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Blue is for winners!

We’re as ready as we’re possibly going to get for our big AA debut tomorrow.  Which is good, because it’s tomorrow, bright and early!

I was a little worried this morning, because traffic trying to get out to the barn for my lesson was a nightmare (seriously, WHY IS A LANE OF THE SPUR TO 270 CLOSED AT RUSH HOUR!?!?!?!), and it took me an hour and half.  I was worried I was going to be late, but fortunately, I’m the last in my trainer’s sequence of Friday lessons, so she’s usually running a few minutes late by that point, plus Cally usually stays pretty clean, so if necessary, I can really just run a brush over her and pick feet and go.  So I made it to the ring promptly and was mostly warmed up by the start time of my lesson.  Phew!

I told Kelley of our impending doom awesomeness tomorrow, and asked if we could make sure we jump at least a few fences at the height I’ll be doing, because that’s not necessarily something we always do, because we don’t always need to jump big.  She assured me we would, and we started with a very simple figure 8 over two pairs of trot rails, making sure I could put my leg on and put her where I wanted her to be, including right down into the puddle in the corner of the ring that she tends to be cranky about going through, because tomorrow she might have to.  Cally got a little giraffey the first few times through the puddle, but then seemed to accept her fate as a muddy one, and on we went around.  Once she’d settled, we came through at the canter, adding a bending line to one side of the 8, so that we went over a pair of poles, crossed through the middle, then over a sequence of 3 poles set to mimic a bounce.  This was a surprisingly difficult exercise, for being just groundpoles, because you really had to keep your leg on and keep your pace, but you couldn’t rush through it, and really had to keep balanced to make it work out well.  We had a few fumbly passes through, including sort of tripping through the bounce footwork sequence, but eventually, that started feeling solid, if not quite great, but I absolutely felt like I had a responsive, adjustable, listening horse under me.

At that point, the fun started.  We came at a canter down through the bounce poles (set at about 18″), then two strides to what started as an X.  My challenge there was to stay sitting up in the distance to the bounce, and actually ride the landing, rather than letting her cut in sharply to the right.  Then the fence went up, and the first time through as a vertical, it actually rode better, because she paid a bit more attention to it.  We basically worked on this sequence, moving the fence at the end up to a 3′ vertical then a 3′ square oxer, until she was hitting the perfect spot and really jumping up and under herself.

Then the challenge was to turn it around, and come off a tight turn to the square oxer, then two strides to the bounce sequence.  The first time in, I was so busy trying to make the turn right, we totally stalled out in front of the fence, but Cally jumped it anyway, with my leg swinging around like Richard Spooner’s, and went right through.  So we came again, actually trying to get to the same spot, because she jumped up and ROUND and perfectly over it, I just needed to figure out how to get myself there.  Turns out the secret is keeping my eye on the rail of the fence just a split second longer than I want to leave it there before looking up, and keeping my leg on to the base.  It took two more trys through to get it right, but when it did, WOW, it felt so lovely, and so easy.  We called it good on that, because I felt like we could go jump the moon tomorrow.

Then it was time to get things all together and ready.  Tack got cleaned, Cally got a bit of a break while I got lunch, then it was bath time, and braiding.  I know that most people don’t bother braiding for a C show, but she looks lovely braided, and it costs me nothing but time, and WBBF is going to come and take some pictures, so why not look our best?  I loved the green braids so much last time that I went with navy for this weekend, since I’ll be in a navy coat.  She’s tucked in her stall for the night (rather than going out to roll in the mud and scratch out braids), with her jammies on and wraps on her hind legs to keep them both clean and non-stocked-up.  Hopefully she’ll stay pretty clean in her stall, and I’ll have a well rested, ready to rock horse waiting for me in the morning.  She looks ready, right?