Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Twin Rivers, Day 3 (Horse Trial!)

Despite my excitement and nerves, I was able to sleep fairly well the night before the show.  I did have one bad dream, but it was not related to riding! 

Our dressage test was scheduled for 9:20.  I got to the barn a little after 7 to take Cupid for a walk, then let him eat his hay while I cleaned his stall and groomed him.  I decided to lunge him a little in case he had some extra energy, but he was pretty lazy.  Since this was a Halloween show, I wore a medieval knight costume and made Cupid a studded breastplate and saddle pad.

So I got on and we only had a few minutes before we had to go in the ring.  This is the first time I've ever done a dressage test at a competition!  My trainer had gone through the protocol with me a few times, but the timing and whistles and everything are still a little confusing.  So I wasn't sure if I was supposed to go in.  Our first halt and salute was not really good, Cupid got fidgety.  I felt okay about the rest of the test, but it went by so quick it was over before I really realized what was happening.  At the least I didn't forget anything, though my test (Intro B) is super simple.  And my trainer said I was smiling.
First dressage test, in costume - Photo by Michelle Cale

We got a score of 31.9.  We got 6s on both our halts (though I thought the second one was good) and for our trot-walk transition.  But we got a few 8s, for our medium trot and our 20 meter circle.  The notes said we had potential, but that the rider should "stretch more throughout."  Haha, I think that means I was probably hunching forward with my shoulders and not stretching into my heels.  I do need to ride in my dressage saddle more, I'm still not totally used to it.

We didn't have much time to relax before getting ready for the next two phases.  The weather was surprisingly cool all morning (the sun later came out and it got quite warm mid-afternoon after we were done). The show jumps were all pretty tiny, I think most of them were only about 12".  I was concerned about the Halloween decorations on the jumps, but luckily Cupid was unfazed.  One of the jumps had a row of pumpkins under them and I was irrationally concerned about it, I was trying hard not to think about it or look at them but my trainer said I did look down.  Oops.  Good thing Cupid ignored me and didn't look!  He did however get a little quick after jump 5, I'm not sure why.  He was a little strong but I pulled him up and he was fine the rest of the way.  We just trotted in between the jumps.

Jumping the pumpkins - Photo by Michelle Cale

After our show jump round we went straight to cross country.  Luckily we had already gone over all the jumps on our course the past two days, but I haven't done cross country as a steady course without stopping and walking and taking my time.  We trotted between the jumps and Cupid was really good.  Until the last jump that is, after which he got a little strong and we streaked across the finish line!  I don't know if it was because we were going back towards the barn, or maybe he was sensing my relief, or something else entirely.  But we were galloping towards the warm up area, haha.  I pulled him up in a big circle before we plowed into anyone.

Overall I'm happy with the way the day went.  There were some rookie mistakes and a few things to work on.  Hopefully a few more outings away from home and Cupid and I will both be more relaxed about it.
Cupid's first ribbon - 5th place

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