A.K.A. The good stuff!
I had a moment before cross country to try and get to a more zen state of mind after the whirlwind of stadium. I literally closed my eyes and did some deep breathing while Duke wandered up toward the warmup. What a gem.
We jumped a few solid warm up fences, felt really happy with my riding and Duke’s jumping, and headed to the startbox.
3, 2, 1 – and we were off on cross country! This show is tricky in that they start the cross country by making you run away from the barns and away from the warmup area. Duke was not totally keyed into me for the first couple of jumps. He was thinking more about the horses he was leaving behind as we came up to fence three, the tiniest little up bank you ever did see.
Duke, however, did not see it until it was time to jump and he geeked at it pretty good. He tried to stop but he got a good growl from me and a swat on the behind. Actually I more like roared at him than growled. It might’ve echoed off the trees and startled all the jump judges down the galloping lane at fence four. No matter, we were clear over three, and off we went!
After that it was smooth sailing. Duke was focused on the job and my task at hand was more about keeping the lid on him, watching my time and giving him a positive ride to each fence. Homeboy is speedy. We splashed through the water with no problem. Even fence 15, which was a shadowy, airy vertical with a mini mock ditch in front of it was fine. That was the one I was most worried about, but by then we were galloping toward home and Duke was eating up everything in front of him.
We made it home clear with 18 seconds to spare! We ended up in 4th place overall!
I was very happy with Duke and my own riding. Even with short warmups and high stress levels, I managed to ride my plan and be successful. It was my first outing of the year and I am so pleased! I definitely needed the run to knock some rust off and honestly just get more experience. It was only my second horse trials ever. Sometimes it’s kind of hard to remember that.
Things I learned from the weekend:
- Time management. I have to start getting ready way earlier and maybe be better about asking for help.
- Stud holes. I think I cleaned them out way too well. The tee-tap and studs went in way too easy, and I think the time I spent picking them out is really what made me run late for everything else.
- Charge the GoPro!! I’m sad I don’t have helmet cam video of my ride. I do have some better photos on my nice camera (thanks, husband!) but I can’t find the cord that connects them to my computer. #firstworldproblems
- I think I really like the red/gray/black combo as my cross country colors but I might need a more flattering pair of gray breeches. I love the Kerrits ones I wore – seriously so comfortable! – but…they’re not always the most flattering so they may just be schooling breeches. Until I can afford a new pair of nicer gray ones, though, they’ll do the trick.
- I have the best trainer and best teammates ever. (I mean, I knew this already, but I just wanted to say it.)
Next up: Our Novice debut!