BUT. This show, to me, felt like an important milestone. Jenny Camp had been slated on my idealistic events calendar as Charlie's "move up event" since my earliest ruminations on the horse's debut event season.
|A: Enter Fabulous|
Let me explain: Charlie rode the Beginner Novice Test A for dressage, a full w-t-c test that we will likely be riding for some time to come. He jumped a full stadium course at 2'3 - the full height at which we ought to be competing at present (rather than anything lower). And the real pièce de résistance, cross country, was a full 1,800m track of appropriately sized jumps with all three xc hallmarks (ditch / bank / water) in what honestly amounted to a watered down BN track.
|hey look, it's a trot!|
|wow, it's a canter too!|
It's frustrating, but again - I'm ok with it. I knew basically what I was gonna have going into show day and focused on just riding that horse. Our test lacked any of the glimmers and beginnings of give or softness or suppleness that we saw at Fair Hill, and our circles are still too small and misshapen (gah, Emma, c'mon!). But all the transitions happened more or less correctly and in the right places. Small victories, y'all.
I unfortunately misplaced my test so couldn't add the scores and comments to the video - but this test won me my "straight 6's across the board" Bingo! square haha. Every single movement, including the collectives, was either a 6 or 6.5. Comments and feedback were right in line with what we're already working on. So. Ya know. Just gotta keep working.
|matching expressions ftw|
And for right now, we're showing our greenness in the dressage ring in a big way. It's cool tho - Isabel taught me a pretty deep appreciation for dressage (even the low level 'boring' stuff) and Charlie's had enough good moments of finding a 'nice' feel that I think we'll eventually get him to a better place. It might just... take a while lol.
|off to a smashing start (puns lol)|
And then? When we go to put the tack back on? He knows that means JUMP TIME too :D
|we like the left side, ok?|
Charlie didn't care tho. We found ways to keep mostly to ourselves on the flat - then kept the jump warm up super simple: trot the X, trot the vertical. Canter the vertical, canter the oxer. Use both leads as appropriate. Then be done. Good 'nuff.
|wish my head wasn't cut off, but i'm still pleased with the fact that i'm carrying my hands more forward|
The first three were on an S-bend downhill, then a roll back uphill to 4 before another S-bend downhill from 5-6-7-8, then finishing up with the only "long run" back uphill to 9.
|big horse over tiny fences!!!|
I didn't really bother much with leads bc there was such little space and I didn't want to disturb his rhythm, but he either held the counter canter or made a full change himself when needed. Fine by me!
|what can i say but that he's a good boy??|
In some ways, this might have actually felt like our "easiest" stadium course to date at an event. Maybe the trickier ground worked in my favor? Whatever the case, I was quite pleased with him. The rail was silly and careless, but also totally forgivable at this point IMO. It's actually maybe a bit of a miracle that we hadn't yet had any rails in previous outings, honestly.
So. Two phases down in a competition where each phase was testing Charlie to the fullest measure of his current level of training. And next up? His biggest baddest xc course yet.