So a few weeks ago we had our first outing of the season, the Beaumont derby. I decided to give training level a go even though Sunny and I had only jumped 3 times over the winter, and hadn't even gotten a chance to school cross country yet, due to our lovely extended winter! I wasn't expecting a lot, just wanted a positive experience to start off the year.
I didn't need to worry though, Sunny absolutely FLEW through the course!! What I discovered about the first round, was that when in doubt, Sunny just GOES! That's her default, is even if it's scary as hell and she's wavering on the approach, she just goes anyways! Might not be pretty, but she goes! And it's my job to stay with her;)
The course started out with a small stadium course of 8 jumps, and then headed straight into the short xc course. Wasn't sure how the time/optimum speed was supposed to work exactly, since everything was all together, and speed was 425 m/m for the entire course including the stadium part. I had forgotten my watch (and we couldn't use them at pre-training level the last 2 years anyways) so we were just winging it basically. It ended up that you had to FLY on xc to make the time anyways, so it all worked out.
Surprise!! First on course was a half coffin. Almost everyone's first fence was a ditch, even the lower levels, and there were SO many stops, it was rather silly, whoever thought that one up:P
Pheasant feeder, then across the water!
First round was ok! Had a couple of rails in the stadium course, and set out on xc. Sunny wavered coming up to the ditch, but awkwardly jumped it, and I kind of landed in a pile on her neck, and Sunny smartly did not continue on over the jump! So I reorganized and approached the combination again, and Sunny was like WTF but a tap with the whip and she popped over the ditch and over the jump no problem and we carried on. At the banky/ditch thing I could just feel her looking and going !!!!!!!!!!!!! as we approached, but I sat up and put my leg on and she went right over with no hesitation:) We flew over the next 3 jumps no problem, then all that was left was the pheasant feeder, water, and house jump. I was ok with Sunny maybe needing to have a look before she went over. Totally slowed the last 3 strides to the pheasant feeder, then LAUNCHED herself over it practically from a standstill!! It was hilarious!! I went with her as best I could, and lost a stirrup, then as she was galloping through the water towards the last jump I was just thinking, "Lord, I hope I get my stirrup back before that fence!!" I did, and she flew over it:) I was pretty happy with that round actually, amid the minor bobbles!
I think I had about 5 mins before they sent me off for my second round. As soon as we set off, Sunny was totally on! Went clear around the stadium course, and Sunny didn't bat a single eye at ANYTHING the second time around!! She was pulling to gallop harder between fences, turns out all the horses were just galloping headstrong into the wind! She was bold as hell to everything second time around, and crossed the finish line pulling to keep going:) I was THRILLED!!! It was SO awesome!!
Turns out we were pretty much bang on the time, and so was almost everyone else! First, second, and third were mere hundredths of a second apart!! It was crazy! But I was so happy, and we ended up third!! :D
Pheasant feeder, water, house!
I thought it was a pretty decent start to the season:)