Onto the admission...Charlie and I went to Pine Top Horse Trials this past weekend. I didn't say anything leading up to it because if it was a complete and utter disaster, I could just forget about it. And while I wouldn't term it a wild success, I don't think it was a total disaster.
My ride times were super late (D at 3:20 and SJ at 5:54) so we got there about 1:30 - 2. Now, Charlie is NOT a fan of standing on the trailer. At all. And that's an understatement. He spends his time violently pawing. So I brought super Mom with me, hoping he would calm down enough for her to hold him while I walked my courses after dressage. Needless to say, he was nuts...literally. So I decided to get on him and let him wander about. He was ok - not naughty, just kind of jumping out of his skin. He was pretty willing to go to work but he was very tense and managed to work himself into quite a state. I was on him for about 20 min then headed back to the trailer. Janna was kind enough to come help and she took him to hose him off while I changed my shirt. As I was going to get back on him, he kicked me! Total punk! He was kind of acting like what you see racehorses do in the paddock right before the jockeys get on so I really think he thought he was back at the track. I'm going to try and not hold it against him...
He put in some really good work in the warm-up and was quite good going around the outside of the arena but I think in the end, I was on him too long. He was just really tense and I was tense so we had a really tense test. Go figure. We got a 41 which is a bit frustrating as he is more than capable of scoring in the low 30s and maybe even the high 20s on a good day but we'll get there. We went back to the trailer, hosed him off and he seemed to really settle down. Settled enough that my mom felt comfortable with Janna and I going to walk the course while she stayed behind with Charlie.
Janna and I watched some of the Novice SJ (because BN hadn't started yet) and then went to walk the BN X-C course which was very straight-forward. It was basically log, log, log bank, logs, coop, logs, red house, logs, log by the water, logs, more logs, log house, log, log house, water, log pile, and table. I went back to the trailer to find my usual horse had returned. Charlie had calmed down considerably and was calmly grazing with my mother still attached to the other end of the lead rope.
I tacked Charlie up and we headed over to SJ. He got a little wired on the walk over but not bad at all considering how he was earlier. He warmed up great and was even calm enough to stand by the ring while I watched a few rounds go. When it was our turn, we went in and they rang the bell right away which kind of threw me for a loop because I couldn't remember the rules surrounding the start and finish flags. I was pretty sure I was going to end up with a ton of time and a refusal because I *think* I went through the start flags twice but I don't really know because I never got to walk the course. He was a little stronger than he'd been in the warm-up but he totally made up for being so tense in dressage AND kicking me. He was really great. We had one oops fence that was totally my fault and he saved me big time. We finished double clear in SJ (somehow!).
I spent the night in Aiken with Shelley (see Cross country schooling and video extravaganza) which is about an hour away. I hacked him Sunday morning and he was great. My X-C time was 5:34 so we left Shelley's at 1:30 because I had to walk my course again. He got off the trailer and was a bit excited but settled right down so I ran off to walk my course. When I got back, mom said he'd been really good. X-C was running about 25 - 30 min early so I hopped on about 4:40 and made my way over to the warm-up. Janna wasn't able to come on Sunday so I was by myself. Warm-up went pretty well - I love that they have natural jumps in warm-up now. I popped him over a couple of logs and he was really good. I made a huge tactical error in not wearing gloves - because Charlie was so sweaty, my rubber reins felt like they'd been coated in Crisco! There was some confusion on what the order of go was since they were running so early and not everybody was there. We finally got to go and Charlie was really good. Me not so much as my reins were a mile long and I was having a really hard time picking his face up off the ground. I think a new bit is in order - not because he's strong, but because I'm having a tough time keeping him balanced. It's almost like he gets in a breezing frame and it's very difficult for me to balance him. He peaked really hard at the water - so hard, I thought I was going to have a stop. He never went backwards, just sideways so we lucked out and went clear. But I had a ton of time penalties mostly because I was so worried about speed faults, I trotted in a couple of places. I think I also lost a lot of time trying to rebalance him. Other than that, it was a pretty good round. Lots to work on but now I have a good idea of what kind of reaction to expect from him.
Not really sure what's up next for us but we have lots of options. Some of it will depend on my Navy and school schedule and some on finances (gas is out of control right now!).
|Charlie being cute right before cross country!|