Saturday, January 7, 2012

Back from the AECs!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
And We're in the Top 50 of the Nation!!! (at novice, of those who qualified and made the trip and had a sound horse, etc etc... but shhh.... TOP 50!!!!) for the saga..... let's just start from the beginning...

I worked 9/10 days just before leaving for AEC's, so while Fleck was well rested as I didn't have time to ride... i was not! but no worries. I worked til 2 am, then went home and slept for a bit. Packed up the trailer and went to pick up my new friends... Caitlin and her horse Elvis (who i might add, is adorable! He and Fleck were like two peas in a pod! Such good pals and so cute together! Very similar personalities). We also took Caitlins mom, Lee, who is fantastic! and Luisa, their visiting foreign exchange student, who was fantastic also! So we got everyone and everything loaded and left their barn at around 5ish... Headed to Shelbyville Kentucky, which we arrived at around 1:30 am! We dropped the horses off at Sanorosa Farms... FANTASTIC!!!!! The horses were very happy to stretch their legs. Then we stayed at Lee's sister-in-law and brothers house which was just down the street. Good thing too, cause we had a small leak in our truck tire, which her brother so graciously found and fixed for us. So we were off again! Made it to Lamplight with no troubles in about 7 hours i think. Got the ponies settled and made it to our hotel. got up the next day and rode the ponies around some. Lamplight is fantastic. Very pretty. Had some yummy food.... so then....the next day is the start of the competitions!!!
Dressage: ugh... he was warming up soooooo beautifully! just gorgeous. got our best left leg yield ever!!! But.... then we went into the ring and... don't know what happened really. We all thought it was a pretty good test...except for a few little flubs. Fleck tossed his head at the trot once, while we picked up the canter, and then maybe one more time. he also jigged a step or two on the free walk when i went to pick up the reins again. But... i thought it was one of our better free walks prior to that! :) So.... overall, we all thought it was decent. He was very round and pretty aside from the sillyness. And...i really thought it was a fantastic canter! But... judge didn't quite think so. Lots of 6's, decent amount of 5's, and no 7's, but... an 8 on our halt!!! (*thanks so much shelly!!*). So we ended up with a 43.2 with comments that we all thought didn't quite match up our test. but... oh well. we know we're better than that, we just didn't quite get the job done. but i was happy with our ride. course, would have been happier had she agreed, but... heck! we made it this far! so anyways...that put us tied for 56th place out of 61. (weren't quite as many people as i thought there were initially).
 So....the next day was XC! okay... i did a virtual course walk and they don't look that bad. and really, i was fine...UNTIL FENCE 15!!! that one scared the bejeebers out of me. but...actually, i was sorta surprised at the ease of the course. but i'll take it! so anyways... fleck was fantastic in warm up. very chill and almost a bit too lazy. my plan was to trot the ditch, trot the scary fence 15. which...duh! was a drop, but... you came cantering down a path (or galloping as the case may be!) with the treeline on your left. Then all of a sudden, 90 degree left turn and jump down the drop - which isn't just a drop... oh no! it's got a jump on top so you have to drop/jump it! into the dark..... after a 90 degree turn... so scary!!! but anyways... my plan was to drop to a trot for that also. and we were a bit worried about making it in 400 mpm, cause... we normally run at 350 or even 375 and normally are close to speed faults, but with the trotting, i just wasn't sure. So the PLAN..... (helps if you follow it!) was to run the first half fast, cause we thought the second half would take a bit longer. So anyways.... fleck and i come out of the start box and are on a roll! no problems! we've got this, he's on! i'm on! it was fantastic. So at the quarter mark we're at 55s. perfect! Optimum was 4 m 41 s (i added my 5 sec from start) and time faults were at 4 m 11 s. So anyways... on we go. Well, fleck felt so great and was so in front of my leg... i didn't bother trotting the ditch. he was fine. and i growled, but i didn't need to. And then i didn't take quite as many wide turns as i thought since he was going so well i didn't think we needed to jump them all left to right. So... then we come into the first water. He looks, and trots through the water. So i say...hmmm. we were right on time before, so lets' go! so we go. He just opened up. i totally wasn't pushing him at all, just let him open up. So we continue on.... well, then....things just start coming up too quickly, so i didn't look at my watch again! DOH!!! should have been a clue. so we continue on and next thing i know...we're at the drop. well, we just galloped on and he was fantastic! didn't even hesitate! once you land there's a bit of a "bowl" for lack of a better word. It's basically a small clearing and then you jump out. So we did... well, then i realized...OOPS!!! i'm not even at 4 minutes! and there is only about 6 strides to the finish flags. so we BRAKE!!! but i didn't want to haul fleck's face off after he was being so good, so we collected cantered in. Yep.....26 seconds TOO FAST!! we ran it in 500 mpm instead of 400 mpm. OOPS! oh well. i would have been really pissed had we been in like the top 12 places, but that was okay since it didn't really matter. So YAY!!! it was totally fun. Fleck was on FIRE!!! and not even breathing that hard or sweating really. granted, it was a cool day, but still. So... we would have moved up to tied for 40th... with the girl who was in first place after dressage but had one refusal! but... with our 10.6 points or whatnot of speed faults....d'oh! we were in 50th place. oh well. i was just so proud of the boy! So we celebrated with daiquiri's and On the Border with the whole big group - my new friends, Karen and Vickie who get HUGE props for coming up and supporting me and being there for me, and then Caitlin's trainer and friend. Great time.
So then saturday Fleck got the day off. So anyways.... we then watched the advanced XC!!! way cooL! watched windfall and darren! So then i went to hack. and... get this!!!!! i was trotting around the ring when darren chiachia rode up on one of his other horses... i think it must have been an intermediate horse... but anyways... he had to stop for a step or two while i trotted past before he walked in the ring to get through to his barn. So i said "HI!" and... he says "you know.... i've always wanted a spotted horse"!!!! i almost died!!!!! it was just way cool of him. so yeah... i mumbled something back and almost fell off fleck i was so excited ;) okay...
anyways... so yeah... then the next day was stadium. and wow!!!! holy jeepers it was scary! they had sooooo many people warming up that it was getting dangerous. fleck and i had some great jumps... he took most of them long. So then we almost got creamed and he started getting antsy, so i left. still had 12 riders or so ahead of me, but i didn't care. and i was so proud of fleck. he weaved in and out of tons of people and didn't bat an eye. people were randomly ducking under his neck, etc. and he was good! tried to get into the trash can, but good otherwise ;) so then it was our turn. The course was EASY! nothing huge, nothing tricky. but... for whatever reason, fleck and i weren't on. i kept anticipating him taking things long and he kept almost chipping in. so he totally saved my butt on like 3 of them. Then i decided to ride and make it PRETTY and we had a fantastic line! then we came around to the last line.... a single.....then a one stride.. all was well, but i sat up too much i think and made fleck drop his hind end and pull the top rail of the last jump. argh.... oh well.
But it was a great time regardless. we ended up 49th out of 61. So i broke 50!!!!

so then we ate some lunch, let the ponies rest and watched the advanced jump. then we said goodbye to karen and vickie and started packing. Well.. by the time we were all set, it was almost 7 pm. so we decided to stay the night and make the trip home all on monday. good thing too cause the overnight place was full and didn't have room for fleck or elvis. So... we got up at 4:30 our time, managed to pull out of the barn at 6:30 am. the horses were such troopers. It was a 15 hour or so haul by the time we got to Elvis's barn. We did a quick stop back at the overnight place and let the horses out for about 30 minutes to play. They were so freakin' cute. They were doing the exact same things. both rolled, drank, ate, ran....etc. And....good news! Fleck learned how to pee on the trailer :) so anyways... we got elvis dropped off. But not before we realized that Fleck... who had run out of hay and had about 15 hours to figure it out.... learned how to pull the pin out of his chest bar, move the chest bar, and then drop the pin back in the hole. So... this way he had no chest bar to prevent him from leaning closer to elvis's hay. Silly boy!!! a little scary since he also had nothing to brace against during the bumps and brakes. yikes!!! but anyways... we made it home safe and sound. i pulled into my driveway at 11:30 pm and threw fleck out in the pasture with his girls.

all in all, it was a great trip!!
I owe a big thanks to everyone!!!! for the moral support, the cheers, the good wishes, the coaching, and everything. it really meant a lot to me to know that i had so many people cheering us on!!!

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