Monday, February 25, 2008

Rocking Horse III - in which Keebler finishes on his dressage score and sees dressage boot camp ahead

Another lovely weekend in Florida, although you do have to discount the approximately hour and a half that it was a monsoon. Luckily, I didn’t have to ride during the monsoon. Hilda did ride Isabelle while it was raining very hard and found a couple of slippery spots. Going back to chronological order, Thursday involved a dressage lesson on Keebler in which we worked to keep him patient. He’s funny in that he does better if working very hard and doing moderately complicated stuff. In some ways, the training level tests are too easy and give him time to decide he is bored, which then means he improvises. This is undesirable. Friday morning, we headed out at the crack of dawn, no wait, it was actually still dark. Hilda had an 8:30ish dressage ride time. Keebler’s ride time was at 3:15, with others from our group in between, so there was plenty of time for course walking, hanging out, etc. I also rode Keebler in his jumping tack out in the dressage warm-up area (which is really big at Rocking Horse) over the lunch break. He was quite well behaved. When the time came for the test, he warmed up quite well and off we went. We felt the test was better. He was more mentally available, but he got nailed for periodic lack of attentiveness, for never trotting between the canter and the walk, and other bits that led to a score of 50.5. Not great, but the training feels on the right path, even if the scores aren’t concurring yet. Friday evening, we all hung out at the “coach”, Andre’s new Winnebago motor coach. It is nicer than some apartments I have lived in. There was beer and barbeque and a good time was had by all. Saturday, after getting soaked watching Hilda ride in the monsoon, I went out and walked the course to check for any changes in footing. The only concern was the 3rd to last fence, the “kind of a corner”. It had an option, so no worries. By the time I rode around 1 p.m., it was dry and sunny, really a beautiful day and Keebler’s xc round matched. We did have a Keebler moment as he ran
5ab (bank)
Solid line = planned route

Dotted line= actual routepast fence 5 heading from fence 4 toward stabling. It was patently obvious that I hadn’t presented him to the fence, so no real worries. I got him turned in the right direction and the jump was no issue. Everything else was great. He did jump the 4 stride ramp to ramp bending line question in a straight 3, but it was tidy. As I approached fence 18 (the kinda corner), I noticed stone down in front of it, so we went straight without incident and finished clean. I had Kate and Zoe hold Keebler for me for a minute back at warm-up and checked in with Cindy (control) to make sure that it was patently obvious to the fence judges that I hadn’t presented to 5, but everything was recorded as jumped with no penalties. I put Keebler away, he had a very nice roll after his bath and walk, and then headed down to hang at control for a couple of hours. Very fun and educational. If you event and have never done this, you should consider it if you ever get a chance. Cross country wrapped up and we all headed to the competitors’ party. Really excellent food at this one. Kudos to the Rocking Horse organization. Another barbeque opportunity at the coach, but I’d eaten so much at the competitors’ party that I passed on the food and just enjoyed the company. Maxine Tabas, Zoe’s mom and Squire’s owner, was there and it was nice to see her to thank her in person for allowing me the ride on Squire. We also talked saddles, as Zoe tried my Devoucoux and really liked it, so is now in search of a used one for herself. We all know this is not an easy thing to find, so if anyone might be selling one, keep Zoe in mind. Sunday morning, Keebler’s stadium round was due at 11:00. The stadium course seemed easier than either Rocking Horse II or Ocala, but I walked him up to graze and watched several rounds just to be sure I wasn’t missing something. Apparently not, most horses seemed to be doing quite well. Kate was doing her first training with her young horse Bosco (he is for sale – very cute grey dutch/TB cross) and they had a bit of a muddle down the line, but recovered well, completing the first training for both Bosco and Kate, pretty cool. I headed up, cantered around, jumped a few fences, missed a few spots, fixed it to some degree and headed into the stadium for our round. I buried him going into the line, but he dug himself out and finished with another double clear stadium, finishing on his dressage score, which unfortunately sucked. After Rocking Horse Spring in 2 weeks (unless we have a jumping disaster there), no eventing for Keebler until May. He’s going to dressage boot camp (lots of flat work, lessons, and hopefully several dressage shows). T says she hopes to join me for the latter as she is also fighting WDSS (weak dressage score syndrome). I spent a couple more hours in control, watching preliminary. Did see one rider receive the 25 point Dangerous Riding penalty, and let me tell you, it was scary watching! Then headed back to Ashmore and home to Philly, where it was 50 degrees colder, but still nice to be. Riding at Ashmore and the Aiken party next week.

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