|"stand still? why?!"|
It was a cool 85* out by the time I got on to warm up for dressage. Needless to say, everyone was braided but not a single person had a coat on. Bobby walked out to warm up on the buckle, but he was cruising right along and staring at everything. However, once we got to work, he settled right down and was fabulous. One of our trailer neighbors was on a chestnut TB mare that was being a little bit of a nut and she offered a trade of horses, laughing as her mare reared up for about the tenth time. Crazy eventers. There was also another rider in the warm up with us that I knew I recognized from somewhere, but I couldn't place her to save my life. More on this later!
|hamming it up for hubby.|
|my left side is broken.|
Watching the test, I know we're capable of even better than that. Bobby can put in an even better dressage frame and I've been working so hard on keeping my hands up and shoulders back. Just means there's room for improvement, right?
There was one weird moment after the test where I dismounted while still in the ring to pick up a metal rod in one of the corners. I wasn't sure if I should have, but there wasn't really anyone else around except the last two riders. I certainly didn't want anyone stepping on it. The judge made a comment on it, but she fortunately didn't dock me. I should have stopped by and told her why I got off, but I was hot and my brain was fried so I just turned it into the steward.
|i got you this!|
We had almost three hours between dressage and jumping and I enjoyed every second of it lounging in the shade. It reached 93* and there was only the tiniest breeze. The lucky dogs got to hang out under the truck all day and they weren't even panting until they came out to play with us during lunch. We sponged them off a few times, but they definitely had the prime piece of realty on the whole show grounds.
I walked up to warm up with our neighbor who was sitting in second in our division. She had the most adorable grey horse on the planet and I just wanted to kiss his adorable face. I trotted Bobby over the X, landed in the canter and cantered over the oxer. There--warmed up. It was so insanely hot, he literally didn't need anything else. We hung out in the shade with a couple of other riders. As I was walking up to join them, I heard someone say, "Yeah, I think she'll make a really nice horse for Will Coleman. They'd click really well."
*Sidenote: Does Will Coleman remind anyone else as a surfer? This horse was the same way. Kind of laid back surfer dude/chick vibe.
So I looked over and finally placed the rider in dressage warm up. Jane Sleeper!! Yeah, the same Jane Sleeper than just ran in Rolex in April. The same Jane Sleeper that's run in--what? thirty Rolexes? If I'm half as badass as her at 60, I'll be in heaven. I mean, srsly. Erin Sylvester was riding two horses there too, but I'm ashamed to admit I couldn't pick her out.
Hubby still hasn't figured out the admittedly crappy camera so jumping pictures....suck. We'll all have to wait for professional pics to go up. I choked and even with the huge arena to get going in, I never got Bobby going like I should have to the first fence and he just wasn't quite forward enough the whole ride. Our only hiccup was a 3 stride line of orange and blue planks. Apparently planks eat horses? Not being able to carry a whip on the princess, I had to growl and get after him with my spurs, but he went clear the whole round.
|beware the planks!|
Course walk for your viewing pleasure.
The course was legit. Honestly, I saw the first jump and I was like :-O, but as I kept walking, I made myself focus on how each fence was going to ride. Fence four ended up being removed from the course because of the impossible angle to get to fence 5. We got to fence 5 and Hubby said, "We shouldn't have walked this one." It was the most ridiculous downhill jump on the planet. At least for a BN course. There was just enough landing room for your horse to land on "flat" ground before he had to go tumbling off the cliff.
We got to go early and Bobby worked up a nice canter heading to the first jump. He gave it the eye as we got up to it, but he was game to go over. The ground rolled down a little bit and he fell flat onto his forehand. I was trying to lift his head up so he could watch where he was going and he caught sight of the training roll top that we had to squeeze by. "Next jump, yay!" Um, no, Bobby. Second jump was a breeze, the third jump actually looked bigger from a horse than it did from the ground but rode fine, and then the deadly drop. I'm sure I gave the jump judge a good laugh as I choked Bobby back to a trot and repeated to myself "We are not going to die. We are not going to die. AHHHHHHHHH!" Bobby landed in the canter like a good boy and half cantered, half trotted down before calmly picking back up the canter and jumping out over the oxer, ignoring my girlish screams of terror. Right. Get it together Carly and move on.
The heat and lack of fitness prep were really getting to me by the time we hopped over fence 10 and I had to lean against Bobby's neck to give my legs a break. Bobby was still cruising along comfortably though so at least one of us had their head in the game. Hubby and I agreed to swing Bobby as far to the left going into the water as possible because when he refuses, he ducks to the right and I didn't want him to go past the flags. However, he went right in and we were in an awkward spot to get to the log out of the water, having to squeeze past a prelim jump and angle in pretty sharply.
I thought I could cut off some ground going over the 14th jump, but the line I walked was definitely the way to go and Bobby couldn't figure out where his crazy rider was pointing him until he was a few strides out. The only other bobble we had was at the chevrons where I had to call out to people walking the course to look out and we were both distracted by them. I was taking Bobby's willingness for granted and almost lost him, but I rallied at the last second and gave him a good jab with my spurs to get him over. One more fence and we were home clean for our first BN!
I passed Jane (!!) again on my way back to the trailer and she asked how he did and congratulated us on a good round. !! I was slightly giddy. I'm very easily star struck. You really can't take me anywhere. I walked down with a lovely English rider doing her first event in the US and we bonded over our diva horses that can't be around whips.
So. Where did we end up? Cute grey horse lost his really nice mom on course so she was unfortunately eliminated and we moved up to second. Not a single other rider in our division had a jump fault anywhere, so that killer dressage test really carried us through.
The heat really took a toll on Bobby. He drank just under four full buckets of water thanks to his love of Horse Quencher, but you can see how ribby he looks at home. He's getting the rest of the week off to recoup and then we're going to start drilling small jumps to teach me how to ride him better. He's still green, but I think the biggest issue I'm having with him is that he's so big and he really uses every single part of his great big body that I'm all over the place. Red was small and compact and he jumped the same way. Bobby launches and I'm having a lot of trouble staying with him over the whole jump. Always room to get better.
I'm going to try him in Red's elevator bit. Right now he's getting too heavy on his forehand and not listening to me trying to lift him up. Not a good thing when you're cantering downhill to a jump. I'm also going to buy some alfalfa cubes to soak to feed him in the trailer between dressage and jumping. He has zero manners on the ground while at shows and he paws and kicks when he gets left alone. Be on the lookout for the xcountry video and better pictures!