Monday, May 19, 2008

Fair Hill

So here's the lowdown on the weekend:

We arrived at Fair Hill on Saturday evening; it was my first trip there and I was so blown away by the size and beauty of the property. Maybe someday I'll get to run around with the big boys here...

Dually definitely "won the warm up" this weekend in the dressage! We had lovely relaxed and correct work in the warmup that quickly went away in the arena (where the empty grandstands echoed and magnified every noise - especially when a horse went noisily clip- clopping by behind the stands during our free walk!) which was obviously frustrating but on the plus I felt able to control him more effectively than in past blow ups (though it might be because I totally sacrificed his length of neck). A 43.7 left us pretty close to the bottom of the pile after the first phase.

The show jumping and xc were run together one after another, so we just did one warmup for both. The weather was very erratic going from sunny and upper 60s to 40s and blowing rain and I was regretting not wearing my long sleeve xc shirt! The ground at FHI has a lot of clay in it, so quickly went from being rock hard on Saturday evening to a little bit tacky and holding with the water on Sunday (though the course, which had been aerated, held up better in both departments). The warmup was the worst and D was quite sticky off the ground. Fortunately the ring always fluffs him up and he actually jumped quite enthusiastically and well in the arena; in fact he jumped SO enthusiastically into the last line that I had to really bury him into the triple to prevent a melt down and so got one rail. A sloppy turn on my part halfway through the course (a result of not getting to walk the course beforehand!) dropped another rail, leaving us with 8 penalties for the round.

The cross country was very open and gallopy, which was perfect for our goal for the weekend (to be more efficient and quick across country). There were few technical questions, but the drop complex was very similar to where it all ended for us at YRs last year (so it felt especially good to fly through it!), the coffin was legitimate, and the second last jump (a pimple straight down to a quite substantial drop) was quite substantial for that phase of the course and compared to the rest of the jumps. Dually was absolutely foot perfect and cruised around, making it all look easy, and we came in 10 seconds under the time (which we have NEVER done at Prelim or above)!!!! It was an extremely satisfying end to a good day.

A final score of 51.7 left us in 4th place.

Pictures to come...

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