Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hilltop Equestrian Center Horse Trials - August 6, 2017

When I decided to only event this summer, I really only had two venues in mind where I knew we could get solid experience close to home, Hilltop and Green Acres.  The only two HTs in Maine are over three hours away, so I figured these two venues in NH were our best bet.  

We were back at Hilltop for the third time this year at the beginning of August.  I almost didn't bother sending my entry, figuring we had already done four events (two at each farm), but I thought it would be a good last schooling before the championships later in the month.  Plus, Hilltop does a year-end awards program that I have never participated in, despite having shown there since 2007!  So, I figured it was worth the experience and chance at winning a fun year end award.

It was the most perfect summer day and I had great ride times.  My friend and her 4-H kiddos were going to come watch again but ended up not being able to at the last minute, so I was alone.  This is fine except it makes for limited and crappy media haha.  When I arrived, it seemed pretty quiet, and I found out at the secretary's booth that the judge had overslept, so the dressage hadn't started yet.  Whoops!  LOL!  Everything was going to be about forty minutes behind, which meant that I really had plenty of time to walk my XC and take my time getting ready.  I even hand grazed Snappy for about twenty minutes and watched a few dressage tests because I had so much time to spare.

When I grabbed my packet, I noticed the XC jump list said the wrong division name at the top, so I asked to swap it out with the correct list of jumps.  This venue doesn't do a map, just a list of numbered jump names.  Remember this, as it will matter later on.

Snappy was calm and warmed up easily.  I really love how laid back she has become at shows and how she transitions from the warm up to the competition ring without any issues.  This took Dreamy quite a while to learn how to do, so I appreciate Snappy's lack of drama.  We had a decent test, no problems, and I was pleased with her effort.  I didn't think it was our best test ever, but I was in for a surprise when I saw an 18.1 on the scoreboard.  WHAT?!?!  
So calm
In a small division of three senior riders, I was sitting in second, as the first place rider (let's call her J) had a 16.something.  We both were discussing our shock at our scores while warming up to jump LOL.  J had also been ahead of me after dressage at the last Hilltop HT in June by less than a point but had a run out at the black drainage pipe fence.  I teased her that she wasn't allowed a run out today and then she could beat me haha!  I told her she better sit up, leg on, use the crop if needed!  She seemed surprised I would encourage her to beat me, but let's face it: this is for FUN and why would I wish her to have a run out again?  I don't care what place I am in as long as I give my horse a good ride and we have fun!

We had about an hour to relax before XC.  It was pushed back as well, so I tried to be smart by keeping an ear on which division was up and not be ready too early for XC. Once I had done a bit of trot and a few fences, the warm up area didn't seem to be emptying out, so I asked the steward if everything was OK.  I figured a rider had fallen. 😔  Instead, she said the division before me had been given the wrong XC jump list, so they were allowing riders to walk the course.  

Remember when I said I had been given the wrong XC jump paper?  Yep, they accidentally switched the two lowest divisions XC lists in our packets and not many had noticed.  I am SO thankful I did because it would have stressed me out to have to hand off my horse to a random person or tie her back to the trailer in order to run out and walk my course.  It's not a short course either, and it took a good fifteen minutes for everyone to walk around the big field and out through the woods and get back over to the XC warm up and start box.  So despite the fact I tried to only give us twenty-ish minutes to warm up, it was closer to an hour by the time I actually rode.  It's not a big deal, mistakes happen, and it was a GORGEOUS day without high heat or humidity, so whatever.  I think I may have been cranky if it had been 900 degrees or freezing cold haha.  Normally this farm runs well organized events, so one mess up in the ten years I have been coming here really isn't anything to get upset about.

The course was changed around for this event, as the last two had exactly the same course, so that was a good thing.  They even moved the start box this time, so we had to go by the warm up area and all the horses/people and snake through the field in a totally different way.  The jumps themselves were all things Snappy has seen before, with tables, logs, hay bales, coops, and the black drainage pipe, and she was absolutely brilliant!  She didn't want to canter through the long stretch in the woods (ah well), but she did canter between a couple fences in the field.  GOOD MARE!

We went clear XC and went I returned to the trailers, I saw J, as she had gone out right before me. Of course, I asked her if she had made it over the black drainage pipe the first time.  She laughed and said yes, but instead her horse stopped at the white coop, the second fence on course.  WHOOPS!  That was a bummer for her.  I knew if I could go clear in stadium we had another win.  Heck, I think I could have had four or five rails down and still beat the other rider in the division because of our fantastic dressage score!



We had another hour or so wait until stadium.  After all the walking we had done waiting for XC to start, I knew she wouldn't need much warm up at all.  I just planned to trot a little and pop over two fences.  The course was a simple figure eight this time, so no issues and even a bit of canter again, which was great!  Right now, her canter is much less careening out-of-control exuberant than it has been, but now she has decided she only likes the left lead, so that's the only lead she picked after each fence haha.  I had to bring her back to the trot, but that's OK because she still cantered a bit without losing her mind.  I have to remember it is going to be a lot of small steps to gain this mare's confidence!

So, to end another great day of showing, we finished on our dressage score again!  I think we have been in second after dressage and moved to first at every event this year haha!


So impressed with herself haha

So those scores will never happen again!  Generous judge!!

A 9 on rider position?  OK!
messy hair, don't care
Next up is championships!  AHHHHHH!!!! So excited!  😁


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