Saturday, January 7, 2012

The start of 2010 at Rocking Horse

Thursday, February 4, 2010

So... lets' just say that the very first of 2010 was HORRIBLE! I won't even get into it, but what an awful month and Thank God for Fleck for helping me through it.
We kept ourselves distracted by working hard despite the horrible weather and entered our first HT of the season. First show since June or July I think actually! And.. it went great :)
We entered Rocking Horse HT in Altoona, Florida. It was quite the haul but luckily I had two great friends going who invited me to come along with them. So why not!? We set out Thursday and finally arrived at Rocking Horse about midnight. We got the horses settled, got ourselves settled and went to bed. Friday was spent getting situated, schooling, exploring and chatting with great friends - new and old. Fleck was pretty good in our dressage work that day and the weather was great. Not too cold and sunny. Like you would expect in Florida. We then walked our XC course (well...scooted our XC course on the scooter!). And you know... I wasn't terrified. At least not yet. It was big, sure... but looked like a lot of fun. Then I cleaned tack and bathed Fleck and then it was time for dinner. We ate at this awesome restaurant on the St. James River. It's the only river that flows North :) Very cool. So then it was bedtime and time to get nervous about dressage.
Saturday I got up early and attempted to braid. ARGH!! Fleck's first braid was so pathetic it wasn't even a braid. There just wasn't enough hair, so I had to just mash it into a knot. Oh well... I tried. So then we warmed up for dressage and he just wouldn't unlock the left side of his jaw. So...lucky for me, Cindy showed up and helped me realize I was locking my right hand and making things worse, so we managed to get him going better. We went in and had a nice test. I certainly could have done better, but it wasn't bad. It was pretty obediant and no abruptness, but it wasn't anything fancy. I definitely needed him more put together and more in a frame, but.. you know.. for our first test of the year, and the first time showing the new dressage test.. it wasn't horrible. The judge wasn't quite as generous as me and gave us a 38.5, which we probably deserved. However, I was a little horrifed at it as we had been getting in the low to mid 30's. Oh well! The first place girl had a 34, so it's not like we were too far off. That put us in 8th place out of 15, so even better! I felt pretty good after that. So then it was time to get ready for stadium. And then the rain started. It wasn't too bad for me, but after I finished it started pouring pretty heavily and continued to do so for a good while. At least it wasn't freezing though. So anyways... after my lesson the day before we left where Fleck was spazzy but behind my leg, I thought I'd be better off with spurs. Perhaps! It defintitely got him going better. He was jumping fine but we kept taking the long spots. I just couldn't get him to wait, likely because I couldn't make myself wait, but... oh well. We finally just went in and... true to his super self, he managed to get us around clean without any time faults :) YAY!!! It definitely could have been tighter and more collected, as he took most of them fairly long, but... again, he was double clean. That actually moved us up into 6th place. Whoo hoo!! So now.. I started to get nervous about XC. Because now.. it really counts!! I'm in the ribbons so the pressure is on. So... I walk my course now. Uh oh... for whatever reason it looks massive on foot. Not sure why it wasn't as big or intimidating on the back of a scooter but... it wasn't! So... I'm pretty nervous. There was mostly some big fly fences or big tables but a few of the combinations worried me. First was a small coop with a bendy line to a drop bank. Fine...except the drop bank has a log on it. Which means it's now a jump/drop type thing. That worried me, but.. I figured I would just try to collect my canter and power through it. Then there was a really cool combo. It was a big coop with one landing stride then down this big hill and back up this big hill to another one stride to a coop. Like an alley-oop or something. Really cool! But there was banks and all sorts of distracting stuff and the line was slightly bent, so I was a little afraid Fleck would get confused and back off the first fence when he saw all the stuff. So... again.. a little worried. Then there was a half-coffin and a corner on a slight turn inviting run-outs, but not too badly. And that was really all that I was worried about. The rest were BIG but just big single fences. So... I tried to be brave and put it out of my mind for the moment. We went to dinner again that night and ate at The Crazy Gator! It was pretty good with good music. Then...back home and off to bed.
Sunday morning rolled around way too early and I was already nervous. Luckily the rain had stopped last night but it was COLD this morning and windy. Much colder than it should have been in Florida. Apparently I jinx the state every time I head down there and bring cold weather with me. Doh! So anyways... we get tacked up and head out to the XC warm up. Fleck was probably just as cold as me since he was freshly sheared ;) So we take our time warming up cause I got rushed and hurried and didn't need to be. The warm up fences are all set going towards the barns and therefore towards Flecks new best friends. In addition, the horses coming off XC are heading straight into warm-up so they come rocketing at you. Those things, combined with the cold windy weather, made for some occasional scoots and bolts. It was exciting. So anyways... Fleck was a pretty good boy and we were ready. Finally we go to go. He started out great... just rolled out of the start box and didn't get squirelly or going sideways at all to the first fence. At that point, I knew it was going to be good! He felt great... We rolled along to the second fence, and then the third, and then the fourth... And then we hit the first combo. The coop to the drop. Fleck started to bulge his shoulder at the wimpy little coop but I was able to catch him and redirect him and then he just soared down the drop like it was nothing. He didn't even buck on the landing! Sweet!!!! We flew on to the next few jumps, cleared the steeplechase brush fence, and were fine to the water. Then he jumped the fun hill combo thing just fine. He started to drift right and almost hit the up bank but I was able to bounce him off my leg and head him back in the right direction and we cleared the second coop too. The coffin was no problem and we were on track!! At this point I was on top of the world and knew we were pretty much home free. Even checked my watch and saw we were making great time. So..we sailed over the giant bench, and I could even take back a little and get a really pretty jump over the corner and a nice last jump and we were done! Whooo HOOOOOOOO!!! It was soooo much fun. Time was 450mpm cause the ground is so flat and the optimum time was like 5:29 and speed faults were at 4:50 I think. I'm pretty sure we came in at 4:58. Oops! Hee hee. I was glad though cause he just felt like he was cruising. I didn't have to push or pull and he was comfy at that speed. It was great. So.. we ultimately ended up in 6th out of 15 as the others in front of me also went clean. Whoo hooo!! I'll take it :)

So... not too shabby for our first outing of the year. We managed to get our second NQR for the T3D and are well on track :) I can't wait!!!!

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