Friday morning was grey and dreary, which I hoped meant slightly cooler temperatures, and not the midday storms that were a 50% chance on the forecast. I hitched up the new rig and set out on our maiden voyage, which was probably not the best first trip with a new-to-me truck/trailer combo, as it involved hauling around the DC Beltway and out I66, but sometimes a lady has to do what a lady has to do, and it worked out great. I really love driving the Expedition, and it hauls well and I was so so happy to be able to pack up my own trailer and vehicle and be prepped and ready to go, with nothing to do the morning of except bathe and braid. Well, Liz braided her tail for me, for the second time, and did a great job, so I think she’s got a new gig there.
We made it to Loudoun, which is held at the same showgrounds as Upperville, and I found a great day parking spot under a cluster of oak trees, which I hoped would give us a little shade if the sun came out (which was not looking likely) or ameliorate any showers that blew in. Checked in easy-peasy, watched a bit of the Adult Ammy hack, checked out where our ring was in its schedule, and headed back to the trailer to enjoy my BBQ sandwich. As I was getting back, one of the other competitors was parking and we chatted for a few minutes to figure out whether there would be enough to fill the over fences section, and sort of came up with a plan for her to possibly jump Cally, if I didn’t feel comfortable jumping a fence to fill.
I unloaded Cally and took her for a bit of a walk around the showgrounds, and let her handgraze a bit. Upperville really has the prettiest showgrounds in the country, and as miserable as the weather always is showing there, it is worth it for the history and the beauty of it. Next year, Upperville itself is goals for sure.
I sadly did not bring my wallet along to grab a Lime Fizz while we were walking, because til I got back to the trailers the word was that we’d be going 2:30 or 2:45 at latest. So I started getting ready at 2, and ugh, all the wool in the humidity was gross, but we were looking good and had a nice walk around in the grass parking area as we waited for our fellow competitor and getting loosened up a bit.
The undersaddle for the children’s division was finishing up as we got to the warmup, so we just had a canter around each way to get actually warmed up and ready to go. We had a few minutes to do what is the final best thing for her before going in the ring, which is take a couple minutes and just get a bit snoozy ringside as they rearranged the fences from the classic to the course for the sidesaddle division. They actually looked…not scary at all. Definitely on the soft side, and if we’d been astride would not even have caused me to blink. We went in and naturally, the rain started just as we were all entering the ring. Not too bad, but unpleasant in heat and wool. Thankfully, the judge ran our class quickly. Cally was good, just a little cranky about getting water on her ears, and distracted by the main hunter ring being reset.
Then the hack went pretty well, and I was a little nervous about the line they had for us to jump, which was a bending line with what looked like the two biggest fences on the course. Fortunately, it was a bending line to the right, which is the easier direction aside, and actually rode quite well. We got a bit of a chip coming in to it, because Cally was a little surprised at being asked to jump, since we were the first to go. But I was happy with it, and we ended up 3rd. I was feeling pretty confident, and the fences looked OK, and we’d already done the hardest line of the course, so I said I’d do the over fences myself to fill.
I went in the ring second, picked up a nice forward canter, and the first fence felt pretty good! The course was nicely straightforward, a single on the diagonal, diagonal line, outside bending, single on the diagonal, and outside line. We added in the lines, and were a bit chippy, because I obviously forgot everything we’d been working on in lessons and went into Survival Mode, so I was not counting my striding and was looking down at the fences. Not the best, obviously. But we got around, and over everything on the first try, because Cally is obviously the Best Horse Ever, and totally forgiving of my errors and so happy to be jumping around a course that she just went. It actually felt great, despite being imperfect, because We DID IT! I really just needed to be pressed into doing it, and once we got rolling, realized we totally had the skills and confidence we needed now to make it around. And now that I know we can do it, I’m feeling a lot more optimistic about doing more of it again.
It was still raining as we untacked, so I hustled quickly and got her and the tack back on the trailer, then decided to still try and wait to leave until a bit later, so we could miss the worst of the DC rush hour traffic. So we hung out with one of the other ladies and nice tailgate with some grapes and cheese and a tent made from a rainsheet. Waiting around til 6PM didn’t help, as it was almost 3 hours for us to get home. Awful, but well worth it for the points we got, and the big confidence boost from doing the over fences.
I thought about doing a couple jumper classes on Sunday, but given how hot and disgusting it was over the weekend, I decided to skip that. Cally did well enough on Friday that she didn’t need to do anything else. Instead, she did some stretches and I got stuff cleaned back up for us to show at Middlesex on Friday!