bit straighter and my accuracy a bit better in my canter transition up. We did get a 6.5 for impulsion, but scored an 8 on gaits and 7.5 on submission and my position, so that was good, but lesson learned on the impulsion.
When he’s so relaxed like that, which he was not for 95% of his career, I get lulled into, “Oh, this is nice and calm,” and forget to “show him off” a bit.
Show jumping went pretty well save for two oxers where I got him a bit close, but he kept everything up. It’s a big, open grassy area with a slight hill, but at novice height it didn’t really change the way I rode each fence much.
Cross-country at Seneca is always open and gallopy and with not much terrain, so it was a good one for fitness for him with it being so humid and warm.
The second fence I had a little discussion and we weren’t in a totally perfect spot, then the third fence we started getting a bit close. I wasn’t seeing a good stride and the first few fences just didn’t feel as smooth and out of stride as they could have. It’s like the last five strides or so the energy gets transferred to my hand and my leg comes off.
It took me until about fence 6 where I said, “OK, now seriously, you can’t ride every fence like this,” and had a nice one out of stride. The next one was good, then the steeplechase fence was way long, then we set up nicely for a bending line.
The table before the water was nice, and the downhill rails towards the water was good. The jump out of water was a bit short, and the rest of the course we finished well to be about 20 seconds under time.
We ended up winning and winning the TIP Award for novice. Yay!
Now we’ve got Surefire this weekend, literally across the driveway from Oh So’s paddock, so as long as the footing isn’t too wet I’m hoping to be a little more supportive with my lower leg and a bit smoother on cross-country. It’s all about perfect practice these days since we don’t have any move up goals anymore.
I’m excited to be back at Surefire. I haven’t competed him there since he was going novice in 2009!
No show jumping video because my dad forgot to hit record!