Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting the groove (and/or getting it back)

Just finished the first weekend of the year in Florida. Nice warm weather (not like last weekend, when I was glad enough that I wasn't eventing in the sleet at the horse park). Headed off to dinner on Thursday evening, only to discover that Urban Flats is closed. Very sad. Did dinner at the bar at the Cheesecake Factory, which has a large menu and great bartenders, but too crowded. Will be searching for alternatives. Lessons on both Isabelle (dressage) and Finn (combo lesson). Finn has settled well into Ashmore life and Isabelle might prefer not to be back to work, but is very lovely. Friday Finn got to go off to the jump field with Extravagance as a lead horse. He was very good over the alligator, scary though it is and jumped through little cavalletti. Next, we decided he might try stepping off the little bank. He stood at the edge unable to figure out what to do even when Extravagance gave him a lead a couple times. Then finally, he gathered his courage and *leaped* really, Hilda estimated a good 20 foot from the bank landing. Jumping Isabelle was anticlimatic and I jumped the biggest fence I have been over since August 2008 on Keebler. Saturday was the event. Prior to the event, we had some delays with horse loading. Finn was a star, getting on the four horse trailer, hanging out for a bit, then getting unloaded from the four horse trailer, walking over and hopping on the 2 horse despite a grouchy Isabelle in the other slot. Off we went (running late) to the show, arriving 2 minutes before Finn's scheduled dressage time - oops!! Alice (organizer/owner at Rocking Horse) being a truly wonderful person (which any one who knows her is already aware of), gave us a later time that would allow me to only get on Finn once. Checked the stadium course, (literally) ran around the xc and then got on him for dressage and he was very good (ended up with a 36.5, despite an error on my part). Grabbed a drink, shortened stirrups, added vest and armband and off to SJ, where we had a clean round (this being the first time I had ever jumped more than about 5 fences in a row on him). It was quite smooth and easy. Then off to xc. The first fence on course was a log and Finn clearly had no idea what it was doing there. We were eliminated, but he jumped it on the 4th try and in the wonderful spirit of the schooling event, they let us go on and he totally got it as we went along (though he was sure there were alligators under fence 7 and the final fence - go here to xpress foto and we had a stop at the scary boathouse at 8, but he was rideable, quiet and, I think, off to a great start. I finished with him about an hour and a quarter after getting on. Switched tack onto Isabelle, went out and they were calling my number for dressage. Who needs warm-up? Luckily not Isabelle, who put in a nicely consistent test (didn't score well as she needed more impulsion and suppleness - easier to get with warmup). I then headed out to cross-country with Grace Carpenter, Samantha and Debbie and walked (in an abbreviated fashion) Isabelle's course. Headed back, hopped back on, did SJ and then XC and other than the little buck when I hit her coming out of the start box ("what, I have this, you do *not* need to hit me"), she was spot perfect and I had great fun. She finished up in 6th place overall, though we zoomed off before I fetched her ribbon. Everyone else did well also. Extravagance scored better on his CIC*** test than on the advanced test. Quizz and Sioux both got dressage ribbons and Dutch won his jumping class. It is so great to be back in Florida and back to eventing.

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