Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Beaumont Horse Trials

Mother Nature decided to give us one last taste of winter on the weekend of the first horse trials of the season!  Rain, combined with sub-zero temperatures at night didn't make for a comfortable weekend, and of course we were tenting it like usual!  I am just thankful we didn't get the snow a lot of other places got!

I got morning ride times, which was a nice change from running training level last at the derbies!  I was done riding by noon and didn't quite know what to do with all my free time;)

Dressage has always been my and Sunny's weak phase.  Sunny would rather be galloping and we have had such a long journey over the past few years we've been together.  I wish it could say that it all has come together this year, but the reality is that we are still very much a work in progress.  We went from bolting and bucking sprees, to random spastic episodes, and not being able to put together a presentable, not even good, but just *presentable* dressage test. After many long, frustrating months, a vet eval, teeth work, and some chiropractic work, Sunny now feels like a totally different horse!  We have lovely loose, supple, beautiful work on the flat at home now.  I'm just waiting for that to come out at a show!

Our warm up was really good, Sunny was relaxed and calm, which is our biggest hurdle!  We did a short warm up and then headed over near the dressage ring when we were a few riders away.  Once we were there she started to get more and more keyed up.  Our dressage test was ok, I was not really happy with how I rode, but overall Sunny was noticeably better than last year.  No more bolting into the canter!  Even though she was rushing and fidgety and totally inconsistent in the bridle (mostly my fault), and we pulled a pretty abysmal score, she showed improvement in a lot of areas.  Still, I was disappointed because at home we have been schooling SO much better, but like I said, a work in progress!


I had a short break before stadium, which looked pretty straightforward when I walked it.  Despite the super deep sand footing, that a lot of horses struggled with, we had a decent round.  We pulled one rail, we had kind of an awkward jump at 6, and then I should have brought her back a bit more before the one stride combination.  She went in a tad long to the first, and pulled the top rail on the second jump.  Got it together for the last 2 jumps, so I was happy with our round.

Walked my cross country course later that evening when it finally warmed up, and I was excited!  The cross country course at Beaumont is basically set up in a flat field, so what they lack in terrain, they make up for with awesome creative jumps!  The only thing I was a little worried about was fence 6, a decent sized trakehner, and only because we hadn't jumped a proper one in a a couple years!  Figured I would just sit up and ride to it, Sunny might have a look but I was pretty positive she'd jump anyways!  Was VERY excited for fence 13, the jump on the hill!!

We had the option of doing this corner...

Or this jump twice, once from the far side, and then a u-turn back over this side...

My cross country round was good overall.  Sunny was bold and forward and hardly looked at anything!  However, she was totally pulling on me and ignoring my half halts through most of the course, she was pretty on the forehand for a lot of it, and jumping flat.  Because of that we went faster than I'd wanted to, but still finished in the window so we were double clear.  I'm thinking a bit change may be in order for cross country!!

And the helmet cam...
We were back of the pack after dressage, but ended finishing 10th after cross country.  Not great, but not totally horrible either. 

So, LOTS to work on before our next event at Cochrane in 2 weeks!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Alhambra Derby

So at the Beaumont Derby they had a little stadium course at the beginning, and then you did the cross country part, and at the Alhambra derby they had stadium jumps mixed right into the cross country course! I wasn't sure how big a fan I was of that at first, but it ended up being so awesome!!

#6 blew over, lol.

We had an option of a ditch or a old brush jump for #10.  I chose the ditch because I wanted Sunny to see a ditch before we got to the un-coffin combination!
There was an option for 12 too that I somehow totally missed when I walked the course!! This jump, or a corner with a big flowerpot on it. We totally did the corner! It was a decision on the fly, Sunny has only ever done one other corner before, and she didn't even look at it, lol.

The un-coffin combination!

We just had compulsory flags for the water, but the jump was set up in such a way that going up either bank would have given you a pretty bad line.  So the ramp out it was!

Sunny came right out of the box pulling to gallop, and even though she was super forward, she still was listening to come back before the stadium fences, which were ALL set on downhill slopes, save for the very last combination, which were big airy verticals heading towards home. Very clever Mr. Course Designer;)

The course rode great, and jump after jump I was getting happier and happier, Sunny wasn't looking at ANYTHING, so when we landed from fence 11, I decided to go for the option, the corner, and steered her over. Not a look, hesitation, flinch, or anything, she sailed right over it and carried on! Same with the un-coffin combination, right through with no hesitation! And we've never actually schooled a full coffin before! Had a good rap on fence 8, but it stayed up, and I totally forgot I was wearing a watch until the last part of the course, but we were good for time! I was SO THRILLED!!! We had the option of a second round, but there was no way I was going to tire Sunny out just for shits and giggles. She galloped, she jumped, she was FABULOUS, sure we could have been a little more organized through the coffin, but we made time and went clear, what more could I have wanted?? Sunny did everything I asked of her, she is such an amazing horse!!

I was SHOCKED when I saw the results, WE GOT 2ND!!!!! The first place rider was 7 seconds closer to the optimum time:) I didn't even really care about the placings, I was already SO happy with Sunny and our round, but it was definitely icing on the cake!!

Heading to the start box.

 Un-coffin combo!

Heading to the water.
Through the water.
Soooooo thrilled with my little girl!!!!!
And the helmet cam!!  :)