Wednesday, February 5, 2014

in which my eventing season gets underway

Back to Aiken.  As I arrive I get a text from Sally. "The footing seems to be thawing here, can you jump around 5:30?"  Sure, no problem on the scheduling, but waiting for the footing to thaw - in Aiken?!  There is something wrong with this picture.  Still, I got there, lunged a bit, but Keegan was very quiet.  Sally said there had been much silly behavior, but the two OTTBs, Finn (Folk Hero) and Keegan got the good behavior stars for the day. We had a great jumping lesson, continuing to focus on quicker reactions times on landing, keeping control of the shoulder (especially when turning to the left) and finding the right pace.  Keegan was jumping fantastically, and I was starting to feel more in sync.  Friday, I did flat work on my own, which went well and then jumped a little more with Sally.  We didn't want to overdo, although to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever seen Keegan tired. Saturday was Sporting Days.  An early start as Sally's first ride was around 8:00.  The weather was not terribly cooperative.  Forecasts had suggested clouds, with relatively warm weather and then rain late in the afternoon.  Instead, the rain started almost immediately.  I went off to walk the last fence of my course.  I had walked on Friday afternoon, but peeled off after fence 16 (of 17) to take a look at the training course and never walked to the final fence, so I did that and checked a couple of other lines (don't want a repeat of Radnor).  There was still snow on the shady side of a couple of the ramps and houses, rather surprising. A little soggy, I headed back.  Keegan decided that Wizard was his very bestest friend and that he couldn't possibly stand on the trailer without Wizard.  Never mind that Stash was standing on the trailer with him perfectly well behaved.  So, I took him off, walked him a while, lunged him a while and then when Wizard got back from dressage, put him back on.  Then when Wizard went to jump we repeated, but this time, I went ahead and got on after a brief lunge and started warming up for dressage.  Keegan wasn't hot, but he seemed pretty distracted the whole time.  He was responsive, but tight.  This showed up in our test even after an hour (and he wasn't tired at all, in fact kept getting better).  The judge said that we had lovely moments (and we did), but they were marred by moments of screaming and staring back at the trailer during the downward transition to walk and other moments of distraction.  We ended up with our worst score to date, but were not in last place as the scoring was fairly tough in the division.   Mary Coldren was kind enough to move my jumping time up so that I could be available to volunteer late in the day in case anyone was getting too cold or just had to leave.  Jumping was perfect!  My position, especially in the SJ stills leaves a fair bit to be desired, but Keegan jumped everything easily and happily (several people commented on how happy he looked).  Ditto on the xc.  The fences all seemed pretty trivial and I was able to concentrate on trying to go on the faster side and steer.  I got a little tired around fence 13 and backed off a little, but we still finished 35 seconds under the optimum time, so I was pleased.  The clear jumping moved us up from 10th to 6th, so I even got to bring home a ribbon.  Keegan was neither blowing nor particularly sweating when I got him back to the trailer.  I'm pretty sure he was ready to go another three or four times.  I'm still deciding about pictures, but you can see them here at the GRC Photo site.   Thanks Gary and team for being out in that undesirable weather all day.  Once Keegan was back on the trailer, I headed over to see if they needed me to volunteer and finished up the day as the stadium steward for the beginner novice.  I had the fun of watching Amanda complete a picture perfect round on a very cute pony along with several other nice rounds and lots of smiles across the board.  The Cairn O'Mount team had a great day and it was fun to see them.  Sally finished up with Hannah's Stash in the BN (since poor Hannah is out of the saddle for a bit after a fluke accident). We headed back to the farm and I headed for a hot shower and dinner, very pleased with our first outing of the year.

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