Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Big "E"

Yesterday was our last Horse Trial of the spring season.  I prepared, I packed, and leaving later than I wanted to I still made it to Kelly's Ford with an hour and half before I needed to be on.  So I left the High Queen ensconced in her prison  trailer and went to pick up my packet and do a quick walk of the xc course.

Quick it was not, the course was really long and I realized half-way through that I realized that somehow I was walking the wrong course.  And when I asked one of the jump judges she was absolutely no help.  So needing to get on for dressage and knowing I had over two hours between dressage and stadium I decided to leave it until later.

My whole warm-up plan was to warm up just enough to get her moving, but let her be as calm as possible. Seneca was a bit reluctant to go in to the dressage arena and not great while she was in there.  She remember what the halt was, always very important. She was more bendy this time, also good. We managed to do both canter circles, though she broke in the second, went back to the canter in the wrong lead, and I had to ask her to change.

Not too bad a test, we got a 45 and put to the bottom of the order of 16 entries. Eh, better test than the last one that's all I really wanted.  Back to the trailer, untack, sponge off the sweat, it was really hot, not middle of the summer hot, but still pretty warm.  I relaxed for a bit, gave the mare-beast some water, let her relax although the field full of cows behind us had her giving them the hairy eye ball every 15 seconds.

I put Seneca back on the trailer then struck out to re-walk cross country.  A second judge at the starter box still was no help but directed me to a very condescending woman who informed me that the Maiden jumps were marked with a blue flag. Thanks for making me feel like an idiot.  I walked the course again, found the water jump not inviting at all.  You come up to it on an incline where the horses can't see it until the last second and it's just suddenly there. While I was walking the course I saw more than one horse absolutely freak when suddenly presented with the water. At that moment I was not looking forward to that jump on the course.

But I moved onwards along the long course and finally finished with an hour and a half before needing to get on for stadium.  I got something to eat, sucked down more water and trekked back to the trailer.  I took the mare-beast off the trailer to let her hang out tied next to it.  She freaked when she realized the cows had moved up closer and spent her time flipping from side to side at the end of the lead line. She did not however escape.

Then all too quick it was time to tack up for stadium/xc since they were within minutes of each other I would be show jumping in xc gear.  All tacked up and after having a lovely conversation with my neighbor, I picked up my giant jumping bat (It's long enough I can smack the mare-beast without taking my hand off the reins, if my reins a little longer than usual)  Off we went.  

The mare-beast was pretty damn fabulous in the warm-up. We jumped the baby X, the bigger vertical, and the even larger oxer.   Then we circled, circled, waited for our turn.  A minute or two before we were supposed to go in the mare-beast began to fidget.  When it finally was our turn the ring steward had to give me a hand lead-in.   I got Seneca to the first jump made the long sweeping turn to jump 2, went over it  and this is where the mare-beast lost her mind.   My trailer parking neighbor had warned me about the jumps going in the direction towards the judges stand.  Something over there was very spooky to a lot of horses.

And it was our undoing.  Upon landing after the second jump Seneca shied sideways almost hit jump 6 before I got her circled and pointed at jump 3.  Nothing doing whatever was over in that direction was too scary to be tolerated. We got elimated.  Head hanging a bit we made the walk of shame back to the trailer.

I finished off the day by getting a strawberry smoothie from the vendor area then packed up, spent 15 minutes convincing the mare-beast to get back in to the trailer then made the 3.5 hr trek home.

Was it worth it?  Yes. Was it frustrating to not even get to do part of the xc course?  Hell yes.  Do I wish there was another HT this season? Yes.  

All in all I spent around 200$ for a partial schooling event. Sigh.  So the plan?  Do h/j and dressage schooling shows closer to home at less entry cost and less gas cost.

Keep it between the flags everyone. 

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