Well, I'm feeling a little sun fried after my first long horse show weekend in the sun in a loooong time, but am so thrilled! Huntington was my first competitive outing (outside of intercollegiate stuff) in eleven months. I was definitely feeling rusty, and so was double thrilled with Kiki because she was really obedient and tolerant when I made mistakes. She's grown up so much!
(I'm looking a little unkempt, but Kiki was great)
We arrived in the late morning, just in time to start getting ready for dressage. I think I've been trying so hard to get back into shape with my riding that I've been overdoing it just a bit with both Ringo and Kiki, meaning that they're both feeling a little tired and flat. Combine that with the sudden surge in the heat and humidity that rolled in over the weekend, and Kiki definitely wasn't feeling her sparkliest! I feel bad and am giving them both a few days off over today, tomorrow, and possibly Tuesday to try to give them both a chance to recharge.
Given that, I tried to just make the test as pleasant an experience as possible for Kiki and didn't push her to be in any sort 'competition' outline or try to get to the fancier work that we've been pushing for in preparation. So, she was pretty low in the poll and the comments and scores reflected that, but she was also super obedient and relaxed. With memories of Stuart one year ago this weekend, where Kiki went totally rank and then mysteriously came out of the ring hopping lame, this was a MASSIVE improvement!
(A little low in the poll, but so chill with competing and grown up)
We ended on a 33.5 which put us mid-field in our division. Looking at the pictures, I feel like I know where our homework is, both in where I should try to improve Kiki's way of going and my position. I looked pretty rough sometimes!! But it could be a lot worse too, all things considered.
(Position = a bit rough; canter = a bit flat)
After dressage Pa took Kiki back to the trailers (thank you Pa!! Best groom ever!) while I zipped off to walk the cross country course. Despite getting lost a few times because I didn't think to procure a map, I thought the course looked very fun and doable. I was getting excited!
I had planned for a pretty short warmup for cross country since we'd done dressage only like two hours earlier, but when we got down to the warmup area with twenty minutes to go, the division hadn't even started yet! We ended up sitting around for probably fifteen or twenty minutes before the division even started, which was a good chance to catch up with some folks I hadn't seen in a long time because I've been a abroad, even if I was a bit peeved to force my horse to be out into the sun any longer than necessary.
Finally it was our turn! Kiki was AWESOME. I felt very secure in my two point and jumping position, but my setting up skills were somewhat lacking. Sometimes I brought her back too much and then had to make a move, other times I didn't feel like I really got her off her forehand. She jumped really well despite my shortcomings, but I know I have some homework to do! We finished clear and well within the time, moving up to 5th after the second phase.
It got really, really hot by mid-afternoon, and in the wait for show jumping both Pa and I got pretty dehydrated and sick feeling despite our best efforts to keep drinking and find shade. In my somewhat foggy and headache-ridden state, I walked over to show jumping on three separate occasions to try to walk the course and got turned away each time. Then, finally, I decided to just get tacked up and head over, only to find that my division had already started! Yikes! Talk about show rusty!
I'm usually pretty good with my timing, so I was a little mortified. I never even got to walk my course! I literally had enough time to trot and canter around, jump one jump, and watch the rider in front of me go to figure out the general pattern of the fences. I was pretty happy with how I handled the situation, given how badly I had set myself up, and managed to not get totally nervous.
I went into the ring and made sure to take every turn extra wide to give myself enough time to read the fences, and it actually went pretty well! We only had one turn/jump that I wasn't very happy with, where we jumping pretty boldly down a six-stride line going downhill and then I got a bit discombobulated and made a pretty sloppy turn to the next fence, a vertical on a slight rise. We kind of buried into it, but Kiki was very clever and jumped it cleanly. After that, we finished up well and finished with our first clear round in a USEA event ever! Good girl Kiki =)
We ended up tied for 3rd, but since we'd gone pretty fast on cross country we lost the tie and came home with 4th. I couldn't be more thrilled with Kiki. What a star!
Today, I went back to Huntington and spent the morning scribing. If you've never volunteered at an event, DO IT. It's always a lot of work and time in the sun, but it's soooo fun, educational, and rewarding. I felt like I had a lot better understanding of what the judge was looking for by the end of the day, and hopefully had a better grasp of what separates a good test from a winning test. Plus the judge I worked with was super nice and it was fun to meet new people. So VOLUNTEER!! It's beyond worth it!
Next up is GMHA dressage next weekend; Ringo has, of course, thrown a shoe, but should be getting it back on in the next few days. I'm getting really excited to show him again!! Hopefully he can follow in the Piggy's footsteps =)