I ended up working most of Thursday in an effort to get people seen and because I was taking Friday off to go to the show. Except then I had to go see two on Friday morning. So that meant that I was not quite as packed as I wanted. But it was all fine. It worked out well enough. I was able to leave by 1:30 like I wanted. Except that when I loaded Dan on the trailer I realized he was missing a right hind shoe. What?!?! We just put that on on Wednesday goober! It was a clean loss though. He didn't tear up his hoof. I called both Freddie and Wayne and Freddie was unavailable and Wayne was in Winterville. So I decided to just head to the show and use the farrier there, especially since the footing was so good at Chatt. I was supposed to be doing a dressage school with Beth at 3:30, so I was cutting it awfully close! But I made it on time :) I was even a smidge early.
Beth had warned me that parking was getting crowded and there was some very stressed and angry people! So I decided to just park in the XC field area and figured I would drive all my stuff up there. Once Dan and I got there I unloaded him and tacked him up and then we went up for our dressage school. It was soooo helpful!!
It was ridiculously hot, but we had a great school. We worked on getting him into the connection, with a shorter rein on my end, and not letting him pull my elbows forward. My elbows belong to me. He did great with it. We also worked on transitions, up and down. I need to keep the connection through the transitions, which means, don't give with my elbows too much. I also need to sit a few strides through it. And we worked on keeping his head in between his shoulders. So there are times when there is too much bend in his neck and I need to straighten it (tracking right) and then times when I need to create more bend with my outside leg (tracking left). Interesting, as I was just thinking to myself in my last ride that my outside leg was helping to create a better bend. :) Score one for me! After we worked pretty hard we went from the warm up ring down to the arena's and worked on our transitions again. Then the ring cleared up so Beth had me go in and ride my test. Thank goodness she did because we realized that I was really messing up the corners. I was riding WAY too deep into them and making him fishtail.
So... when I'm riding a circle, I need to look at my markers on the rail and ride from marker to marker (not the letter, but the spot on the rail I'm supposed to hit). When I'm riding a regular corner, I do need to ride deeper, but not as deep as I was riding. I found a spot on the rail to ride to and from. It made such a difference. Then we also worked on our "grand prix" corner. In this test, we only have a short diagonal for the free walk. Which goes by very quickly with our boys. So we rode super deep into that corner to give us more room to get more free walk. But I only ride that deep for the free walk and I need to make sure I come off the rail at the right spot too. Soooooo very helpful!
After that we hacked back to the trailer because I had NOTHING at his stall yet. I needed a halter to hose him off with at the very least and even if I hosed him in the halter I had no where to put his saddle. So we hacked back to the trailer and I untacked him. Then I grabbed his water bucket, the hose, the sweat scraper and him and his halter and we started to trek our way up to the stalls. Bad idea! Ugh.. It is such a long walk!! And I was hot and tired from the week already and not hydrated well enough I guess. I had to make a few stops and was starting to feel pretty miserable. We got all the way to the barns and then I realized we were at the other barns, up the second hill. UGH!!!! holy moly!! I made it though. I got Dan hosed off and then put him in his stall with some water. He didn't have shavings yet, but that was okay. ;) Apparently since he didn't have hay either he managed to pull his neighbors hay bag through the bars and was playing with her hay bag. Oops!!
I ended up finding a spot for my trailer right between Beth and Cindy so I got Cindy to give me a ride down to my truck (I really think I wouldn't have made it without a ride) and I drove back up and got parked. Then Dan got shavings and his own hay and his fan. :) I got unpacked and then we went to walk the XC course. Luckily I had gotten water and cooled off a bit by this point so I was recovering.
We headed to Chatt and despite not riding til 2:45, I had lots to do so we got started. I fed Dan and walked him briefly and braided him and walked XC again. And then Mike showed up!! yay!! It was quite nice having him there. We got a smoothie and did a little bit of shopping. :) Dan had a big ol' stain on his hip bones that I couldn't get out with 2 baths, so I had to go buy spray paint for him. Hee hee. They sell it though. :) Then it was finally time to get ready so I told Mike I was going to have to focus and he went to get a seat to watch. :) Dan warmed up pretty good but he was a little fussy in the connection. He kept popping up out of it. And I'm also feeling that slight head pop like he almost wants to canter.... ugh! I hope there's nothing brewing. And thank GOODNESS for Beth because she grabbed my whip before I headed down to my test. I had totally forgotten I couldn't use it for champs. Good job Beth!
It was a pretty nice test. My geometry was way better thanks to Beth. He was a little more consistent but we still lost the connection in our transitions some and occasionally here and there. Unfortunately on our first canter, he broke early and I panicked and kicked him back up into the canter. And then had to immediately pull him back down for where the transition was supposed to be. Oops. I should have just left him alone and we would have scored a 6 or 6.5 instead of the 5, but oh well. Our free walk felt awesome as did the medium, although he could still be a bit more marchy. Then our halt was a little sketchy as he was really throwing his ribs into my right leg. My foot even came out of the stirrup in an effort to keep him off me. But.. it worked because we scored a 9 on that!! We ended up with a 29.8!! I'll take it. :) This also put us in first place!!! Yahoo!! I think out of 13. In the championship division even... Sweet!!!
Dan's dressage test
We had a quick break and I let Dan have some soaked alfalfa cubes and Mike and I got a smoothie. Then suddenly I realized I had to get ready for XC or I was going to be late! So Mike headed down to watch and started the frantic assembly of the XC outfit. I wasn't quite as late as I thought I was so I didn't have to rush quite that much, but... you never quite know how long it's going to take to get down there. And for whatever reason, as I headed down, I realized I wasn't quite sure where I was going... I mean, I knew, but my brain was sending me to the finish instead of warm up, so I had to reroute. Which was fine, I still had plenty of time. The plan was to jump two warm up fences with Dan really collected and make him wait. Then I could let him jump two more more naturally. Well... he was so polite and calm and jumped the first one very politely. I didn't quite collect him like I should have, but he was so polite I figured we'd be fine. Ha!! We jumped four polite warm up fences and then we went out to the start box and waited our turn.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, have a great ride!! And we were off. Dan started out fine but was a little wiggly. It was like he was doing tempi changes (3 or 4's) going up to the fences. Not because he was being spooky or backing off, but because he was .... excited??! I don't know... so after doing that to the first 2 fences I kicked him on a bit. I think that was his secret plan! Because shortly after that he was flying!!! So okay... maybe not flying, but he was definitely not going BN speed anymore.. It felt more like training level speed. I was half halting and then I guess I was just water skiing because he kept going. We ended up taking a fairly long spot (But it was the only option) to the bank and did the 5 stride in 4 (or the 4 stride in 3... whatever it was, we took one less). And then when he landed on the back side, he bolted. Not like a fear bolt but a "wheeeeeeeee this is so much fun I can't control myself" bolt. It really felt like he kicked it into that next gear... like when he hits 30 + mph galloping out in the field. So.... we ended up doing a big circle in an effort to get him back under control. It worked and he was back to just training speed. :) So we jumped another jump and then he started to bolt again so I floated his teeth and halted him. Yep... a big fat halt!! Then we did a little pirouette and stopped again. Then I let him canter again. Of course he was still going probably at least novice speed and I was still water skiing. We speed bumped over the next few gallopy fences and I had to do a major half halt before the water again. But he went bombing into the water and did not try to stop or drink or roll. :) Then he popped over the next two fences and then we hit the giant mound. This made him think enough that I was able to get him to trot up it and walk at the top. He walked down about halfway before picking up the canter and then popped over the coop at the bottom. Then the rest of the course was fairly polite at a proper BN speed. I think. :) We cantered politely over the last fence and did our small canter to the finish line. And we were still only about 7 seconds away from a speeding ticket!! But we had SOOOO MUCH FUN!!!
Up bank to coop
Ah.... then it was time to watch everyone else's round, then walk stadium, and then get some dinner. Of course I had another migraine but this time I had pills. :) While grazing Dan we got to enjoy a beautiful sunset!
Shows are boring.....
We had a long wait til our ride on Sunday.... but there was enough to do to keep me busy. I finally got ready and went to warm up and he felt like a slug. He was behind my leg and lazy and I couldn't coordinate myself to make it work. Ugh... I was making myself so nervous too! I didn't have a rail to spare and I really thought I was going to vomit. Ugh.. Beth got us on track and more connected and revved up and we had a good fence so we went to wait our turn. Acckkk the nerves!! But finally we got to go in and once we started, it was better. We had a fairly decent round. There was one or two fences I let him lengthen and then we had to take a flyer. And there was one fence that I hung on his face over it so he had to hollow, but... he went clean despite me. :) GOOD BABY HORSE!!!
Holy Moly we won!!!!
Danny's winning BN stadium round!
Danny's going to start thinking that this is all part of the routine. :) Ribbon pinnings and victory gallops. :) He was well behaved at least. :)
What a good horse!!! I'm so proud of him and how well he's been doing and behaving!! I love him!