And they were right. We made it through our full day in just plain old rain. Sometimes a light mist, other times a steady rain. But nothing horrendous.
|meaning my new MCTA saddle cover was put immediately to use!|
|never ending path (blurry bc we were on a mission, no stopping for photos!!)|
|good for practicing water crossings on the way to xc tho!|
|seriously... this was a freakin HIKE. now i understand perfectly why this property is great for endurance rides|
|warming up in the grass like nbd (note to self: LOOK UP!)|
|not the nicest - but a fairly typical way of going for us. moving in the right direction slowly but surely|
|ah but yessssss - we have moments of this too. i LOVE these moments, and they are happening more often these days|
|our canter transitions are still scoring low, but the circles are gradually getting better|
There were a couple strange moments of bracing and tension that we don't normally see - but they were mostly in the never-ending sections of un-judged trot work. Except for one blip at K for our last walk-trot transition before the center line turn... which was a bummer bc we usually score well on those turns but the transition killed the score.
Our canter transitions still score < 6 despite a lot of focused work on this. It's entirely possible that my work isn't making any difference bc I'm somehow doing something wrong that I don't know how to fix... but I'm also wondering if it's a chiro problem... We'll see. I AM heartened to see our canter circle scores improve. We got a 7 (!!!) on our second canter circle - yesssss!!!
The free walk was scored a little generously since Isabel was popping up and diving down... but I'll take it. All in all I was very pleased with the test, which is below in video form with all the scores and comments added in for the viewer's convenience. Enjoy!
Then we had a little break for M to ride her stadium and cross country, and I got to see first hand just how slippery and torn up the footing was becoming (stadium was on grass). There were something like 6 splits for BN, and I was in the last one... meaning the footing only got worse and worse...
Allison managed to find me among the crowd too and again I just can't fully express how cool it was to finally meet her in person!! Also - my parents arrived just in time for stadium and xc. This was a real treat and meant so much to me, esp as they are decidedly non-horsey and hadn't seen me ride in maybe 10 years. So I was excited for them to experience the atmosphere and adrenaline that defines eventing for me :)
|nice balance of left and right turns, and singles vs lines|
The stadium course was a bit more to my tastes compared to Tranquility. Lots of bending approaches, a straight and bending line, and only a couple long runs between fences.
The left lead tour from 4-8 had me a little worried - esp between 4-5 and 5-6, since Izzy typically lands right and those were tight, close-ish distances on iffy footing... Plus 5 and 6 were maxed out oxers... But really it was a good course and test for the level.
I kept our warm up pretty short (esp given the loonnnnng walk up to the field from the trailers, wherein Isabel MARCHED and out-walked every other horse there despite her pony legs). I meant to trot the X but we cantered it instead. Eh it was fine. Jumped the vertical a little tight but ok. Jumped the oxer BIG and decided we were good. The warm up footing was getting sloppy but Isabel was fine with it.
|But then she got into the ring where the footing was arguably worse and decided that she was a lot less fine with it. She was definitely sticky and behind my leg.|
|pictured: me yelling at izzy to pay attention. izzy meanwhile is mid scream lol|
And in fact Izzy actually called out to Special upon landing from fence 1 - the first time she's EVER whinnied under saddle at a show. I did not likey. You can hear me on the video going 'hey hey HEY' lol - pay attention mare!
|Fence 2 came up a little snug too - with the horse still stuck behind my leg....|
|And you can see in the video I kinda helped her out a lot in getting over the fence. I pretty much stayed in this defensive stance - close to the saddle and occasionally even a little behind the motion - for most of stadium and all of cross country, given the footing. I historically lose my seat if the horse's front end goes down (whereas I'm usually ok when the back end goes down), so I wasn't taking any chances!|
|We then slipped our way around the corner, and Isabel perhaps realized that, um, YES she should probably pay attention lest she end up falling on her ass.|
|We got a nice distance to fence 3 - into a line that walked in a weird distance, maybe around 5 strides? I planned to do 6 tho, and was very happy with our balanced but forward jump in.|
|And in fact the 6 strides came up a smidge tight coming out of the line, but given the sloppy footing and the upcoming left bend to a big oxer, I was jussssst fine with that.|
|My plan was to get 7 strides to the oxer - but our conservative jump over fence 4 combined with a wide-ish bend and more slippage through the line, we did 8. Again, I was fine with this. The conditions definitely did NOT call for the pace we had at Tranquility - and really my main goal was to maintain enough impulsion to get over the fences without running like a maniac.|
|Fence 6 was another big oxer off a left turn and had me worried on the walk. Isabel jumped it beautifully tho. Really really nicely - maybe even our nicest jump on course. I think the technicality of the 3-4-5 question had forced me to actually ride the horse up in front of my leg, and it paid off for 6.|
|Then we came back downhill to 7 and I perhaps got a little too gung ho again haha, esp given this fence was so much smaller in comparison.|
|We approached in a really nice canter - I just didn't really balance in time and we took a bit of a leaper. It was fine tho - no harm no foul. It would have been bad news if this had happened at 4 or 5 tho, bc we landed in a bit of a heap and had our work cut out for us to get to fence 8.|
|So naturally we cross cantered around the turn until Izzy slipped again and fixed her leads. She nailed 8 tho out of a very nice canter.|
|My phone sadly died after 8 (I think it was actually just cold in the unseasonable damp weather), but the right turn around to 9 followed the same pattern and was handled easily by the princess.|
The footing was a serious factor tho. Isabel had gotten distinctly more comfortable in the slop throughout the stadium round, but we slipped a LOT. So it would be imperative to keep Isabel up and in front of my leg on cross country so we could stay on our feet and maintain enough power to make it over another full sized BN course. Bc yep, I got my wish and the cross country was absolutely level-appropriate. Details tomorrow!