Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Canterdown Novice Event

Friday was Canada Day and Archie and I attended the Novice Event held at Canterdown Farms.  This was not a recognized horse trial, but an event open to everyone as a welcome introduction to eventing.  You can do any phase, or all phases and both divisions or just one division.  They offered Pre-Entry and Entry level.  I decided I would enter the two divisions.  This way if things went well I could try the upgrade to Entry after a successful run at the Pre Entry.  Archie is very fit, he has barely had any miles on his legs his whole life so I didn't think it would be too hard on him.  

  We arrived early and Archie was unfortunately a nervous wreck.  Luckily there was a lot of time before my first dressage test.  I took him off the trailer and hand walked around the farm so he could see exactly what was there and where all the noises were coming from.  I think this helped a bit.  He did however, get so anxious and nervous that he completely sweat out and was shaking.  I was a smart girl the night before though and gave him some of the tube electrolytes just incase he did end up having a sweat.  It took him about an hour and a half for him to relax, right in time for me to get on.  He danced quite a bit while I tacked him up, luckily I had my mom and dad there helping me (thank you!!!).  We needed all three people that morning to contain that nervous beast.

  Once I got on and headed down to the dressage ring he seemed to settle right away.  Sort of like he remembered from last weekend and realized everything was going to be ok.  We just did some walk and trot to warm up.  He was a LOT more relaxed for his test this time.  I think he sweat all his nerves away. We ended up with a 27, MUCH better than the 70 we had the weekend before!  Scoring was on the generous side being an encouraging show, but it definitely leaves you with a more positive experience than when the judges are overly harsh at the lower levels.

  I did my second test about 40 minutes later.  I had time to go back to the trailer to give Archie a drink, a little sponge off and stand in the tent in the shade before heading back to the ring.  He remained cool and collected for his second test and did even better scoring an 18!  The judge commented to me that his frame is more appropriate for training level as they want a more relaxed frame for Entry level.  I knew this already and actually had talked about with my mom a few days before.  We decided since Archie has a naturally high head carriage due to his build, I would just ride him there and try and not try to force him to a lower head set when eventually I am hoping to show him at the higher levels anyway.  The judge was great and gave everyone comments and tips at the end of their ride.  

  I was so thrilled with my dressage test, and very much looking forward to cross country.  The course is great at Canterdown, but the fences were decent for the level.  There is a course preview here. although some of the fences have changed.  Archie and I ate the course up, and had a beautiful, controlled clear round.  He gave me a great feeling, so much fun!  My bell boot went flying off at one point and I couldn't help but just laugh because I was having SO much fun on this horse.

  My stadium round was an improvement from last weekend, although we did have a rail.  We are still working on keeping a good canter without getting TOO much canter.  It will come, but he was a very honest and good boy.   I had a couple hour break before my Entry cross country and stadium which was a well deserved break for Archie.  No break for me, I had to go walk the Entry level cross country course!  The Entry : course walk .  This was probably the biggest Entry course I have ever seen.  The stone wall was max height and width along with three BIG brush jumps.  I was a little nervous but thought, it's now or never and we just had a fabulous ride, I will go out and do my best!

Bell boots a flyin'
All smiles

  Our second cross country round was even more exhilarating than the last.  Archie hasn't done a whole lot of schooling but he was attacking the fences and asking for more.  He was getting a bit strong, and probably a bit tired but remained very rideable.  We had a clear round, and I was stoked!  I am positive, I have an event horse on my hands.  He looooves the cross country, he feels very natural out there.  We had a short break before our last round, and then re-mounted up for the Entry stadium.  Archie was a very good boy.  The footing was a bit slippery so I was concerned with letting him go too forward and slipping on the turns, as the ring is on a hill. Unfortunately, we had some close take offs and we had 2 rails.  It was kind of expected though after all the work we had done that day!  My legs were pure jello by the end of the day.

  We ended up 4th out of about 20 in the Pre Entry and 5th out of about 19 in the Entry.  I am so proud of my horse who is continuously improving.  I feel so blessed to finally be back out eventing after so many years of hard work and very little play.  This journey has been very rewarding :)

Good times :)


  1. Nice job! You both look so professional and purposeful out there :D

  2. Fantastic work! Ribbons well-deserved! Watching the "reports" and seeing the pictures really brought me back down Memory Lane. I used to be an equestrian and showed/trained Western. My sister rode dressage (I made her her first dressage suit!) So much fun, thanks for the great "ride!"


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