|from Harmony Horse Trials|
My goal was to have an improved dressage from the last event at Touch A Rainbow, and to have an improved stadium also. I have been back in weekly lessons with my jumper coach Rick. It feels good to be getting regular help again, not feeling as lost as I was just a month ago. I really like Penny and think she has a lot of talent. I don't want to try and do things alone with her like I did with Archie. I want to give her the proper start so we are not going against the odds. No more messing around.
We arrived early and walked the course. My course looked fairly simply, a bit on the easy side if I wanted to admit it. Alayne's course was big. The course is set on a very hilly terrain, a lot of jumps at the base and top of hills, lots of good galloping too. I knew it would be imperative to make the time if I wanted to do well and the hills would be a big factor in that.
Penny warmed up fabulously for dressage. She actually went better than she was going at home which was a good sign. My mom has been helping me with our flat work and it seems to be paying off. When we went into the ring it was almost as if she knew the judges eyes were on her and sort of showed herself off. She was a good girl, listened well and was attentive. She had one little spook in the corner when she took a good look at the spare letters, but other than that I was really pleased. We had our best score this year with a 57% (38 US).
Stadium was next and I was nervous as always. I don't know why I hate stadium so much but I think it has to do with the amount of pressure that hangs on a single rail, backed with the past stresses of show jumping Archie. Rick and I have been working hard on my position and allowing Penny to canter to the fences without interfering. We went in and did our thing, jumping clean. I just repeated Ricks words over in my head and it seemed to do the trick. It was a really fun course to ride and I was thrilled with Penny. She is such a cool horse.
Cross was everything I thought it would be and more. Penny cantered around like it was nothing and jumped everything out of stride. We didn't break pace going up or down those steep hills and none of the fences were an issue. As we cantered up to fence 13 AB, a small log combination 2 strides apart, I saw a rider on the ground and her horse trotting around. I was already about 5 strides away from the fence and the judge didn't flag me so I just carried on to the fence. I noted that she probably fell at this fence and it is probably a sleeper fence so I made sure to hold my line the best I could. Penny definitely took a good look at the second element but went over. We finished clear and 2 seconds too fast. I thought I had made it right under the too fast limit but stupidly I forgot that I started my watch at the 10 second count down mark. Won't be doing that again!
Overall we finished 3rd. 2 time penalties for being too fast cost us second place - lesson learned. Alayne and Cayden has another amazing run in the Prelim finishing 5th. Our friend Emilie and her super mare Winnie had another win the Intermediate/Prelim, good results all around for TTE! Super happy with my mare.
I am starting to get into the groove with Penny. Figuring her out, earning her love. It's been a fun month with her!