So... Fleck and I headed to Aiken for the schooling three phase at Full Gallop this weekend. It was a one day...and I wasn't going to go.. except it sounded like fun. Plus, Julie was designing the XC course so I figured I wouldn't have to jump the huge trakenher and the huge ditch and wall. :) So we went.
Flecky was great. We had a good school the night before. We worked on my trot lengthen. Fleck was good at lengthening his stride but he was too much on the forehand. When he tried to sit and rock back, he ended up cantering instead, because it was hard. So, we practiced that some and I got the feel for it. I really had to keep the connection and REALLY sit up and almost behind the vertical.
Dressage was nice and early, but without adding in braiding, it wasn't too bad. We got to ride in the fog, which is nice because it makes for nice pictures. We had a good warm up. Beth said that he really needed to sit back and on his haunches and it
was easier for him when I sat up and back. Then she noticed that when we
cantered to the right, I really needed to sit on my right seat bone. It
felt like I was crooked but it really helped Fleck balance. I think I
was actually straight.. just not used to being straight so I felt
crooked. Of course most of this went out the window when I got into the ring, but that's okay. It was a good test though. He was obediant and he didn't jig in the walk. It wasn't pretty, but he didn't jig. Our counter canters were maintained and our leg yields were pretty darn good. We scored a 30.9!!!!!!!! Holy smokes.. that's our best test ever!!!! Even at novice!!! Of course the judge was very nice and we were tied for fourth out of 8 with that score, but still. :) I"ll take it and claim it!
Stadium was great. He was awfully hot and excited in warm up but jumped well. Once in the ring, he jumped awesome and we were a good team. We jumped clean and I was feeling good about cross country. It was a good course... some big fences.. some technical stuff, but nothing horrible. There was one I was worried about and it turned out to bite me. Fleck was on fire and hopping in place! We ended up jumping the gun and exited the start box at 1 instead of go.. oops! Anyways, all was great until our bogey fence. It was the fourth fence and the first combination. It was along the fenceline, where Fleck was looking the opposite direction trying to find his buddies. Then we veered off and jumped small coop, did a bent line to the up bank, one stride on top and then a jump over a big roll top, then one stride, then down the bank. I always worry that Fleck lands dead on top so I knew it would be tough. Well.. we got the first four fences just fine but Fleck was awfully strung out and crooked and I couldn't get it together. He jumped up but couldn't safely jump the roll top, so he stopped. Completely my fault. I turned him down the ramp and we re-approached. This time we were straight and connected. It wasn't the prettiest, but he jumped up, over and down. Then he sorta took off with me and we went a little careening around the course. I managed to get him somewhat together and we made it through the rest of the course, but I was all over the place. I lost my stirrup about four times... and just couldn't find my groove. Luckily Fleck was locked on and I just had to point and he did the rest. He jumped the other two combinations in the water (Both very similar to the bank combo) just fine and the skinny great. I managed to get my act together for the last three or so fences, but it was frustrating. He was only a teeny bit more amped up than two weekends ago but suddenly I didn't know how to ride. I LOVE him amped up, but I've got to figure out my groove and learn to stay with him and out of his way.
All in all, we ended up 5th out of 8. Two others had a stop also. I'm glad we went and did it because it was a good learning experience. And I'm so glad that my bad piloting didn't mess with Fleck's confidence. Or mine.. we have all the pieces now.. we just need to put them all together properly. And it was very encouraging to hear quite a few people say that Fleck has never looked better!!! Yay!!! So I will gladly take the silly rider error at the schooling show... even if I know it also means my lovely dressage score will likely also happen at the schooling show instead of the recognized show. ;)
But we had fun and that's all that matters.