Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The first event of the season - in which the horses are great and I exhibit signs of early memory loss

Rocking Horse I took place this weekend. A great way to spend a birthday. Saturday was a bit drizzly, but quite nice all in all. Squire and I had a “pleasant” test scoring 40, but given that it was the 5th time I had ever sat on him, I was pleased (the best dressage score in the division was 31). Keebler was in “I don’t wanna” mode for dressage, but had some respectable moments here and there and scored 42.5, putting us in last place and taking off the pressure J. Both horses jumped clear in stadium, making it feel totally easy and the stadium steward very nicely commented that Keebler did the best job she had seen all day (and there were only about 10 rides after us) between fences two and three (a 5 stride bending line around a corner past the in gate – as long as there are jumps, Keebler is totally over his going past the gate issues).

Sunday (I turned 45 and it obviously affected my brain – and no I hadn’t started drinking yet), Squire had a fairly early xc time, so off we went to warm up. The warm up went great, Hilda was a great help in reminding me to keep eyes and shoulders up (the never-ending Seema bad habit) and we headed off to the start box. Squire came out of the start box ready to rock, but not at all keyed up. Fence 1 was excellent, and then I didn’t go far enough right and didn’t see fence 2 (not surprising it was in a different field). Apparently the announcer was announcing that I was out wandering around. I finally went back toward fence 1, saw fence two and everything else was perfect. It was a pretty soft training course. 2 waters that you just went through, no ditch (though last fence was a trakehner), no banks, a couple of accuracy questions, but nothing tough. Squire was perfect, so easy to ride and totally fun. It seemed like he was having a good time too. So other that about a million time penalties, we were golden, as was the weather with the sun out and balmy temperatures.

After finishing on Squire, I headed out to walk the novice XC. Everything looked pretty small and I figured Keebler would have no problem. The start and finish were in line with training, and I now was very clear on where the pesky fence number 2 was located. Keebler’s Florida fan club came out for the second day in a row to cheer him on and enjoy how much he likes jumping. It was fun having people there who knew him before he was an event pony. Off we went, with him acting as if he were as experienced as Squire (yeah, right – but those of you who know him know that he’s that kind of horse – I’ve got it, I’m in charge, just get out of my way!). The novice course was also quite straight forward and seemed small, so we bombed around. Optimum time (at 450 m/m) was 4:45. After fence 16 (of 19), I looked at my watch and we were at 3:46 (well no worries that he can make training time next week). Unfortunately, I neglected to jump fence 18. I had neglected to walk fence 18. I had no idea that fence 18 existed (didn’t take the map when I went out to walk). Altogether an Alzheimer’s moment, but had way too much fun to really care. Hilda was great throughout the weekend, helping me trying to get my act together. Godsend (her ** horse) had a nice, restful outing at training level and Mary Balduff’s young mare Isabelle (with Hilda aboard) finished her first training level event in 6th place. Carol McCarty helps out teaching and working with horses at Ashmore and her young TB did his first or second event at BN and had a very good outing (although Carol also had a moment when she realized she’d learned the wrong dressage test). Hopefully, we’ve all kicked the rust off and will be more with the program next weekend – Rocking Horse II.

That concluded the riding part of the weekend, but there was added birthday fun as Cathy (my trainer when I was in Michigan) and Sherry (who also rides with Cathy) came into Florida for the symposium at Longwood and we were able to have my birthday dinner at the Bonefish grill in Ocala (very good). It was fun to see them and I’m looking forward to hearing about the symposium from their viewpoint as audience and Hilda’s as demo rider. More next week.

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