- The fence height was fine, as was the general topography. A few hills here, some twisty turns there - and even our first ever A-B combo! But really, this course was very small, with most fences shared between BN and Intro. It would have been the perfect move-up course. As it was, I hoped it'd be a great course for us to FINALLY go clear and build confidence.
- EXCEPT: The footing was stupid soggy almost everywhere. Some areas were downright dangerously slippery - especially through the woods. I was worried that Isabel would flat out object to the footing and get stuck behind my leg. My only hope was that she'd channel her inner trail goddess and actually find comfort in digging her toes into the ground - rather than the hard concrete-ish footing we've been running on at other events.
|Isabel seemed to be in a great place tho - she had handled the nasty dressage footing with aplomb, and was quiet on the trailer while I walked my courses. So I was optimistic.|
|Plus, the organizers ultimately decided NOT to time cross country due to the footing conditions. I heartily agreed with this, and had identified 2 areas on course where I would absolutely be walking, and quite a few others we would likely trot.|
|Fence 1 was a small roll top Isabel and I jumped at our last schooling outing. You can also get a clear sense of how inviting this course was just from these three fences: Intro on left, Novice on right, BN in the middle. Intro might be the only maxed out fence.|
|This was obviously just fine for Izzy too. We didn't even bother with more warm up fences - she had been so excellent for stadium and the xc steward said I could start whenever, so we just headed straight out.|
|After fence 1 we skipped through a break in the fence to get into the front field that we had schooled through last time. The footing started to get questionable pretty quickly and I was very careful on my walk to test out different potential lines to see which was the driest. It didn't matter tho - right away on our ride Isabel was tuned in and cantering forward - not paying the least bit of attention to the ground. So I started to relax and enjoy it pretty much immediately, while still not taking any chances for another lattice-type stop to happen.|
|So I rode fairly strongly to all the jumps in this section - tho as you can see fence 2 was another cake walk.|
|Regardless, the plan was to jump the lowest middle section: the logs. Isabel locked on and jumped fine. We could have jumped any section, honestly. Mare was HUNTING the fences!!!|
|Plus we had plenty of room to get back up to pace for the quick left turn to a small log. Isabel ZOOMED back into canter and paid zero attention to the mud sucking at her feet.|
|Fences 11 and 12 were actually in this REALLY pretty little round clearing that I never even knew was up there. On any other day it would have been really nice to hang out in here jumping all the many logs, but on this day it was treacherous.|
|Izzy got a great distance to 11 - helped in no small part by the fact that I decided to participate again after the near miss at 10. We came to a trot afterwards tho for the sharp left turn down hill to 12.|
|Tho we continued to slip and slide in an otherwise lovely canter out of the woods and back onto (relatively) solid ground.|
|To our first ever A-B combo!!!!! Starting out with this same small bench again, then 60' to the faux ditch.|
|Then we GALLOPED up the hill through the finish lines haha with me squealing and yelling and generally carrying on that Isabel is the best horse in the whole world. And yes it's on video lol.|
So there ya have it folks! Isabel and I have officially gone clear through a BN cross country course - woo hoo! Isabel felt phenomenal through the whole ride too - really enjoying it and hunting down the fences - but also still supremely rideable. I'm hoping this outing was just what we needed - both of us - for continued success.
Then we stuck around for another 2 hours waiting for scores (they were SERIOUSLY short on volunteers so nothing ran very quickly....). I was pleasantly surprised to see we moved up on the leader board despite the rail in stadium. Obviously I don't revel in anyone else having a bad day or getting eliminated (I've been there and it sucks), and I would have been equally happy with 6th place (or higher)... but this little pink ribbon is just sooo pretty :D
|lovely pink rosette for finishing 5th - plus a smaller (but equally pretty) green rosette for placing 6th in dressage|