Monday, October 6, 2008

Woodside HT

Dually and I are now officially west coast eventers! And what an event to premier at: Woodside this past weekend had a distinctly New England feel to it... namely lots of mud and rain! It just happened to rain (for the first time in four months!) the night before the event, and though it was nothing by east coast standards, it was more than enough to make the footing at the horse park a total quagmire. It was probably the sloppiest dressage test I have ever ridden on Saturday - we came out of the ring with everything from my boots down absolutely saturated with clay mud. Even Dually's face and mouth were covered; it looked very unpleasant for the dude!


Though we were originally scheduled to do dressage and cross country on Saturday, the rain caused a bit of a shake up in the schedule and eventually all T and P xc and sj rides were moved to Sunday. Dually very gratefully went home and relaxed for the rest of the day, while I worked hard to reclean him and all my tack for the next day. We ended the first day tied for 7th out of 16 on a 37.9. After looking at our test, I was generally pleased with the score, because we got many good marks and then were punished severely for our mistakes; it certainly made our homework clear for next time!


We headed back to a thankfully much dried out horse park on Sunday to do our two jumping phases. I vastly underestimated the slipperiness of the show jumping arena, and opted to not wear studs. This decisions quickly came back to bite me, for as soon as I got on I realized that what I had taken on foot to be a solid base beneath a sloppy surface was in fact a slippery loose base under a sloppy surface, and Dually was sliding all over the place! We got into the ring and had quite a nice first part of the round, but then around a left hand (our harder direction) rollback around half way through the course, Dually slipped quite badly and became fairly discombobulated. In the ensuing chaos, we lost all semblance of an active canter, and then I went and rode very badly and decided that the solution to this problem was to jump up my poor boy's neck! Dually tried very hard, but needless to say he couldn't jump cleanly when he had already lost his footing and now had to deal with having his rider up around his ears! This was unfortunately the first of a line of three jumps, and we had all three down. I was very pleased with how we regained our composure, though, as we went on to finish the course quite as nicely as we started it. It was a bit embarrassing but definitely a good wake up call for me as a rider to shape up before cross country!


After a few hour break, we headed out for cross country. I had opted a few weeks earlier to drop down to training and so the jumps were quite small, but there were a few good questions and it would certainly be good to get out on course again! Dually went out like gangbusters and never looked back; he was definitely happy to be back! He was actually quite strong, but I tried very hard to ride efficiently and not check him up too much. The first few jumps were definitely a test of my mettle to stick to that plan, as Dually and I had vastly different ideas of what speed to take the jumps at! I was proud of my safety seat, which came into action at the third fence (a downhill upright) when he chipped quite badly and then had to pop over: the photographer happened to be shooting that jump, and though I would never buy the photo because Dually looks so awkward in it, my position was pretty awesome given the situation! Following reins in a perfect auto release, down in the feet, butt at the back but still out of the saddle... sweet! Dually for the most part sharpened up after that but was still quite strong and full of running! The course was definitely not long enough to get him to settle into the softness that he usually gets the second half of most prelim courses; he was still pulling me desperately through the flags! I was really happy that he was so eager though and very happy with my riding and my conditioning, as he seems to be in at least as good if not better shape then at Richland.


We ended up being one of only two people in our division to make time, and so, despite the disaster of show jumping, we ended moving back into the ribbons and ended up in 6th. Dually will now get a few lighter days before getting ready for Ram Tap in 2 weeks.

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