Todays goals? 1) Finish on a number, not a letter (aka dont eliminate or fall off!) 2) ride him to every.single.fence. and 3) HAVE FUN!
Obviously my competitive side did not escape me and of course I wanted to win but as long as I had good rides I would be happy. This was his first one day, first time putting together a xc course, first time doing dressage on grass, first time doing 3 phases in one day (thats a lot for a drafty pony!), etc. Basically a lot of firsts for us today. I definitely went into it knowing we could get around but not knowing if we would have any stops in either phase. He is not a stopper but he has and will stop if I dont ride him well to a new or scary fence. That is just inexperience at this point as he really hasnt jumped many stadium fences, especially more dressed up ones, and although he has been schooling a decent amount he hasnt done long course work anything.
Dressage was okay. For sure not even close to our best test. Actually I was kind of embarrassed to get a 32 even but considering it felt about 10 times worse I took that score happily! I think he was really un sure about the footing. His first test in grass not to mention un even and holey in some places, not bad just not what he is used to. Then they were running late so I was on him much longer then I hoped to be not to mention the fact that the rider in front of me decided not to show yet they held the arena for her before saying to me that I just needed to go in now. Oh dont mind telling me 2 minutes earlier that I might go in as you have seen me just standing here for 10 minutes. We got it together and I made sure to ride a nice accurate test since I knew my normal dressage pony did not show up to play today (or more like the dressage rider didn't show up either).
Stadium was awesome! Short warm up (rule of the day) where we popped over a cross rail, vertical, and an oxer a couple times each, with him acting like he has done it all his life, and we headed down to the arena to wait for our turn. He questioned one or two of the more bright colored fences with planks but went as soon as I put leg on and reassured him that yes I did indeed want to jump over it. It wasnt a perfect round and I didnt ride him as well to some where he happily picked up my slack and I couldnt have been more pleased. Apparently we had 4 time faults moving us from 1st to 2nd. I didnt feel like we were going that slow and even asked other people who didnt think we were either. Then we looked at the scores and quite a few people had time in stadium. Either way I was super happy with how he rode!
I made the mistake of checking scores right before xc (which we did last and I hadnt even seen our dressage score yet so didnt know we were in 1st). I honestly was more nervous on the walk to the xc field then I was when I was on course. He warmed up amazingly. He definitely knows the difference between stadium and xc as he was dragging me to the warm up fences. I knew that the fences I needed to really, really ride him to would be the first 4. Partially because once they get going over the first part they tend to get more and more confident throughout the course and also because they had some weird angles and light/ground changes. I feel like I rode him as confidently and well as I could have and in return he jumped each and every one of them. He looked hard at fences 1-3 but I never felt as if he wasnt going to go after I put my legs on. From there on out it was pretty much smooth sailing and he took the remaining 12 fences like an old pro! He was tired by the end but I knew that was coming. Majority of the fences were maxed out (2'8") and it was basically the length of a recognized xc course (it was 15 fences and optimum was 4 minutes something) and that is after already doing dressage and stadium. I couldnt be more pleased with how he performed today!
|He went right in!|
Even with a total of 13 time faults (wouldnt of had any xc if I hadnt chose to take him through unmarked water before going through our flags) we will pulled it out and placed 1st by over 10 points (majority of the other people had refusals on xc)! I was not pushing him for speed in either one and didnt even wear a watch. That way I could just focus on having a nice solid confidence building ride. I also now know more of the pace that we will need for the recognized.