We took several horses to Greater Dayton HT this weekend…. The divisions were much bigger than usual, and I was really impressed by the quanity and quality of pros in all the divisions…. The turnout was REALLY impressive!
I was riding a big collection of green and/or young and/or new to me horses, and it was definitely a learning experience. The weather dropped about 20 degrees for the show, and the horses were all definitely feeling their oats, and much friskier than usual. I am still learning about these horses, and tried some new things…. Some of which worked, and some of which definitely didn’t ! Oh well, that’s how that goes, I guess.
In dressage, ASAP warmed up brilliantly…. He felt a little excited, but SOOO good. He consistently wins the dressage, and he is so neat on the flat. I made the mistake, though, of walking in his warmup to take a break to help answer some questions to help someone else, and only had the opportunity to pick him back up right before I went in. I lost his focus, which was completely my fault, and I was trotting around the ring when a utility truck drove by with massive banging noises and, for the first time, I completely lost him. Our test was tense and a thousand times less quality than he deserves…. He won four times last year! But this weekend was not to be, and our score was less than pretty. Similarly on Basil, I tried new things and earned nothing but tension and a very unusual dressage test for us…. He is 1000x better on the flat recently, but it didn’t show. I was very dissappointed with myself.
I drew the luck of having all four horses in front of the same judge, so by the time poor Expedition trotted in the ring, I think they judge was convinced my career aspiration was to be a rodeo rider. Expedition was doing his first horse trial, and put in a stunning test that I was SOOOO thrilled and impressed with. But the score of 42.0 didn’t reflect that at all… I was sad to see that I felt Exped didn’t get a fair shot, after my two frisky tests… It was incredibly disappointing. Ex couldn’t have been better!!!
With the weather, even my steady eddy Grasshopper was feeling his oats. He was much less relaxed than usual…. No major mistakes and he was good, but he just wasn’t as brilliant as he can be….. He was quite good though. He scored a 32.7 in a big division of NICE horses and pros that I have great respect for. He was 4th tied after dressage out of 25, with the scores very tight.
Show jumping was better…. I am still learning about Basil, and we had 1 rail and a few discussions. ASAP and Ex jumped double clean, but as their first outing of the year (and Ex’s first ever) they were a bit green, but tried VERY hard and didn’t touch a thing. Hopper was my rock…. I used a plain snaffle in SJ for the first time in 2 years, and he was fabulous…. I couldn’t have been happier. Double clean in SJ without touching a single fence. So that left me with just 4 faults out of four rides… Not too bad, but I can do better.
Sunday was XC…. I am nothing if not a cross country rider! I set out on Basil in the Prelim, determined to redeem our new partnership, and put down not just a clean round, but a pretty one. He completely lived up to that and more…. He was beautifully smooth all the way round, and jumped everything out of stride and listened so well! I just loped around and rode smoothly to every fence, never arguing or fighting. I was shocked at the end of the day to see that, while I knew he made time, he had the FASTEST ride of the day by quite a lot, coming in 27 seconds under while making very little effort at all. He was one of only five double clear rides in the Open Prelim….. Only five horses made time!
I knew I was in a tie on Grasshopper, so I loped around the course, not going particularly fast, but we are such an old married couple that we don’t spend much time arguing about anything. We loped around, smooth and easy, and Hopper was a bit bored. I took some crazy lines to cut off distance, as my partner and I are very much in tune to each other these days. I never went fast—he still had two or three more gears to give—but we were super efficient everywhere. I was just loping along—but when I looked at my watch two fences from home, we were set to finish 45-50 seconds under time…. He is SUCH an amazing horse, he barely broke a sweat and I never fully put the throttle down. I had to scrub lots of time since I was in a tie, and carefully brought him across the line just 3 seconds under time to try to be the closest to optimum time. Later when I looked at the scoreboard, I was sure that he wouldn’t move up, as there were so many very, very good pros in our division. I was shocked to see that yet again my beloved $600 killer truck pony WON HIS PRELIMINARY DIVISION, finishing on his dressage score of 32.7!!!! And that means that, with all of his HT’s and Dressage competitions this spring, so far he’s undefeated in 2010! While I’m sure that can’t last much longer with the great horses and riders in our area, I am just so excited for this horse.
ASAP and Ex were great XC. Ex was green on the first few fences, but he grew up so much all the way around. By the end, he was an old pro! ASAP is a jumping machine, and will pretty much jump whatever I point him at, so it was no surprise that he jumped double clean, though a little enthusiastically. They both went double clean…. Finally Sunday I redeemed myself, with four double clean XC’s on my four horses! Ex finished on his dressage score in 8th in his first horse trial!
Nikki and Oliver had a great weekend…. A wonderful dressage test produced a disappointing score, but they recovered from that to have just 4 jump faults in SJ at Training, and a 0/0 XC round despite many pros coming to grief at fence 2. Nikki rode really, really well this weekend, and I was THRILLED for them! They finished 10th.
Ali and Alex had a learning weekend…. I’m thrilled to report that Ali got a 33 in dressage at Prelim!! She was amazing. Alex jigged in the walk for a 3 on the walk, with a coefficient…. But all the rest were 7’s and 8’s…. Without that walk error, their test would have been in the 20’s at prelim!!!! WOW!!! THey had a beautiful show jumping round for just one rail! Sunday they did a beautiful job on XC, and just had one little learning moment that I’m sure they’ll be better for in the future. Ali was on track to make time, and without that one moment they would have been fourth of 25 horses. They are an amazing pair, and they’ll be back better than ever next time! Congrats on an amazing dressage test!
Kim and Trooper were exactly the same….. An overall phenomenal weekend with just one moment that kept them from placing at the top of their class. We worked hard in warmup, and Kim produced her best ever dressage score for a 34 in dressage, and 2nd place after dressage!! They showjumped double clean to sit in 1st place on saturday night! Unfortunately one tiny moment flawed an otherwise excellent XC round (very uncharacteristic for them), and they finished 9th. But it was a great learning experience, and I”m sure it is a position they will be sitting in many times in the future!!
Horses are amazing… They give us such incredible highs and lows! I think everyone learned SOOOOO much this weekend, and everyone had some really brilliant moments. I’m looking forward to putting it all together next time and we’ll show what we’ve learned!!!
Thanks to Emily, Kat, Bev, Ali, Nancy, Marian, and Howard for amazing help this weekend!