I am just so proud of this little rugrat!!! He put in a most stellar weekend with only one slight little blip. He has come so far and is really learning and progressing. And with me as his Mom too!! ha ha..
There are so many "Proud momma moments" and I'm going to tell all of them!
This was our first Beginner Novice 3 phase and only our 3rd 3 phase. His jumping and dressage has been so wonderful lately that I figured we might as well go BN especially since we could school the night before. And I really don't think that the problems are related to fence height. They seem to be ditch and water and looky things related as opposed to bigger fences. And I'm really glad we did BN because he could have probably have done novice even. Anyways.... back to the beginning...
We left Friday morning and unfortunately right as I went to go fetch him, Mike started up his new drone. It was a bit loud and sounded like bees so the horses were spooked. Which made it tough to catch and then load Dan. Sigh. But we survived and picked up another horse in Dacula and then headed to Poplar. Danny does NOT like being in a stall but he's going to have to figure it out. I think he was more upset that he couldn't interact than anything else. We hung out a bit and then got tacked up and went to go school. He was a little up but didn't offer to do anything. I warmed up in the arena and let him get a few canter laps. He wasn't bolting but he was happy to move his feet. Then we headed to XC warm up and he was a bit animated but didn't do anything. PMM (Proud momma moment) #1.We jumped a little bit but the footing was so hard that I only did one or two fences. Then we walked out on course and started to school. Dan jumped all of his fences on course like they were nothing. He walked in the brush covered start box like it was nothing. PMM#2. We jumped some of the novice fences because we could. Then we got to the big kid banks and he walked down the double downs happy as a clam. I had to actually pull him up a bit because he would have trotted off. PMM#3! Then we headed to the water. It was empty but starting to fill so it had a few little puddles. He walked right in and drank. Gross! So then we turned around and cantered in and even jumped the novice jump out. Granted it was little and there wasn't water yet, but still. Then I trotted him up to the ditch and he spooked and stopped but then after a few seconds went over it. After that he walked over it without flinching and then trotted over it just fine. We played over a few more fences and walked down and up another bank. Then I saw the training ditch. It was a ditch to a small row of barrels on a one or two stride. I walked Dan down and he threw a bit of a fit. His friends were leaving (although up until this point he was happy to go away from them and towards them and have them leave and didn't even care) and he thought it was big. It's also a trappy ditch. And bigger than I thought. I almost agreed that it was too big and pulled him off. I decided to make him walk through it so he didn't win completely which he did. Then I decided to try again and he balked once but then jumped it!! Of course on landing he immediately turned left and went to canter up to his friends. I didn't push the issue because he did jump it, so we carried on. Then we got to the second water after three more fences. The second water is trappier. It's looky and it's got a lot of terrain and a lot going on. The were starting to add water so that was a hose hanging in the air pouring water in. It was scary!! So it took us a bit but we got through it and jumped some jumps. Then we went to the other side of it where they had all the big kid stuff. There was a bank on either side so it made a little baby sunken road. Dan plopped down the one side and was about to go up the other side and then freaked himself out. Apparently there was a little trickle of water running along the bottom where the water complex was filling. It was SCARY!!! I couldn't get Dan up that bank to save my life. We tried letting him see it but he wouldn't even touch it. We tried following Moo but that didn't work. However, I turned him and jumped the other side up and that was easy peasy. It was the exact same bank minus the water trickle. I thought that I'd try going down first. He did, but man oh man!! He leapt about 6 feet in the air and landed on all fours. I pogo-ed up his neck and almost came off. Jeesh. But he still wouldn't go up it. So then I tried getting off and leading him up. Nope. I tried kicking the water around so he could figure out what it was. Nope. So then I decided that I would get back on and make him go up the other side and forget about it. But he was so worried that he wouldn't line up so I could get on using the bank away from the water that he ended up jumping up the bank (twice!) next to the scary spot. Only this spot had a log on top of the bank so it was way tougher. Goofball! But we got up the bank on the other side and called it a day.
Dan got his bath and tucked in for the night and then me, Karen, Kendall and Caroline had a great dinner. And me and Karen had our own room which was quite nice. The next morning Dan was pretty clean. I got on for dressage and warmed up him in the big ring and he was pretty good. Then we went to the little ring for warm up and he behaved so well!! PMM#4! We had a lovely test!! The judge commented "Very well ridden" when I was leaving. I was very proud and got a bunch of comments from bystanders asking about him. Turns out it was indeed a very nice test! We scored about 4 or 5 8's, and I even got an 8 on my rider position!!! One of those 8's was our right lead canter!!! WHOOO HOOOOO. We ended up with a 28.25!!! MY best score EVER!!!!! I was so excited. We were first in our division and apparently first in all the BN divisions put together. :) Yahooo!!
Of course then the pressure was on. I got on to warm up for stadium and he was rowdy!!! In his defense, the stadium warm up was a large sized dressage arena size with 3 jumps smack in the middle, right next to the stadium course. And it was packed. He was fine and then he would leap up and porpoise and scoot. Then he'd settle and suddenly do it again! eeks!!! We had about 6 of those and I got in a few fences and he felt great so I just let him stand and settle. It worked because we had a most lovely stadium round!! It was really pretty and smooth and ... just lovely! I was so proud. PMM#5. We kept all the rails up and didn't have any time so yay, still in first.
We had a little breather before XC and then we were off. I was awfully worried about the water, despite the fact that we had schooled it the night before and he loves water at home. He was good in warm up although our very first fence he just about ran into before he jumped it. I don't know what happened or didn't happen but he woke up after that. He was pretty chill too although he was spooking at a Seminole Feed Flag hanging on the fence. ha ha! We got in the start box and he walked calmly out and then we picked up the canter. It was AWESOME. He was so rideable the whole course. He cantered politely and never once bolted or bucked or scooted. He was going to the fences and game. He jumped everything right out of stride and waited when I asked. We cantered and then trotted down the steep hill and jumped the coop beautifully before the water. I decided to circle around and went to trot into the water perpendicular to the flags. He slowed to a walk and scooted but went in without refusing. Then he put his head down and started to drink. Ha ha!! No Dan... Go!! So then we circled and he cantered right in through the flags and right out and we carried on our merry way. We kept up the same lovely ride until we hit fence 10, which was also lovely. He slowed and balked and we had a stop. And apparently 2 more. We *should* have been eliminated but they only gave us one stop for it. Which was quite nice but now I feel bad for the girl we still placed ahead of. :( Ooops. After the 3 "no's" I managed to get him in and once he got his feet in the gravel he was okay and we carried on. He jumped out unworried and we finished happily. Even with that, we still came in at 5:30 and Speed faults was 4:27 and optimum was 6:06. Hee hee.
Just GO IN DAN!!!!
So... we ended up with a 5th place ribbon (though again, technically we should have been eliminated). BUT... he was soooooo grown up for most of the event and sooooooooooo much better than at the last event, that... I can't complain. This time he said no to the water but I was able to convince him in 15 seconds as opposed to having to wait for a horse to lead us out. That's progress. Now don't get me wrong.. it's awfully frustrating because this horse LOVES water. He drags me in the lake fully tacked. He crosses creeks all the time, he canters through the water at Ashland, and even at Cedar Ridge never having been through the water, he trotted in on his own accord after dumping me and made me walk through to the middle to get him. So yes.. it's frustrating as I felt like I did everything right to prepare him. I suppose I should have presented him to the second water before attempting the flags also. Or rode more forward. Or pulled him back to a walk to allow him more time to look???? I don't know. But I'm hoping that it will improve as much next time as it has compared to the last.
And like I said... otherwise, he really was SOOOO GOOD!!!!