Finally we’re into our eventing season! We’ve done three events since my last update, so here’s a recap:
We started off with the starter trial at Loch Moy on Memorial Day weekend. It wasn’t too hot, but definitely humid, and we just dodged thunderstorms in the afternoon.
He was a little bit dry-mouthed in the warmup, which wasn’t a terrible thing, just not usual for him. He was perhaps slightly holding his neck, so I worked on some suppling exercises like leg yielding in trot and canter to get him a bit softer. He ended up with a 23.8, but I took that with a grain of salt considering it was a schooling show.
Our show jumping round was probably one of the best we’ve ever done. It was soft and fluid, I kept the rhythm, and he was jumping in good form with a lot of freedom in his shoulders. It was definitely one I’m going to try to emulate and remember that feeling.
Cross-country was on the softer side, but it was a good real first run of the year, just nice and open and gallopy, but with a few things in the woods, which is good practice for the recognized event in July.
All photos by GRC Photography.
The next weekend was Waredaca. I hadn’t been back in awhile, and honestly probably won’t go back anytime soon. I scratched last fall after so much rain. They were pulling people in and out of the parking lot and still didn’t cancel, so I lost my money and wasn’t happy. Surefire and Seneca canceled and offered free schooling and/or money off a future entry, which I thought was a nice gesture.
This time around it was dry as a bone. The dressage warmup is in a horse field, so it was rutty with tall grass. We kept our warmup to a minimum and luckily had some time to finish on the surface right before our test.
I thought it was one of the best ones he’s done–very relaxed and fluid, but the judge had some puzzling comments about how his stride looked like it belonged on a smaller horse. WTF? If anything, he was slightly behind the vertical, which I can have a hard time feeling from on top sometimes, but she didn’t say a word about that. Our score was a 29, with lots of 6s and 7s. It was frustrating, but whatever! Lisa and I knew it was a good test.
Show jumping is tough there in a narrow ring, and I just wasn’t seeing anything in the warm up. I took that plus a lack of impulsion into the ring, and it wasn’t the smoothest round we’ve ever had. The first jump was lovely, but after that I got a bit picky, unfortunately.
Cross-county was a unique new challenge. Since the last time I competed at Waredaca they’ve opened a brewery, and it was right on the edge of the course. There were kids running and screaming, music playing and lots of drunk people watching! It was puzzling that they put the first fence on an angle heading straight into the fence and the crowd, and that actually caught out quite a few horses. I just made sure to ride a bit stronger to the first fence, then we were on our way.
Again, not the smoothest round we’ve ever done, but it was nice and gallopy in between fences, which was a welcome relief after Loch Moy’s twisty course. There was a tough combination with open rails to a mound to a log on the other side that was about four strides. We rode the open rails well, but the mound was so steep it nearly stopped him in his tracks, then we kind of flubbed over the log. I’m pretty sure that’s how it rode for most people! Definitely a weird question for novice. We ended up in second place and won the TIP award for novice!
GRC Photography Photos
Last weekend we went to Seneca. It was the first time ever that I’d gone without a groom/parent and my dad was unable to come, which was sad since we’ve spent a lot of Father’s Days sweating it out there!
Dressage was pretty steady, not much else to say about two trot circles and two canter circles! I thought we were scored more fair this time and ended up with a 26.7 for third place. The novice senior division was definitely the most competitive!
I was kind of nervous for show jumping for some reason. Maybe it was because I was watching terrible ride after terrible ride while I had some time in between. It’s a very open grass field, which I knew would help me ride better, but for some reason the course was catching a lot of people out.
In the end, I’d say it wasn’t our best round, but it wasn’t too bad. I only got a bit deep to one fence off a long approach, but an oxer, left bend to an in and out rode really well. We’d been practicing that at home after we had a similar question at Waredaca that I rode terribly.
He was quite feisty in the box and was raring to go on cross-country. As a result, for the first six fences or so I think my half halts were a bit strong about five strides off the jumps, and he came back a lot more than I expected, but my leg wasn’t there to back it up. They weren’t ugly jumps, just not as smooth as I’d like. He had a bit of a look at the half coffin, which was a ramp to a ditch, which was funny because most of the time he’ll step in the ditch if I don’t make him pay attention.
Otherwise the rest of the course rode well, and we ended up winning! We also won the TIP award which came with some cash.
Now we’re having a quiet week until Oatlands. I’m volunteering at Surefire this weekend and hope to school the course next week since we’re not allowed to ride over there anymore 😦 I’d love to compete, but there’s so many events in a row from June through July that we need to keep in the every other week schedule.
Mike McNally Photos