Well... we came home safe and sound. A little disappointed though. But thrilled in other ways.
Short story: Fleck was awesome in dressage and awesome in XC. I goofed and we retired on course 5 fences from home. :(
I spent a good chunk of the day Friday cleaning tack and getting packed and organized. My tack was sparkling!! And man, did it need it. After all the lake riding, it was in rough shape. So we hauled out and made decent time despite traffic and rain. We unloaded and got settled and then Beth joined us so we got on to school. Wow!!! Fleck felt AWESOME! We had a good school. Beth made sure that I really went for it on my canter lengthens! Like I do on the long side. BUT... the key was keeping that outside connection and keeping his jaw soft. Sooooo much better. :) Then when I focused on collected trot in the canter/trot/canters, they were much better and had the right amount of steps with the right amount of energy, impulsion and connection. Wheee. My trot lengthens felt pretty darn good too! And my leg yields were good except I need to make sure to keep the right bend. Lately, he isn't wanting to bend to the right as well and keeps counter flexing. We noticed that at the halt and rein back too. So... right bend, right bend, right bend. Even into the halt and rein back. But Beth was impressed in general :) Yay! And did I mention Fleck felt GREAT! Sproingy even. :)
So then we bathed and went to walk XC. Egads! I'm getting to the point where it's not terrifying me, but I know I'm going to have to RIDE. Like really really ride. It's tough but doable. But I guess that's good. The course was simple to start... basically three gallop fences, starting out easy and getting bigger and wider and more upright. Then the fourth fence was the sunken road. But really, an easy sunken road compared to Paradise. Not as big and vertical coming in and exiting, without brush. But the D was on a bendy line. But not bad at all. We've done it before, just not recently. So then you went over another big fence, then a fun mogul thing... over a cabin, uphill to the top of the mogul, then downhill to another cabin on a bent line. Lots of fun! Then another big rampy thing (good thing I jumped that one at Cedar Ridge!) with a bowl effect/valley then uphill to a seemingly small but actually huge and wide brush fence. Then onto the A frame teepee thing. Then... this is where it got a bit tougher. Straight uphill alongside the down bank (the man from snowy river down bank!) then a sharp turn, down the down bank, then diagonally down the hill to a teeny cabin. Then into the water and over a big cabin, up the bank out of the water, two strides to a skinny. Okay... then it's a long gallop to another table, then through the woods to another tough combo. A tight roll back turn to a very upright vertical brush. You could jump the right or left side, but the right side was VERY inviting for a run out. If you jumped left, you had to then do a sharp right turn over a small brush to get out. Not too bad but technical. Then a short ways to the giant honking table over what used to be the ditch and wall. Eeeks.. It's a big table. And it's just a table... just a table that anywhere else would be fine. But because it's OVER the ditch ... even though it's completely covering the ditch, it freaked me out. Then just four easy fences home...the stone wall, the chevrons, angled to a small table/cabin that you could angle, and then the final fence was an easy brush fence shared with intermediate. So... the course wasn't that hard... as long as you could get in okay. If you couldn't get in, then you would definitely have issues getting out.
So long day of then braiding and walking and getting back to the hotel. I didn't even eat dinner. In bed at 11:30 pm and up at 5 am. At least i got to see the moon, which was super gorgeous. :)
Dressage warm up was pretty darn good. He was feeling great and Beth was working me hard. But we got some good work in. Then I was waiting and waiting forever for them to let me go down and they wouldn't. Then apparently I wandered off and they were calling me repeatedly. Doh. I finally heard them and the judge blew the whistle as I was still an arena away. Egads. I told myself not to rush. I had time.... but I was still rushed. Which, I probably would have been anyways. I always get rushed and locked in the actual test. But it wasn't a bad test for us. Really not bad at all. We ended up with an 8 on our leg yield to the left. YAY! Finally, back to 8's. And while I thought our trot lengthen was MUCH better, we only got a 5. But mostly 7's otherwise, with a fair amount of 6's. So we ended up with a 37.8, which put us in 12th of 16 I think. But we were against some big pro's too. I think we could have scored better had I slowed myself down, but... that's always the case.
Got prepped and ready for XC and made it down on time. He felt GREAT! Ready to rock and roll and feeling good. We schooled some fences and he was jumping big and bold. My last minute reminders were "Keep the stride from lengthening to the fence" and.."more leg". :)
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.. have a great ride! We were off! And it started so well! The first three fences were awesome - he just clocked on over. Then the sunken road went beautifully too! I think he did put one pitter patter step going down, but he got the two and two to get out. Wheee!! Off we went to the next few. The roller coaster mogul one rode great and was fun. Same as the valley thing and he jumped the stew out of the A-frame! We were on a roll!! So I rode my plan... galloped up the hill, tight turn keeping his shoulder and leg on and LEAP!!! We lept super big and bold off the giant drop and of course... I landed in a heap. Eeeks. Forgot my landing gear or just got jumped out of the tack. I lost a stirrup but by golly we got over the little log out. It wasn't pretty. Ha!! (wait til y'all see the picture... hideousness!). But we got out. Well then I had to get resituated. I wasn't about to do the water complex without a stirrup. So I halted him and got my stirrup. In my brain... I couldn't circle. DUMB!!!! I NEEDED to circle. I knew we had to have LOTS of energy to get over the giant fence in the water, so I spurred him and GALLOPED into the water. But yeah... Fleck said "really mom? Four strides in water and you expect me to jump the giant table? I can't"! So... yeah. We circled proplery and got our gallop on OUT of the water and then came right around and jumped it beautifully. Then up the bank and over the skinny. It was a bit tight to the bank since he jumped so bold over the water, but we managed it. Then galloped on over the table. At this point, Fleck was breathing pretty harsh. He really doesn't like the humidity. I was a little concerned, but he was still galloping strong. He wasn't trying to slow down and I wasn't having to leg him on. But I could tell he was getting more tired. But we were close to home. So through the woods and then to the final tricky combo. He jumped like a beast over that hedge. I mean, like a beast!!! Again, I got thrown out of the tack, but we managed to get over the out. He's looking for the fences, so I pointed in the general direction and he angled out over it. Love him!! Then... I was still a bit discombobulated but I think I tried. I sat down and closed my leg. I used my crop. But that darn table... I could feel him stopping a few strides out. And I just didn't make it happen. :( So... that was our second stop on course. I had one more. BUT... I really didn't want to get eliminated. And I had a feeling it wasn't going to happen. He was tired, I was tired. I was just afraid that if we tried again, it wouldn't happen and I didn't want to risk another E. So... I retired.
Super frustrating as that was really an easy gallop fence. It was a hard approach, but an easy fence. And then four easy fences home. We would have been done. Argh... And Fleck felt so good and was going so well. I know I let him down. And I'm mad at myself, for not getting it done. It's an easy gallop table. I think I was trying to get him too show jumpy and shut him down. And I just quit. I felt him back off and said "Yeah, me too" instead of "no dammit, we're so close to home".
But all in all, I'm proud of him. He was jumping like a beast, and I have some AWESOME Xc photos to prove it. I wish they had let me stadium jump, but oh well. And I wish I had finished as I know he only has so many days left where he feels this good. I hate that I screwed it up for him.
But the plan is to dig deep, get it done, and go out in style at the P3D. We'll aim for Full Gallop, then Stableview, and then hopefully Windridge too. Then the P3D, and then... Fleck can retire from prelim eventing. I can't promise we won't do some trainings or even P/Ts, but he'll retire from prelim eventing. And obviously if he doesn't feel good all the way to the P3D, we won't do it, but... he feels great now, so... I just need to learn how to ride better. And get fitter myself.