Given the more-than-minor freakout I had in my lesson on Friday when I got jumped loose and thought I was going to fall off, reinjure my shoulder, and never be able to ride again (or so it seemed in my brain for the 4.5 seconds it was happening), I was slightly apprehensive about Sunday. I mean, Kelley did an amazing job reassuring me and talking me down off the ledge and back into sensible rational thought but still, I’ve never been afraid when riding like that before.
But then Saturday I went and walked our courses, which looked so tiny. It was Elementary, after all, and the last show we jumped at we did 3′. So, not so intimidating, which was good. We really could jump any of it from a walk if we needed to. XC had only 10 fences, the first 3 of which were some variant of “log”. It felt reassuring, too.
So I recruited a horse-knowledgeable friend to come help out, since I had only 40 minutes between dressage and SJ, and needed to at least put on Cally’s boots and change out of my coat into my vest. Once I got there and realized I was parked almost the entire way across the facility from where I’d need to ride, we made the pro decision to put the gear in a bucket and just do the swap out down there. One of the best decisions of the day.
Our dressage test felt like the nicest one we’d done all year, as I just concentrated on being forward, and accurate. It felt a little weird in jump tack, and I did revert to riding like a hunter at times, but overall, it felt good. We got all 6s and 7s, which I was happy with, considering we hadn’t done a dressage test since June and those were hot disasters.
We managed our quick-changed pretty well, and headed into SJ after a light warmup and a little bit of our traditional hunter park-and-nap-to-settle routine. She was nice and quiet to the first fence, so I let her canter on around to 2, and while it felt like she built up a little more pace than I would have liked, she was happy and listening, so I went with it. Even the weird S-turn we had to make to the last fence went OK, even if she did feel totally confused by where we were going and why there was suddenly this last fence. She got big pats for a job well done, and she knew it, too.
Her head went up and her ears pricked forward as we headed out to XC; she definitely knew what was next and was excited about it. I had just one goal–go clean and finish on what was presumably a quite nice dressage score.
We trotted out to the first fence on XC, and she peeked at it a little, and it was like a light went on–HERE’S THE FUN STUFF! So I let her have a nice forward, listening canter from there to the logs at 2 and 3. We came back to a pretty slow trot, then nearly walked down a pretty steep near-bank to then pick up a trot and make the turn back to 4, a rolltop in the treeline. I really let her roll forward uphill from that to another rolltop at 5, and she was totally locked on and going!
We went forward through the turn to the little brush at 6, and trotted again down the little banky-hill to make the turn to the gate at 7. She’d been so good, and felt so locked on, I let her canter the line up the hill to 8-9-100. We may have both been having a little more fun than necessary, and also going a little closer to Novice pace than Elementary.
We finished clear and happy, and she got lots of love as we trekked back to the trailer, where she was promptly stuffed with carrots from me and Twizzlers from our new friends at the trailer next to us, who also had a pair of CANTER horses. That’s one of the other nice things about events–making new friends. Til we packed up and headed down to the office/food/scoring area, scores for our division had been provisionally posted; we got a 35.5 on our dressage, putting us in 3rd place! Til WBBF and I ate lunch, the scores were final and I collected our test and our lovely yellow ribbon. I could not have asked for a nicer way to end the season, because while we’ve got work to do over the winter, I think Cally and I were both left feeling confident in our abilities and in getting back out there and eventing.