What a beautiful day! We’re still at Richland Park HT. There were lots of concerns with lighting at the horse trial, and in the end the ground jury moved the OI divisions to go first of the day, and took the sunken road off our course, as it would have been nearly impossible to see it with the sunlight shining in our faces. It really shows you the abilities of a world class event and world class officials—they made great decisions, made them quickly, and as a result the Intermediate course rode quite safely…. There were plenty of problems, but I don’t think there were any falls at OI, so hooray!
Nemo went at 8:12 this morning…. I benefited tremendously from walking the XC yesterday with Bruce Davidson, the Godfather of Eventing… It was great to get the insight! The course was definitely big in places, and I was definitely feeling a crunch of nerves. Bruce had said that you can always tell who will be successful on course by how they jump the first fence—positively, galloping on, not sitting down, and going forward to the base. As I left the box on both horses, I made that my mantra! Fortunately, both horses did just that, and it definitely worked well for us.
The course started out with a table to oxer to rails. Fence 4 was a ditch and wall, leading to 5AB, a big drop into water out over a cabin. Nemo was brilliant over the ditch & wall, and sailed easily over. I could have been more forward into the first water, but he jumped super cleanly into the water and nicely out. Then a huge hanging ditch and wall balanced off the edge of a bank–yikes! Nemo jumped it so tidily, and dropped down easily and we gallloped off down the hill. Then 7ABC, a brush to a bank to a skinny, where he was great. 8AB/9 was something to defintiely respect, with a big log carved into a corn husk into the water, then through the water back out onto a mound, big brush back into the water, out and over a skinny. I was a bit worried about the mound (especially for Hopper), and rode strongly and encouragingly through there…. He was SO GOOD! Out over a keyhole and over a table, and onto 13/14/15, a skinny cabin to a brush to a skinny cabin. It was such a gymnastic for him, and he was terrific. Then another gallop fence down to a HUGE coffin that was easily as big as the advanced. The rail in was HUGE, and much like the ones that caused falls at Rolex, which was really unnerving. Nemo put in his patented trot step here, and jumped it really nicely and loped through the coffin. The rest of the course was a blur…. He was so good…. Half way around, I decided to put the hammer down a little more since he was going so well, and I seemed to have plenty of horse left. We cruised home in a great gallop, and he was so wonderful…. I’m really happy with his efforts!
An hour later, I returned to the course on Hopper, who is the polar opposite of Nemo…. Makes riding them both really simple! (j/k) I heeded Bruce’s advice to ride the first fence well again, and he was terrific. Then off we galloped. The first few fences were terrific. I made a turn to the first water a little too efficiently, and he took a peek, but he was fine and jumped in anyway. Sorry buddy! He jumped out well and off we went. He was terrific on the ditch and wall leap off the bank, and terrific through the next ABC. Then onto the 2nd water…. The one I was really worried about for Hopper, after the peek he took on a mound into water this summer at a horse trial. I was determined to ride very encouraginlyg, and made the turn to the water….. Only to almost run Bruce over as I galloped down the path! That meant he was right beside the water when I’d be riding it. GULP! I thought to myself, “Okay, now I have to ride REALLY well here!!!” Hopper jumped in well, and then I clucked and used leg and used leg and used leg and used leg…. With lots of encouragement, he careful jumped the brush on the mound, and off we went over the out element…. Good boy! He galloped around the rest of the course really well. When I came to the dreaded coffin, I knew I needed to ride well over the giant rail in…. Many good horses were coming to grief there, and many who made it over were having a rough time of it. I put lots of pressure on myself to ride him well in, and was happy with the success, as he jumped in well, just touching a toe. He’s becoming so much more mature, and he was already easily locked on the ditch and skinny brush out, and was straight as could be. We flew home, really galloping the whole way out, and I was really thrilled with his efforts!
Turns out I’m consistent, and BOTH the boys flew home in the Open Intermediate DOUBLE CLEAN!!! Good boys! Now the bad news for reporting is that I’m not a big fan of looking at your placing at a horse trial until you’re finished so you don’t make yourself nervous, so I can’t really share much more than that…. I have no idea what place they’re in, or how others in the division did, sorry! You can look that up on the live scoring link from yesterday and take a peek for yourself…. Just please don’t let me know! I’m just going to focus on the fact that I’m thriled with how good my boys were….. You can’t do anything about anyone else’s scores anyway!
Thanks to Quin, Howard, and Chelsea for their great help today! Chelsea came down from Traverse City for the day to visit! Always great to see the wonderful working student alumnae!
On an exciting note, Howard and I went shopping in the afternoon…. I got to try and demonstrate “blowing up” in both the Point 2 Air Vest and the Hit Air Vest, and ended up creating quite a scene by having lots of people in the trade fair watching me blow up, courtesy of Bit Of Britain. I bit the bullet and decided on a vest, and am now the proud owner of a Hit Air Vest! Now only time will tell until I forget to unclip myself before I dismount and go “POP!” for no reason! 🙂
I show jump super late in the afternoon tomorrow…. Fingers crossed for good horses and good rides! Till then, have a terrific weekend!