What a great weekend! I was having some major doubts whether the event would run after the week straight of rain we got, including a torrential down pour that flooded a whole area of our city's basements. Alas, the sun came out Saturday, and although it was supposed to storm all day Sunday there was not a cloud in the sky! We had a nice hot day to dry up the ground.
We arrived at the temporary stabling at about 9:30am. They were open airy stalls under a coverall, both the horses settled right in. This what I love about Fandango. After all he's been through, he is so easy going and laid back. He parked his face in front of the hay net and munched away quietly. He drank a bucket of water as soon as we got there also. There was a mare stabled beside him and since she wasn't interested in him, he stayed nice and relaxed.
We had two hours before our dressage tests so we set up a tent since we were at the end of the aisle. We had lots of snacks and drinks and had a great relaxing morning before we had to get into gear. We were having a little too much fun, as we realized we only had 1/2 an hour to tack up and make the trek to the dressage area! We made it there with about 10 minutes for warming up. The footing was shot, but that was expected with all the rain and grass rings. I would say the ring I was in was probably the worst off too but none the less we went in with no warm up and lots of leg.
Fandango was a really good boy and tried his hardest to stay focused with 2 other rings running beside him, his friend in the warm up ring and the 2 inches of mud under his feet. I think I used every ounce of energy I had to get him through that test, but he was the good pony he is and did a fine job. We ended up tied for 5th with a %62.5! Not bad at all considering the warm-up, footing, and his first ever w/t/c dressage test. I was really thrilled with the score, and it was a nice confirmation his training is heading in the right direction.
After dressage we had a 3 hour break. Our troupe showed up to watch our tests, and we set up an ever better camp now that everyone was there. I walked the cross-country course again and was really excited to ride it. It looked big for pre-entry but extremely inviting and I was excited to see what the pony would think of it. I was the most worried about the first fence. It was along the warm up ring and plunked in the middle of the field. There was only one horse before me so I wasn't going to really get a chance to see how the course rode.
The event was being run with stadium before cross country. I was the most nervous about the stadium as Fandango had only really jumped one full course before this. He had jumped lots of fences, and bits of courses, but only one full course before. The fences were really nice however and the course looked flowing. The footing had miraculously held up and I thought it was well within our abilities.
So, after a few hours of spectating and wandering around we tacked up and headed to the stadium. I was second in and really had no idea what the pony was going to think of all this. He picked up a nice canter and jumped the first oxer nicely, we had a bad spot to the second fence and took a rail. I kicked him on and with a few not-great fences and mostly really nice fences we ended up with three rails down but a great feeling of knowing he jumped around a very colourful course willingly. I was not disappointed with our rails because I was so ecstatic that he was such an honest guy. The distances and what not will come with more schooling, but you can't really train bravery and honesty into a horse.
After stadium it was back to the barn to switch tack and head right back for the cross country. Fandango had a little drink and a 10 minute break with his saddle off while I got changed and gathered his gear. I had the best groom taking charge and preparing the pony and myself, and before I knew it I was on and heading to the cross! I didn't need much warm up so I popped over an x and that was it. I had 3 minutes to walk and do a little trot then into the start box. I always enter the box as the timer starts counting down. It's a habit from my old event horse Westie who could under NO circumstance stand still in that thing. So in and out we went and we took a nice canter to the first fence. He popped over it like it was easy and on we went to the second fence. He gave a BIG look at that one but with my leg on and a little growl he went over that one and number 3 right after easily. After the third fence he got into what this was and really picked up a gallop (well a gallop for him). He jumped the rest of the course beautifully and was light and forward. We ended up clean, and after his round he wasn't breathing hard or sweating. He got the OK from the vet - and that was it! We were done! Fandango had completed his first event and in good style I thought.
We ended up in 7th place, out of 14. Not bad at all. Now that I know he is capable of going out there and doing it, I can ask a bit more of him in the stadium. I just want to say THANK YOU! To everyone, my mom for coming down to see me, my roomie for coming out after work and cleaning my tack for me the night before. The barn clan for their unlimited support and encouragement, (plus snacks and beer), to my boss for lending us her trailer, and to the guy who was the best groom ever...would not have been the same without you. One Five Three baby.