Sunday we had the starter horse trials at Waredaca. They always put on a well-run HT with good fences and it’s really close to the barn, plus they have both the good Smoothie Lady and awesome cheeseburgers, so it’s generally a favorite of mine. This time, however, it was most definitely not our day.
Dressage warmup felt great, and the test actually felt like it started fantastically–we got 7s on the first two movements. I was really happy with how things were going, nice and forward but still relaxed, until the second trot circle when she seemed to think, due to ring proximity, that the horse in the next ring was headed on a collision course with us, and took evasive action. After that, all bets were off. We actually got “disobedient” as a comment for one movement. Eeek! But we got a 7 on our halt at the end, so at least we ended decently. And we ended up with a 40.0 for a test that felt like half a disaster, so if we can put together a full test as well as we started off, we ought to be in good shape.
Then back at the trailers, as I was attempting to put her bell boots back on, she freaked out (at nothing, so far as I could tell), pulled back, broke her halter, and ran about 6 steps to the area between rows of trailers, were she stood looking confused at her freedom. Which is good, because it made her easy to catch. Bad pony, no carrots for you.
So since I was alone until right before SJ, I was unable to go get myself a cheeseburger, since she was acting up. I had to make due with a sports drink and a CliffBar, which is not the same. But we found a zen place in the warmup for show jumping, had a few really great fences. We then parked it by the ring to let her go to Happy Hunter Couch Mode until it was our turn. She does well when she needs just a little tap on the shoulder to wake her up as we go in the ring. I must have cooked her just right, because we went into the ring and put in this fantastic round:
I walked over to the cross country warmup pretty high on life after that. She warmed up great for XC, walking over a crossrail then quietly cantering down to a Novice table like a children’s hunter. I was quite happy with how she felt going to the start box. The first three fences on course, in fact, felt fantastic; we had a nice rhythm, she was just flowing along, not looking, locking on. Then at fence 4, a downhill log, I asked her to slow and rebalance, and she was having none of it, and got so busy being in a snit she didn’t see the fence, and we had runout #1. She refocused after that, and we went right over on the second try, then down the hill and felt like we were rolling steady again to 5….where she did the shoulder-pop-out runout again for stop #2. She didn’t give it a glance upon representation, so I’m still not sure what happened there to cause a stop, which is incredibly frustrating. I made her trot the next two fences, really staying on the aids, and she was mad about it, but listening, so a 8 and 9, an up bank followed by a roll top, I let her go forward again, and for the rest of the course she felt fantastic. Even the water-to-jump question where we’d had our bobble the week before, rode great. The last three fences felt fantastic, too, so good that if she went that well all the time, we’d be moving up next time out. But I’m not sure what’s causing the inconsistency, and until we can fix that, we need to stay at BN. But when it’s good, it’s really good, so I know there’s the talent in there, if we can just get it all working together.
Hopefully we can get out and do some good schooling over the summer, and maybe try to do one of the evening practice events at either Loch Moy or Waredaca. But next up is Ride for Life, so we’re getting into dressage mode for the next week and a half!