I have waited a long time for the day I could take Archie eventing. This weekend was the culmination of a 4 year road of patience, hard work, and perseverance. There were days, weeks, months even when I didn't think it would be possible. Thankfully, I have very supportive friends and family who encouraged me to never give up. I am so thankful for their constant support.
We left late Sunday morning as my dressage time was not until 1:50 in the afternoon. Archie trailered really well and pretty relaxed while I tacked him up and gave him the finishing touches. When we arrived over in the dressage area he began to get very stressed out. The dressage rings were sectioned off from a different area from the jumping but you could hear the horses, the cross country, and the people clapping and cheering. This fired him up quite a bit as he wanted to know just what all the commotion was!
I tried to be relaxed and get the most of him for the dressage in this state but our test was still tense. Archie was a very good boy and although it seemed like he wanted to jump out of skin, he stayed very obedient. I was really happy with him, sort of disappointed in my riding as I got stiff, took my leg off, and didn't help him much. At least after seeing the video I can see exactly how I was riding and where to improve. Our score was pretty horrific, and I'm not just saying this but the judging was a bit wonky for everyone (not just me, everyone scores were in the low to high 60's, I scored a 70 I think, I'm not %100 sure because they didn't write it on my test and the judge never signed her name or put any comments in the remarks section. She marked me down for being behind the vertical, head bent to the inside, and tense on almost every single movement. Tension is supposed to be marked down in the collective marks, not on the movements. I don't really see him behind the vertical or his head bent in, and some other people have watched the video and can't understand the marking either. I mean this happens, it's just a bit disappointing when you are showing the lowest possible level. Marks are supposed to be for quality of transitions, accuracy, shape circles and straightness....there were no comments on these things. I thought Archie deserved a better score, he tried so hard.
|Over the jump....just the take - off|
We did stadium next and had about a 2 and a half hour break between. This was a good time to allow Archie to unwind from his anxious dressage test. The stadium course was very inviting. The jumps were pretty tiny and there was lots of room in between the fences. Archie got a bit nervous and tense again in the warm up but after about 15 minutes he all of a sudden chilled right out and stood quietly beside the ring and watched the rounds. He was very good into the ring. There was quite a big crowd compared to normal at this event and the cross country runs behind the stadium ring. He was pretty wide eyed as he went into the ring.
|Making some nice effort :)|
|All photos of stadium courtesy of Cat Hunter|
I tried to remember every thing I could to get a good canter going, but we had a crap ride to the first fence and had it down. We sorted ourselves out and jumped a nice rest of the round. The jumps were so tiny I think they may have been a bit *too* tiny for him lol. The pictures kind of make me laugh, he's taking off and he's already completely over the fence. Ya know what though? It was a totally great confidence boost for him and that is EXACTLY what he needs. I was ecstatic with the round. There is always a bit of fear in me that he will revert back to the balking and napping but he didn't and was a superstar.
|With super groom mom Lady Z|
I pretty much had just enough time to go back to the trailer, change clothes, and head back to the warm up area and head off to cross country. We set off and the course rode fabulously! Archie was in his element, he ate up the course and seemed to take to it naturally. We had a clear round and a great finish! We ended up in 6th place overall. Not bad considering 2 months ago I was really wondering if I should give up on this horse, if there would ever be hope. Sadly, the organizers lost the ribbons for our division so I didn't get to take one home! (Hopefully they'll mail it :))
The recap from Touch A Rainbow:
I am so proud of Archie. He has come so far, we have grown into such a team. I am so thankful to have him teaching me how to become a better rider, and have his utmost willingness to keep trying. I realize now when something doesn't work with him, it's because I'm doing something wrong. It's not him. He is making me the best rider I can be, and the better I become, the better he will become too.
Our next event is Canada Day, this Friday. I am soooo excited. I am finally in a place with my life where I can be eventing, and now I get to do it on the horse I love more than anything.
|Celebrating with a Blue Light! Canadian Style!|
|A happy horse..happy me. Horrible fashion mixture lol.|
|What a super horse :)|