So. Novice at Olde Hope. It happened and it was awesome. Let's break it down.
In addition to getting the decidedly unwelcome spider off my truck and passing the hay trucks on the road, there were a couple little things that made me feel better about the day ahead of us. Because I gotta be honest - I was getting dangerously close to 'regret' territory when my alarm went off at 5am and I headed to the barn.
|mare has been SO QUIET at the trailer lately|
The event was so far away.... and we were all alone.... and there wasn't time to walk my courses.... and maybe novice was a mistake and I was trying to move up too quickly. Ya know. The kind of self doubt that can easily cloud anyone's mind in those lonely pre-dawn hours.
|the bridge to heaven!!|
For some reason it felt meaningful to tow my pony over this bridge that is so wrapped up in childhood memories and daydreams. (have I mentioned that I am a bit sentimental? bc... yea lol)
|same bridge, photo courtesy of the google. feels much higher when you're 7 haha|
It still ended up being tight-ish timing, and I had just learned the test and seated myself on the horse 15min from go time. Not how I usually roll... but then again I usually end up feeling like I'm on too early. Plus our recent awesome schoolings have been in the 10-20min range anyway...
So I figured it would be ok. Isabel warmed up the way she always does - like a total professional. I worked on those modified turns on the forehand, and did all my transitions that way. She felt steady and connected and balanced.
I also tried to ride a little slower than I would in the test at Dan's recommendation. He said judges like to see a forward ride, but that by warming up slower you can help the horse maintain better balance when you open them up in the test. I'm.. uh... not sure I did justice to this theory haha.
|she says i'm disturbing her from her power nap|
So on to the test itself. I really wish I had video! It felt good. Not actually phenomenal, but really consistent and good. I felt like I missed some of our geometry (not quiiiite touching the rail in the circles) and that we lost balance a couple times, esp in the trot-walk transitions that we slipped into (ring was hard slippery grass).
After saluting at X, judge said Isabel was a nice horse and that I was doing a good job with her. I commented on our slipping around a little bit and she said we could have maybe slowed down a little. Oops. That same comment is reflected on the test sheet too.
This score definitely took me by surprise. I am THRILLED with it. You can see what I meant by not doing Dan's recommendation justice, as we earned the comment 'running' (and loss of balance) a couple times. That seems like an easily fixed problem tho, and entirely of my own creation. Ah well.
I'm FLOORED by that 8 on the left lead canter depart. The right lead is still a 6.5 tho, just like last week. Probably bc it's both Isabel's and my own weaker direction, so I'll just need to be more diligent in our practice. The canter circles were better this week tho, which pleases me. The 5.5 for the walk-trot would sting, except yea we totally slid into it. So that's maybe even generous.
And speaking of 'generous' haha - do you see that judge's comment?!? I would be embarrassed except she totally nailed it. Isabel is a generous horse. So generous. She consistently puts in a nicer test than my riding might merit. What a good mare!
|rustic oxer for fence 1|
Isabel warmed up about the same as always. One really iffy distance, and the rest were fine. The warm up area kinda sucked tho - long and narrow. Not really the space I wanted for testing the 'whoa' and 'go' in our canter - but I guess we need more 'whoa' anyway so it was ok.
It was a cool stadium course too - all bending lines and roll backs. My favorite! Plus the jumps looked mostly pretty small.
|i love these little towers!!!!|
|i actually kinda love all these fences|
|somehow the rustic 'hunt field' look makes them feel really inviting|
|skinny stone wall! and those standards!!|
|these standards too - how neat!|
|kinda dark, but this was a neat brush box oxer|
Phew! It was a disappointing rail... and I was a little frustrated with how lazy/sleepy Isabel felt (in her defense it was a bit hotter out than it has been recently). But in a way I was kinda glad to get it figured out before heading out on cross country. At least I knew what I was working with!