Thursday, May 8, 2014

Silly Willy - Woodwind Horse Trials Recap

  On Sunday William and I attended our first horse trial together.  The day started off bumpy at 3:30 am, as William wouldn't load into the slant load trailer.  He hasn't been on one since he was a baby and I was trying to load him onto Alayne's trailer alone.  I had her trailer over night so I could swing by and pick her horses up on the way - more efficient this way.  I didn't take this into account though, so it was on-off on-off a few times before he finally realized it was going to be ok on there and I got him settled in.  It didn't help I couldn't find the trailer lights and we were loading in the dark, but we got things sorted in the end.

  At Alayne's house we had to unload William and let the other horses on, as William was last to go for the day so he needed to be closer to the front.  Of course, we had to play the same on-off game.  This time I had someone to help and close the back trailer door - only problem was William went flying off the back into the door and swung it open right into poor Pams face!  She had a little scratch but I think she got it pretty hard in the face.  Oh William, you are a dink.  Thankfully we had an ice pack in the trailer so she was able to ice her face on the drive up and avoid any swelling.

  Once we arrived at Woodwind, we got our packages and set up our stuff.  It was absolutely chilly that day, a mere 2 degrees celsius.  Lucky for me I was wearing heavy sweat pants over my breeches and brought my winter parka.  I was actually pretty toasty all day...not sure everyone else felt the same though!  This was the first time out for us in Alayne's new trailer.  It has an awning so we decided to try it out as it was a bit rainy.  We got it sorted thanks to YouTube and we were ready to walk our courses!

  My course was adorable.  Tiny, but with the wind the flags were flapping and there was plenty of spooky things around that might draw Williams attention.  The jumps are also fairly skinny for a greenie so that would most likely prove a challenge for us too.  The stadium would also be interesting, with lots of fillers and with all the rain, the footing might be a challenge as William is barefoot.  Regardless, we were there and ready to go...the only thing left to do was ride!

  When we returned from our course walk we discovered the awning was missing...well not really.  It had snapped at the legs and blown onto the trailer roof...while the horses were inside...oops.  It took some work but we got it down and McGyvered it together enough to be able to drive home.  It was really turning out to not be our day.  Eventually it was time to ride. I didn't do dressage until 1:30pm.  By that time William had had a nice snooze and was very relaxed.  I tacked him up and knew from his attitude he was going to be a dink when I got on.  Oh, I was right.  He would not walk forward, or move AT ALL.  The most he would do was back up around the parking lot.  If someone tried to lead me, he would threaten to rear.  This went on. And on. AND ON.

  Finally, after about 20 minutes, I had already planned my "free to good home ad" I would post when I got home, horse decided he would attempt to move in the direction of the dressage ring and away we went.  The dressage ring is at the top of a very big hill and it was might WINDY up there.  Like hurricane wind.  Insane, and cold.  My plan was now to not stop trotting or cantering until I had to go into the ring.  Trot trot trot, canter canter canter.  Horse was being really good surprisingly and  wasn't trying to buck me off.  Into the ring we went, and William was quite good.  The test was a little rushed and he was a little looky, but overall I was very pleased.  Considering the wind, the judge in the car with the windshield wipers on, and the episode when I first mounted, I was very satisfied.  We scored %59, and trust me with this judge - this was a very decent score.

  It wasn't long until it was time to showjump.  I was hoping they would make the course teeny tiny as it was fairly spooky and since we were the last division, the footing was pretty torn up.  Alas it was not to be, the course was maxed out and we were going to need some serious encouragement to get around.  William was great in warm up and seemed to have forgotten all about his stress earlier in the day.  We went in the ring and picked up a nice canter.  To the first fence he gave a good look but with a Pony Club kick he was over it and on his way.  It took a lot of leg, encouragement, and "good boy William!"'s but we jumped around our first stadium course with a clean round. Yay William!

  Cross started in half an hour, but since they were late starting stadium I only had enough time to go back to the trailer and change, and head straight to the warm up.  When I arrived I had 4 minutes until go time.  I had changed Williams saddle pad and he was giving me the "I'm going to buck" threats he so loves to give.  Unfortunately I didn't really have enough time to work those out before we went into the start box.  The good news is he did leave the start box when asked so that was a good start! 

 On course William was totally "what is happening??"!  He was very looky to the first few fences and I needed to really kick him on and over.  He was cantering and bucking the whole first half of the course and it was kind of hard to get a flow LOL. He did a couple of stop - look -and jumps.  Unfortunately, at the 4th fence he stepped sideways and had one step back so we were marked for a stop.  After fence 5, he figured things out, and then it was on!  He cantered nice and forward over every fence and by the end we were cruising.  He was right into it.

  Despite that little bobble we ended the day with a first place and nice red ribbon.   So what there were only 2 in our division ;) - just completing his first event is a huge accomplishment for this horse.  With a little more schooling he will easily be ready to move up to Entry level, and who knows how much higher from there.

 Our team had two other wins...and some dressage drama...but I will leave that off the blog.  Just know this was one of the weirdest days of eventing we have ever had - but we still had a blast.  That's why I love this sport.  You can have the worst things happen, yet still have an amazing day with friends!

Alayne and Cayden


  1. Yay! Congrats on such a good result! I loved all the pictures :)

  2. fav horse of yours!! So cute! Congrats.

  3. WAY TO GO ... love the pony club kick - true life savers those are at times ;)

  4. Sounds like a great day in the end! Thanks for all the pictures!

  5. What a great experience though! And a ribbon to top it all off :)

  6. Good job on your first event with William!

  7. What a good boy, he's all, "Send me over bigger fences, mom!" Congrats!


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