So... we headed to Windridge to meet Liz and Devon for a fun weekend. Devon was showing prelim and Liz was just schooling. I wasn't going to school because it was already a lot to ask of Fleck since we haven't done much in a year. But then I started thinking... he's been in hard work with all our hills and it was only $40 to school and I'd already be there and I could always do just a little... Then Liz suggested I school the prelim stuff and then go in "cold" for the training show. That convinced me. :)
We got there Saturday and went to school. Fleck was AWESOME!!! We "walked" our course via horse back and saw what the fences were and looked at the lines. By the time we were 3/4 of the way around Fleck started bouncing! I was teasing him. He wanted to jump! But it was a good warm up and I needed to walk my course anyways.
So we finally got back to the beginning and warmed up. Liz was helping us and Fleck was soooo excited to be back. We were both a little rushed at first and then I was holding, so we chipped the first one. But then I remembered my new style of riding.... balance with my chest, soft crotch, soft hands, and we got it settled.
And it was SOOOO much fun!! We ended up doing most of the prelim questions. I skipped the big prelim tables, other than one for my sake. But we did the questions. I did skip the big huge brush fence/steeplechase fence because it had a downhill landing, it was big and scary, and the training one next to it, scared me enough. So I jumped the training one but figured I would be fine for the prelim one next time. We did the coffin, which was super fun. It was a skinny tree root, then sharp left turn to the ditch and then a one stride to a log. Fleck nailed it! Didn't even flinch at the scary skinny. Of course I let him look at it and sniff it earlier when we walked the course. We also did an upright coop with a tree in the middle of it. Then we did the down bank to the skinny table. Fleck was very happy to leap off although we did it from the trot. He was a little wiggly getting down to it, but not too bad. It was so cute because he just leapt off and locked on to the brush. He knows his job. :) Then we did the prelim water and he was AMAZING through that. I meant to do the training water too but didn't, but I'm glad I didn't because then it meant that we had to leap off the bank into the water cold tomorrow. Then there was a little corner on the training course and a HUGE upright skinny narrow one on the prelim course. Set slightly downhill. I wasn't going to do it. It was scary. But then it seemed like it would be fun. So I jumped the little corner and Fleck locked on to it and away we went. So I decided to do the big one. He locked right onto it and nailed it!!Whooo hooo! So then we finished with the one stride bent line (which was little, but still) and the giant downhill trakehner. It was in the bottom of a valley and I swear Fleck left out a stride before and after. It was fun. I let him quit with that and we hacked back. He was still trotting and raring to go. :) I iced him and he had lots of grazing and some massage and chiro work and then we went to eat and he went to bed.
Devon rode first and I got down there as she was done. Fleck felt great in warm up!! He felt nice and lovely and floaty. :) Liz reminded me to not let him sneak the reins out of my hands. She said that he was nice and round and supple at the trot and then when we cantered, he got a little leany and pulled the reins. But then he would seek the contact but when it wasn't there, he would invert and brace a little. So... shorten the reins and then don't let him sneak them out. We went in and did our test and quite honestly, I thought it was great! Especially for the forsaken training test B. I was quite proud of him. We ended up 2nd out of 6 but our score was rough. 38.2 I think. And she said "Capable horse, but not on the bit". Doh! Ouch. The video wasn't horrid, but it wasn't great either. I see where I lost it at the end especially. It was a little frustrating because he feels so good but then looks like a barely training level horse (and I mean training level dressage, not even first level). Maybe I should roach his mane again to make him look rounder. ;) But regardless, I was still proud of him.
Dressage Test B (the devil test)
I was running a little late for stadium but managed to get on in time and be ready. Fleck felt good jumping and I was excited. The course looked fun! They had a triple bar and they left the triple in. There was one line that kept eating people. Liz and I talked and she was trying to tell me to let Fleck decide what number of strides to take. I was like "well, if he jumps in tight, I'll hold for the 5 and if the leaves long, I'll push for the 4". And she was like "no... don't do anything... just sit up and ride balanced and let him decide". So... I took her literally and did NOTHING at that line. Doh! We were having a good round and he was jumping fairly well. We came around the turn to that line and I just...abandoned him four strides out. He faltered because I disappeared and then ate the first fence. So we took the rail. Then he was wonky but managed to bail us out of the second. I don't even know how many strides we got. Then the triple bar wasn't pretty but I managed to get my act together and we finished the course with only the one rail. He nailed the triple and we were both pretty through there. :) So.. we laughed. Liz was saying that she didn't mean I should stop riding!! She meant after we got into that line, not going into it. Doh! Oh well. I may have messed it up on my own anyways. So the one rail dropped us to third I think.
So...we had about an hour between stadium and XC. Not quite a full hour after I finished stadium. I took him back and loosened his girth and took off his bridle and let him chill and eat some hay and drink. Then we went back to the trailer and tacked up. I was a little rushed and I let it get to me. So our first warm up jump was awful. Liz talked me down and then we were fine. And then we were off!
We had a blast!!!! Liz told us to trot out in a balanced trot from the start box. She laughed and said "I don't want to see no poopy trots coming out of the box". Ha!! Fleck came out in a lovely canter. I laughed and said "well, it's not a poopy trot!". And we had so much fun!! He was so game and on fire. He was coming so hard and fast to the up bank, over, down bank to one stride that I was a little afraid he was going to canter right off the back side. In retrospect I balanced and backed him off just a hard too much because he landed in the trot instead of cantering on, but it was okay. He was great. We came around to the water and he launched right off the top and leapt out like a boss!! It was awesome. He finished easily and was breathing heavy but it was miserably humid and hot. He was grazing by the time we got back to the trailers, which really wasn't far at all. YAY!!!
Corner to Table
The Water: Like a big boy!
So... it turns out that we got 2nd place. Technically we should have been first, because the first place girl skipped the "C" at the water. (The number was in the tree, but she should have seen the map and the flag on the left). She fought it and won, so she kept first. But I'm sure they would have jumped it fine. And the girl in 2nd after stadium totally skipped the fence before the water, but I'm sure she would have jumped it fine too, so... I could have easily been first, second, or third. I'm just so happy with how good he felt and how happy he was to be back at his job. :) :) :)