My friend Jenn pulled in to the event Friday morning with clinician Sandy Alexander in tow!! I was THRILLED about that because he is seriously awesome and I definitely stole him away so he could coach my warm up for dressage. Had a decent warm up. Once we got in the ring, things kind of backslid a little, it wasn't our worst test, but it wasn't great by any means, and I was just kind of riding half assed and didn't make any major corrections, because I was trying to not cause an explosion, which by now we all know Sunny is famous for!! Our free walk and stretchy circle, however, were LOVELY. Came back out and I wasn't really happy with how it went, so Sandy drilled me and Sunny at the walk and trot for a solid hour afterwards, and it was GREAT!! I'm horribly inconsistent with my outside hand and leg, and once I fixed that, it was like riding a whole different horse!! And with Sunny I need lots and lots of bend, all the time!! So I have a lot of things I can take away and work on, it was awesome:) Afterwards I totally wanted a mulligan for dressage, haha. We were sitting 12th out of 12, no surprise there. No pics or videos of dressage because Kris was at work that day!
Saturday morning was cross country and we ROCKED that course!!! I am still so over the moon about it, Sunny was so awesome and bold, forward, just ON, ugh, she really has totally come into her own on cross country this year. She doesn't look at ANYTHING, doesn't matter what it is, she just goes. It totally blows my mind. It was a long galloping course, nearly 3500m, and I didn't have to push Sunny at all, just let her gallop how she wanted, and we easily made time!! Crazy!!
And because my rides are never boring, I had a crazy moment where I had to use my ninja stick it skills, lol. 6A and 6B were vertical log jumps set on an angle on a downhill slope, and we jumped 6A, went down the hill, and I do this stupid thing where I tip my upper body forward when I don't see the distance. I hate it, and I'm working on it! So anyways, I tipped forward right before 6B, and Sunny chipped in and jumped kind of awkwardly, and I popped up out of the saddle and lost my stirrups, and then came back down and was kind of hanging off Sunny's left side! I was like "SHIT, I AM NOT FALLING OFF!!!!!" She kept cantering and I kind of steered her to the left a bit and managed to get back in the saddle!! Regained my stirrups, the leathers had twisted and now I have massive bruises on my calves from them, but we carried on!! Other than that, the course was AWESOME!!! We had moved up from 12th to 6th place with one of only 3 double clears in my division, oddly enough there had been a lot of trouble on course.
I used the CourseWalk app to map my course and find the minutes markers! I've had that app for over a year and had always forgot to use it, but it is AWESOME!! Will definitely be using it again:D Here it is if you want to check it out:
The photo course walk up first!
Big trakehner!! They usually only ever use this for the championships, and Sunny and I had never jumped it, so I was surprised and excited that we had it:)
6A and B, where I had my little flying off the side moment, lol.
There was a lot of brushy stuff on my course, I loved it!! :D
12, then down the hill to the skinny!
Over 8 coming into the infield...
3 strides to 10B!!! :D
Second water questions...Jump!
2 strides, then drop in over the log...
90 degree right hand turn to the bank out...
2 strides to the jump!
Later on Saturday we took the horses down to the river to cool off. Sunny pawed and pawed and pawed the whole time we were in there, but didn't roll! It was hilarious:) Here's Jenn with Aloan, and Dawn:)
Dawn and Sunny:)
It was hot out, so there were like a billion people floating down the river, which Sunny regarded as highly suspicious!!
Wet, awkward looking Sunny, haha.
SO MUCH PAWING!!! Lol.
Cross Country Helmet Cam!!
Sunday was stadium. I walked the course and it looked good!! Tight and turny but I like courses like that, with a liverpool option which was sweet, and also lots of different turns and approaches you could choose from. It was set big but not overly so. Sunny and I had a good warmup, and I was confident going in. However, things often don't go quite as planned, and Sunday, unfortunately, was not the day for us!!
The first 3 fences rode *perfectly*, and I was like "Wow, this is actually going really well!!" You came off fence 3 and made a fairly abrupt 90 degree right hand turn to 4, a max height/width oxer with big fill boxes. The ground fell away a bit oddly there, sloped down on the landing from 3, then sloped back up coming to 4. We made the turn to 4 and Sunny CRASHED RIGHT THROUGH IT. Holy crap! I nearly came off, and I couldn't believe Sunny somehow managed to stay on her feet, despite DEMOLISHING the entire jump. Seriously, check it out in the helmet cam video at the end when we're walking out, we KILLED that thing! At the time I thought I had totally ridden her past the distance and that I had screwed it up big time. I pulled her up for a moment, and all 4 legs seemed to be working fine, so I circled and carried on. The next few jumps rode fairly well actually, considering we'd nearly killed ourselves! We circled around to the triple 9ABC, and Sunny totally crashed through the top rails again, and I pulled her out of the line and immediately retired. I didn't really know what had happened, but I knew that it just wasn't really working, and it wasn't going to get better by trying to finish the course. Sunny is a hell of a trooper and would have kept going, crashing rails and all, but I don't want to die and I don't want Sunny to hurt herself, so I made the decision to just stop. Something just wasn't clicking and 3'9" is too big to flounder through.
I came out of the ring and Sunny had come out with some blood on her mouth, probably from smashing her face into some rails. She had no heat or soreness, no scratches amazingly, seemed none the worse for wear. She's going to get a few days off for sure though.
Anyways, it was interesting when I got home and watched the videos, I wanted to see exactly what had happened on the approach to jump 4. And it was weird, we made the turn ok, good pace, looked like we had a decently straight approach and got there on a good distance...and Sunny...just didn't take off. It's almost like she didn't SEE the jump until the very last second for some reason, and I really don't know how she managed to stay on her feet, crashing through all those rails and boxes!! I have seen horses eat shit like that and go down HARD, with far smaller jumps. We are CRAZY lucky we didn't totally eat shit and die, that's for sure!!! And then coming around to the triple combination, it was like Sunny was looking at the second jump instead of the first. Not sure if was the lighting or the color of the poles, but she totally misjudged the first jump there and that's when I pulled up.
Check it all out for yourself though... Definitely feel free to post your thoughts, good and bad!!!
Helmet Cam up first...
Jump 1 and 2...
These 2 were after the crash, you can see things were a little bit awkward, I was riding SUPER defensively after that...
So yeah, lots of craziness Sunday. I was a little disappointed of course, but shit happens, there's always another day, another event. We are still both in one piece and that's the main thing, and will be back, better than ever:)
So next Monday we are off to Grande Prairie!! Long 8 hour haul up there, we've got the 3 day clinic with Sandra Donnelly on the 28th, 29th and 30th, and then one day off and the the event on Sept 1st and 2nd. Will also be up there for my niece's birthday and can visit my family, so that will be awesome as well:) Should be good!!