Back to teaching means blogging takes a HUGE back seat. Blah. Add in a graduate course which requires lots of reading and writing, and well, forget it! LOL! But I need to catch up, so I am going to try to bang out a bunch of posts detailing what we have been up to for the last month.
Dreamy and I headed out to Green Acres Stable on August 18 for another horse trial. We went again with Tania and Otis, who had a great outing! Dreamy and I started the day off well, scoring a 37.62 in our BN Test B dressage test and placing second in a field of ten. It was not our best test, but we had some solid 6s and 7s with a few 5s on the canter. Judge commented "Elegant horse, work to establish connection from HQ to bridle to level balance as canter can become hurried."
I felt good going into cross country, with nothing on course really causing me any worry. This is a good thing, since there was a time when 2'7" made me nervous, but Dreamy has been jumping well this year. She has been very comfortable cantering the course and jumping most fences out of hand. And after such a great run at Hilltop the weekend prior (well except for fence ONE! LOL!)
Dreamy was a little strong this time on XC was surprised me a bit. I think she is becoming more confident in herself as well, but I still did not want her to canter along too fast. The ground was slick in many spots, with some slippery mud and downhill slopes. It had rained overnight and had sprinkled during dressage. She felt confident to canter a bit faster, but I still wanted good control of our half halts and the ability to easily come down to the trot if needed (and we did on one downhill mud slick area). There was one fence she took offense to, which was a max height natural colored chevron. It did not worry me, and I was surprised she stopped. But at halfway through the course, it was the first thing she gave an eye to and I realized later that it could have been because it was RIGHT on the edge of the parking field. There were tons of horses milling around, tied to trailers, etc. about five feet from the jump. No excuses, but I can sort of understand why maybe this was a distraction for her. I kicked her up over the fence and we continued on, galloping through the big back field over tables, ditches, tires, a panel, and the dreaded hay table as the last fence. She sailed over and was very good!
I knew our XC refusal put us behind and I was kicking myself for YET AGAIN not going clear. I really want to go clear over a BN course. I know we can do it, and I know we are not unsafe over XC fences. But if it were easy, then I would have to move up and I think BN is definitely my 21 year old mare's limit and that is OK! ;-)
Stadium was in a low field for the first time at this event. The grass was long and still rather wet, as we jumped around 11 AM and the sun had yet to come out. I knew there would be slick spots and I needed to take it easy. We took the first four fences without issue, but going into fence 5, which was a rolltop to a one stride, Dreamy slipped and stumbled. I could feel her slip but it was at the last minute before we took off, so she try to jump, but then felt like she got caught and stopped. Come to find out, when she slipped she yanked her RF shoe off with her hind hoof. I cannot blame her for stopping. It all happened so fast. We got over the fence and the second element of the combination and finished the course. The judge even made a remark that she thought Dreamy had pulled a shoe but it happened so fast. Sure enough, when we got back to the trailer, her RF shoe was clean off. Thankfully there was no damage to her hoof, as she had literally just been reset that previous Monday, just five days earlier!! I meant to go back over and get the shoe, but I forgot. Whoops.
All in all, we ended up sixth out of seven, as three riders were eliminated or retired. It was not a bad day, though I do wish we had gone clear XC. And I cannot blame her for the slip and refusal in stadium and thankfully her hoof was fine.
Our next event is at Pipestave in October! I think it might be our last event of the year, but we might return to Hilltop one more time. If we go clear at Pipestave, I think I will call it good for 2012. :-)
There are three professional photos here. Blue box was fence 1, white panel was fence 4, and the square natural oxer was fence two of the combination.