So onto the details and zillions of
photos video stills from Jenny Camp this weekend! Thanks everyone for your congrats - we really had a blast and I'm very pleased with Isabel's performance. Or rather, I'm pleased with myself bc Isabel consistently demonstrates that she will rise to any occasion - I just need to meet her part way.
|obviously anything is possible when your mascot is this adorable|
This event was a new experience for us too in that I signed up for coaching from OF trainer P - and it was definitely a worthwhile decision. It reaffirmed that I'm not missing much when I compete sans coach, but having her (and her helpful little nuggets of wisdom) around added value to the experience and kept me even-keeled.
|super groom at work making isabel's tail more beautiful than i ever have in nearly three years|
I also had a 13yr old rider from OF acting as 'super groom' for the day - she met me at Isabel's barn in the morning for bathing etc., and stuck around all day long to help in whatever capacity was needed. HUGELY grateful for that!! Plus Isabel pretty much adores her, so I could pass Izzy over after dismounting to give the princess a break from evil me :)
|isabel jiggity jogs around like a seasoned veteran|
There was quite heavy rainfall the night prior and all morning, but by my ride times the skies had cleared for a strong sun and intense humidity. So much so that I only put my jacket on at the last possible moment before entering the ring haha.
We kept our dressage warm-up to a bare minimum. Isabel was immediately ready with her game face, so I just trotted a little, did a single canter circle in each direction, and maybe one or two more transitions, a centerline turn, and general focus on rhythm.
The heavy rain on such dry ground (we're in a bit of a drought) created this greasy slickness on the grass, and Isabel slipped a little bit in warm up - plus riders were having serious issues in stadium. So we aimed to keep it very steady and balanced.
|look ma - a right lead canter that's almost balanced!!!! wooooo hoo! (nvm that it kinda failed a few steps later lol)|
I made sure to ride the canter transitions and canter circles as separate movements. The transitions were pretty typical for us, deservedly earning 5.5s, but I kept riding for the circles to get marginally better 6s.
I also made myself take a VERY deep breath when picking up the reins after the free walk change to right rein. We usually fall apart after switching directions, but I managed to actually keep things somewhat consistent. The downward transition from canter was kinda heinous (or "abrupt" per judge's notes) bc I kinda forgot about my seat and just leaned forward and pulled... but I got it back together again to NAIL the turn down the centerline for an 8. Yesssssssss.
|'i grant you this moment of straightness bc swinging my haunches out is too much work' - isabel|
Rather than trying to create some legible copy of the test sheet that doesn't take up the whole page, I took a note from Kathryn's book and added the judges notes and scores directly to the video. So for those interested in the details of the test, see below:
Two hours later it was time for stadium. For various reasons I didn't walk the stadium course or watch many rounds. And the rounds I saw were not consistent enough to tell how lines rode - other than seeing some problem areas.
Jump 2 was wreaking havoc - perhaps due to the approach and greasy footing? In any case, trainer P witnessed an earlier horse slam hard on the brakes then go down flat with the rider. Both were fine, but P was very explicit to me: TROT FENCE 2.
I warmed up quickly and minimally. Our xc walk was a bit of a doozy (details tomorrow), and I was worried about Isabel running out of fuel, esp given the heat/humidity. We trotted the X twice, then cantered the vertical and oxer each once (and Izzy was perfect) then headed into the ring.
This was perhaps one of our first competitive jumping rounds where every distance was mostly pretty decent. One or two were kinda tight - but nothing super icky. Isabel moved up well when I asked, and I actually had enough presence of mind to do the asking. Again - I was seriously thrilled.
The rail was a disappointment - but only for a moment and forgotten before I even reached fence 4. The rest of the course rode so well and there wasn't really any time to dwell bc it was time for XC!!!!! Details on that tomorrow :D