I don`t know why it feels like all I am doing is recapping shows, I haven`t really been doing that much but it just seems like it`s all I have time to write about lol. I also just realized something today. For the longest time everyone here compared Beginner Novice int the US to Entry level in Canada but actually Beginner Novice is comparable to Pre-Entry in Canada, as Entry level here is bigger at 2`9 and can be up to 3`in stadium. Learn something new every day I guess.
Anyways, onto the Champs! My friend Katie and I dropped back down to Pre-Entry to attend the Ontario Horse Trials Championships to be held at the Caledon Hunt Club. I have never been to this event so that is always exciting to see a new venue and ride a new course. I had a pretty relaxed feeling coming up to the event. Coming off a great finish at Entry level at Glen Oro, and dropping down a level for the Champs, Katie and I were both thinking this would be a fun, confidence building event for both our horses.
We didn`t escape the early wake up this time, and I was up and out of bed by 3:30am. I braided Indy that morning and headed to Katies, where I park my trailer and she drives us up in her trailer with her dad as our driver. They have a brand new cozy three horse and new truck complete with horse cam to watch them on the drive, you really can`t beat it. It`s pretty sweet to watch them on the drive - Indy literally spends the entire time eating and it cracks me up.
We walked the course upon arrival and got our packages. The course was very cute, only a few maxed fences, but lots to look at, hills and some galloping. It looked easy and fun. When we returned from our course walk and someone had parked right beside us, put up a tent complete with BBQ and had their horses right where we were going to tie ours. I politely asked them if they could move their tent behind their trailer as we had no where to tie our horses. The other side was already full of horses and since we were there first....blank stares. Their tent was literally three feet from our tack room door....I`m all for a party people but come on, park where there is space. We had to move our trailer a few feet to the other side and try not to squish those neighbors. Eventing is usually full of cool people but these ones were not cool whatsoever.
|trying to push lazy horse forward|
Anywho, it was time for dressage. We were all spiffied up and Indy felt great. Until I got the warm up and he started blowing his nose and head shaking constantly. I wiped his nose, dismounted, checked his bit, checked his nose. Checked his braids, checked everything. I have no idea what it was but something was irritating the hell out of him. He was shaking his head up and down the entire warm up. He was clearly very bothered. I went for a bit of a canter to see if he could blow it out of his nose and he seemed to get a bit better but it was still mildly there. Just what you want when you are preparing to go in for your Championship dressage test. Horses. LOL
We watched Katies test which was beautiful. We went into the ring and Indy was very well behaved but obviously bothered, as he was a bit lazy again. That is apparently his go to thing when something is bugging him. He wasn`t head shaking as bad as in the warm up, he was clearly trying to be good but we did have some here and there and didn`t score as well as we can. No worries though, we were 3 points behind Katie who was in first after dressage. We were 56 and 59 respectively. 37 and 39 for the Americans, and yes, the judge was tough!
This event was being run with Showjumping last, like my last event. They had a catered lunch over looking the showjump ring for competitors too which was a nice treat. So cross country was next after lunch and Indy and I were ready for it. He felt good in the warm up, maybe a little lazy. His head shaking had diminished but was not gone entirely. He was blowing his nose a lot which makes me think he had a piece of hay fly up there in the trailer or something. Once we started jumping in warm up he forgot about it entirely so it put my mind at ease.
We watched Katie leave the start box and Indy watched her horse Lilly canter into the next field. It was soon our turn and we were off. Indy just galloped the course like it was a freakin hunter derby. He found all his distances, we galloped, we jumped, we did lead changes, we only had one moment of looking at a fence but it was the Training bank out of the water that he was spooling at beside his number 12. I gave him a good smack and he turned his focus back to his fence and popped over. It was after this fence I realized we were going wayyy too fast for Pre-Entry. I was hoping to be about 45 seconds left at this time and I had 1:25. I brought him back to a nice quiet canter for the remaining 2 fences on course but it wasn`t enough. We finished clear but with 7 time faults for going too fast. Whoops. That is something I definitely could have prevented but it really doesn`t bother me, I would rather him jump nicely out of stride and keep a good pace for when he moves up to higher levels. It was a really fun confidence building course.
|over the first|
Katie was also clean on her mare and that gave her a bigger lead over me of 10 points. We headed into stadium warm up and it was a bit of a zoo. Indy was still headshaking every now and then, but when I started jumping once again he quit. I only jumped a few times and then just sat and waited by the ring. He was jumping nicely up and over, and hitting his distances so there wasn`t any point in drilling in the dusty warm up ring with like 100 other riders. We were supposed to run in reverse order but the ring steward was not aware so Katie went in first. The tack check had told me my open front boots had slipped but she fixed them for me, and showed me how to put them on differently so they don`t slip. Apparently sheepskin boots have tricks, I thanked her for her help and knowledge. Such nice people running this event!
We watched as Katie and Lilly rocked around the stadium course. She had a few good rubs but luck was on her side and she jumped clear to finish on her dressage score. A first for her and with that a huge accomplishment and clinched the win! There wasn`t much pressure on me now, but I hate adding anything to my score so I really wanted to jump clean in there, and that we did. Indy might be the most enjoyable showjumping horse I have ever ridden. He is steady, adjustable, and he always lifts his legs extra high when I ask him to. He was a star. We finished with those 7 time faults added to our dressage score in 2nd place. I still count that as Indy finishing on his dressage because those time faults were all my fault LOL.
|I love his expression :)|
|this jump is gorgeous!|
I gave Katie a high five when I left the ring. So proud of us both for taking these green horses and doing all the work ourselves, to finish 1 and 2 in Ontario in the Open Pre Entry division. Our total cost of horses combined is $500 which just adds to how great these Thoroughbreds are. We had to wait around a bit before getting ready for home because we had award presentations and....VICTORY GALLOP!!
I haven`t been to an event with a Victory Gallop in about 15 years. I was soooo pumped for this. We got our ribbons and prizes, then back into the ring for the Victory Tour! Guys, I don`t know why but this was just too fun. The entire event was an absolute blast, and our horses were total stars. Can`t wait to try again next year at Entry level.
|Katie and Lilly|
|way too much fun|
Have you ever done a victory gallop??