Spoiler alert- we won!
P was fantastic yesterday. The past two weeks it’s been hot and sunny and then Saturday night comes and it’s freaking freezing and RAINING. 78 and sunny on Friday, 55 and raining on Saturday. Of course, NC, of course.
My dressage time was 11:13 with stadium between 12 & 1. So I got to the barn around 8 since I couldn’t handle packing (or cleaning) the trailer the night before and then we loaded up and were on the road by 9:15.
P came off the trailer super up and unfocused. Yaaaaay….So I made my husband take him away to graze while I checked in and walked stadium so I wouldn’t make him more nervous with my nerves. The course was fairly straightforward with some bending lines and rollbacks, but looked totally easy. Of course, it was still 18″ so how hard could it be?
I got on P around 10:30 and we headed to the arena to warm up for dressage. P has been in this arena about 4 times or so but they just put in mirrors along one short side and part of one long side and P was like, “Uhh, so there’s this grey horse following us but I think we can outrun him. Hold on.” Fun times.
Then he settled down for the most part, thank goodness. We were doing BN A, same as the last CT we did (at KFP also, last November), and we’ve never scored over a 61% on that test. I think we’ve done it like 4 times now and it’s just not my favorite. I much prefer BN B, but really can’t wait to start showing Novice because I love Novice B even more. Ok, slowing my roll now.
Anyway, the last time we did BN A, this happened.
So while I normally don’t really ever canter him in warmup, I wanted to be sure he’d pick up his leads. Since starting back riding, we haven’t cantered much due to ankle weakness. So I asked for the right lead and got it right away, asked for the left and still got the right.
Out of 6 left lead canter requests, only one was granted. And by now I’m flopping like Raggedy Ann on my unfit horse so the only fair thing was to walk him and whine about it to myself. Then I whined about it to an eventer friend who was coaching two of her students. She said to ask him for a leg yield with my left calf at K, rather than attempt to use my ankle or heel. No time to practice, though, so I said a lil prayer and headed down centerline.
My husband used the GoPro to video my dressage test and I have not yet mastered how to edit the video properly yet, so video will be following at some point in the near future.
But here are some stills:
I felt not so great about the test and really felt like I lost my left stirrup a bajillion times and was just unbalanced. Quote of the day was to my husband as I exited the arena, exclaiming to him that P was the greatest, to which he goes, “Come on, not the GREATEST.” My response was, “Did you see the way I rode? He’s DEFINITELY the greatest.”
But really, P is not a very forgiving horse and he totally not only tolerated me, but took care of me. I’m pretty sure he knew which test we were doing and went on autopilot.
Now my ankle is hurting pretty bad. So I’m seriously considering calling it a day because, 18″ or not, if I’m not confident, that’s not going to give P confidence. And the shorter stirrups on my jump saddle put more pressure on my rigid tendon so jumping any height probably wouldn’t be the best idea. But because I’m me, I decided to rest for about 20 minutes and take an ibuprofen- one of those 800 mg ones because that’s how I roll- then hop on to see how I felt. So my husband took those 20 minutes to play dress up with P. Because that’s what he does.
So I rest up, change my clothes and get on and we walk down to stadium. P got lots of compliments on his sunglasses and he felt pretty relaxed (or I would not have been putting on gloves and riding at the same time).
I popped him over one of the eensy weensy warm up verticals and HE.FELT.AWESOME. No hesitation but not super strong either. So I headed around and did the itsy bitsy oxer and he sailed right over it! It felt great to be jumping and I didn’t want to stop so I volunteered to hit stadium.
This was videoed on my GoPro (on my helmet) and I’ll post video when I figure it out, but it was a fun ride. Pilgrim had zero hesitation except when I nearly pulled him up because the number for jump 3 had blown over and I wasn’t sure if I was going the right way for a second. I trotted a lot of it to negate my swinging left leg and was sure I had some time penalties, but it just felt good to get this first show out of the way.
So we headed back to the trailer, I untacked and then went up to go wait for my score. As I was nearing the table, I heard “…problem with #82…” which, of course, was MY number, so I asked what was going on and apparently my dressage test was nowhere to be found.
30 minutes later, I’m told that because one of the riders in my division scratched, there was a mixup with tests and numbers and someone else had my test and had already gone home. She was called and said she’d bring it back on Monday but gave them the score- 35! So 65%, officially the highest score for BN A, and not too shabby considering the circumstances! So now I’m in the lead by 3 points and they’re waiting on stadium scores.
NOW I’m wishing I had just cantered the course, ankle be damned. I was sure I had time penalties from my hesitation at jump 3 and the trotting. But the guy came up with the sheet and no penalties- we win!
P was so great, I’m so proud of him for taking up the slack. I really need to get a jump lesson (or two…or three) in, and an xc school before going to FENCE, and I have a dressage lesson with trainer J next weekend. But I’m happy to be back and from his attitude yesterday, so was Pilgrim.
And of course, as soon as we pulled into the home barn, the sun came out.
Bonus- I had Matt video Pilgrim’s trailer loading. When I got him, he was a little bit sticky going into a trailer and had to really be persuaded. After being stuck at a show last year (alone, of course) trying to load him for 45 minutes or so,
we I worked really hard on this. This is how he ALWAYS loads now and it’s amazing.
Now time for bed…I suppose I have to work tomorrow.