|post finish posing with alli and niamh!|
had a ton of fun hanging out with these ladies!
We ended up running half an hour behind schedule leaving the barn, so when we pulled into the show I only had thirty-ish minutes to grab my packet, get Bobby unwrapped and tacked up, and warm up. And pee. I had to pee so badly. Fortunately, Bobby is turning into an old pro at the showing game and he went right to work.
|a grey horse followed hubby into the warm up area and bobby was blown away.|
not sure why grey horses are so amazing.
I had to really work to get him moving forward, but focusing on that in the warm up paid off once we got into the ring. He was moving out while remaining relaxed and focused. We've been working really hard on not anticipating the trot or canter coming out of the free walk and he nailed that. I still let my reins get a little long which is really easy to do when your hands are just hanging out in your lap, but overall it was a much better test than at Burgundy.
The judge was also feeling the relaxation and energy because she put us in second with our new lowest score of 22.6! She also made a point to lean out of her car window and tell us it was a lovely test afterwards which she didn't do for anyone else. Bobby is just a celeb. He can't help it.
|that's what i like to see when picking up my test!|
I was a nervous wreck before I even got on for the jumping phases, thinking about all the terrifying things in the first half of the cross country course, and I kept trying to think of reasons that would justify me backing out. Bobby didn't let me wallow in self pity though. He was too busy being a serious pest. He was pawing and dancing around until he got yelled at to stand still. Then he played this fun game where he literally tried to climb into the chair with me. When he got yelled at for that, he decided he could just stand there with his knees pressed against mine and played another fun game where he tried to reach everything in sight without moving his legs.
|dangling knees, but it doesn't matter when you jump a foot over the rail like a looney|
I finally forced myself to get tacked up and right as we walked away from the trailers I spotted Niamh. Perfect timing! She walked up to the warm up with me, and I was too busy talking to her to vomit all over. So that was good.
As soon as we hit the warm up ring, Bobby started jigging so I just sent him right off to the trot. We did a lap each way before picking up the "canter" and bombing around at mach speed for a bit.
|much thanks to niamh for snapping some pics of us!|
Hubby wanted me to try to wear him out some more, but I was more concerned about my legs having enough juice left to get around the long, hilly cross country course than trying to get the crazies out. I'm a weakling, I won't lie.
|fence one, photo by niamh|
Plantation's stadium ring is massive, so despite Bobby's typical freight train behavior, I actually wasn't too worried about getting him settled between fences. We laid down probably one of our best stadium rounds to date. Yes, he pulled me to every fence, but he let himself be mostly rated between jumps, and he didn't lock onto to jumps between lines in a rude way.
Rails were dropping left and right in every division, and we did pull one when Bobby rapped it with a hind foot.
|into the double|
|from another angle, by niamh|
|out of the double, also by niamh|
I also had one total blonde/didn't walk the course moment where I was watching the riders before me come into one of the outside lines head-on from the warm up. It looked like they were coming in crooked and I was all, "What are you guys doing?!" Then, about three strides out coming up to that line, I realized the first fence was set up as a sharp bending line. I already had Bobby lined up to take the line straight over both jumps so we just angled that bitch and he jumped it like an old pro.
|we do what we want.|
Dudes, this course was legit. The first two jumps? Psh. Nothing. The third was the first of three benches on course (HATE. BENCHES.) with a downhill landing into the woods where the ground was torn to shreds from probably a hundred horses going over it Saturday. We survived that, fence four was nothing, and then the fifth was the jump into oblivion back into the woods.
|out of the faux sunken road|
Bobby's brakes failed for the first time after four, and while he finally deigned to come back to the trot to approach five, he jumped in big before seeing in midair that the landing was on a steep downhill and he carefully put down the landing gear and easily got us down without trouble. I was just happy to be alive, but what I thought was the scariest jump on course was right ahead.
It was our second bench (HATE. THEM.) straight to a big drop. Now Bobby's pretty sane about drops, and I'm starting not to mind them because of this, but running at the base of this drop was a water filled ditch. I had visions of Bobby refusing, or catapulting off to clear the ditch and me catapulting into the air. I managed to wrangle him back into the trot right before the drop, and he happily started to slither down when he noticed the water. He adjusted to jump clear of it without fuss before carrying on.
I was so pumped I'd survived that I blanked for a second and forgot where we were supposed to go after the up bank. We had a disagreement about the distance to the produce stand, but made it over. Bobby took a look coming up to the steeplechase fence, and I got a little too gung ho and had him take the long spot which resulted in an awkward jump.
The sunken road rode perfectly, and then we had our first real problem approaching the final bench. You had to come off of a really sharp turn to line up to it, and Bobby was on racehorse cruise control. I had zero brakes and zero steering. After a Come to Jesus, I got him reorganized and lined up and headed off to the water.
The water was a tiny fake trakehner with a stride before entering the water. Bobby gave me the finger and ran out twice before I was able to bully him over it from a standstill. He went into the water fine, but I think he just got overwhelmed with the thought of jumping into it. I have complete faith that with one schooling through water, he'll be right back to giving zero fucks about it. He just hasn't had a chance to school it in a full year, and we no longer have access to the trails that take us to the creek to play in water every day like we did last summer.
Now for the helmet cam! Be sure to keep your speakers low as this one is filled with yelling and cursing and much whooping.
When we were done, Bobby had a prance back to the trailer with his head cranked around, dragging me along and walking Niamh into parked vehicles as he celebrated his return to being a nutty racehorse that also got to do the jumping. Niamh gave him his special ordered Mountain Dew while I sponged him off. The two stops on cross country dropped us from second to out of the ribbons, but fucking A--we finished with a number, not a letter!
We hung out and talked ponies for awhile before Alli and her friends joined us, and we talked ponies some more. And also how benches are THE WORST EVER.
Behind the scenes fail pics at trying to get Bobby to pose:
|"oh hey new best friends. what's going on here?"|
|peppermint wrappers didn't produce forward ears.|
waving arms were waaay more interesting.
The biggest takeaway of the day is that Bobby has lost his hackamore privileges. I'll still school him at home in it, but I just can't control him at shows in it anymore. As Niamh pointed out, we went from being too slow to being to cray. Time to find that happy medium!