On Sunday myself and four friends headed out to Touch a Rainbow Horse Trials in North Augusta Ontario. I entered Penny and I on a wing and a prayer hoping that we would be ready for our first event together after only having her for a few weeks. We attended a clinic with Waylon Roberts on the Friday and I was very relieved I had done that, feeling much better going into our first event (clinic recap to come this week). I entered in Pre - Training (Novice) since she has competed at that level before, albeit it was 2 years ago when she was just 5.
She isn't the greatest loader and I joked she will need to go to Tori's trailering school to become a self loader like the rest of mine. Not loading with one person is a problem when you often travel alone. Thankfully on Sunday we had a whole crew with us and she climbed into Tonyas 6 horse trailer fine. Getting her to back into her space, well...that's another story. She did get in there eventually and she was quiet on the ride up.
I was the first to ride dressage and we had a decent warm up. I was not able to put shoes on her in time and since the ring is on a slight hill and grass, I was slightly concerned about her slipping. Even with a misting of rain she had no issues in the warm up and I was feeling a bit better going into my test. Penny has a great work ethic and she knows her job yet she is missing some very fundamental basics. She doesn't turn great, her canter transitions are totally shit, and she is a bit heavy in the bridle and dead to the aids. I have been working strictly on the basics at home and have already seen some improvement.
|Tonya and Classy|
We did a decent test and I was very happy with it. I did not have high expectations as we are still new to each other and figuring things out but I felt our ride was way better than expected. There are obviously a lot of things to work out over the next few years together, but there is a good canvas there with her to work from. I was thrilled.
Stadium was after dressage and the course looked a bit wonky when we first walked it. Very long and lots of turns including a roll back. Not having ever really jumped Penny over a course of this height I had a plan to just go out and take things easy. I remembered what Waylon has said to me two days before and tried to ride quietly and let the horse jump to me while my job was to maintain the rhythm. Watching the course I was getting a little worried as I didn't see a single clear round. Rails were flying everywhere and some horses were stopping.
Nonetheless, I went in and saluted and Penny and I went on our way. This horse knows her job and she loves to do it. She jumped around the course beautifully, not wanting to touch a single rail. She came back when I asked and jumped out of a nice stride. Towards the last fence she locked onto the first fence and I had to pull her off and point her to the right jump, which she gladly sailed over. We had a clean round, one of the few in our division. I was pumped! I have not had that much fun in the stadium ring in a very long time.
|What a jumper!! - Photo credit Cat Hunter|
|Wee!!! - Photo credit Cat Hunter|
When cross country rolled around I was getting really excited but also nervous. It was a bit different being on a horse that I had no idea how she was going to ride around the cross country. My game plan was to have safe and effective ride and hopefully come home clean. I learned I was in second place going into cross and the pressure put me in major competition mode! When the start box timer counted us down I swallowed and said "alright girl let's do this". My friends were all watching and cheering and it was a great feeling. This is why I love eventing with my friends. It's amazing to have such a huge support team.
Penny was born to run cross country. She ate up the course like it was a cake walk. She looked at all the fences, sized them up, and flew over them. She cantered right into the water and jumped everything out of a perfect stride. She was very rideable and we were so ahead of our time I had to slow her right down on the second half of the course. We finished clear and 10 seconds under the optimum time.
|over the last!|
Penny brought me home a blue ribbon that day. She is such a cool fun horse to ride. It's such a different feeling eventing again without the stress that used to come with riding Archie in the stadium. I had such a great day, I feel like Penny and I get on really well and am really excited to see what this summer brings us.
|AWFUL pic of me - Penny looks angelic though :)|
|Pam and Winston|
Pam won her division on Alaynes horse Winston who she leases, and Tonya was third in the Training. There was a strange incident with Alayne and her horse in the dressage which I won't get into here but maybe I will write about it in the future and see what you readers think of what happened. Some bad luck in our day mixed with good.
Overall a great weekend. Sad to see it end...but super pumped to ride with Blyth Tait this weekend. Whoo! Oh yes, and I got a new video camera. Video!