All I can say is, what a journey it has been, from 2012, where he could barely pick up a canter and not be able to maintain it, to being able to compete and finish all 3 phases in one day!
I was pretty apprehensive about our weekend at Rocking Horse, but show jitters are normal for me. I had a restless night, dreaming of every possible horrific event that can happen...from driving the truck and trailer off the Lake Jesup bridge into its 15,000 alligator infested waters, to falling off Tucker on xc and of course, being utterly embarrassed and forgetting our dressage test.
Tuesday and I had made the wise decision to haul Tucker and Nebo up to Rocking Horse on Friday, so that they could be settled in and figuring on an early morning dressage test, I didn't want the stress of rushing to get there on Saturday. It was a wise decision, we arrived, unloaded horses and tack, set up their stalls, waited out a storm and with the lightning finally moving off into the horizon, we tacked up and headed out to the cross country, which was open, to learn our course.
I had new boots on Tucker and I was interested in knowing how well they would hold up to galloping through the water, so as we approached the water complex, we trotted and cantered back and forth through the water. (the Woof Wear boots held up just fine with no slipping or turning.)
I was surprised to see a bank and a ditch on the course for beginner novice, albeit smalls ones, and later that day, I called my daughter Jen, who evented at the upper levels, and expressed my concern that the jumps were maxed out and while it was a straight forward course, the jumps looked big to me! Ha! What a weenie I have become!
Saturday morning, we warmed up for our dressage test. My husband, Peter, came along and he could not understand why Tuesday and I were the only ones wearing coats for dressage. I can't speak for Tuesday, but for me, it is all about tradition and looking your best.
We entered the ring at a nice forward trot and laid down a pretty respectable test. Our personal best to date, we scored a 32! Most of our scores were respectable 7's with his canters scoring mainly 6.5's...definitely something we need to work on. The judge commented on our test sheet that it was a lovely test! The test was good enough to land us in first place!
We had a bit of a break and the awesome crepe vendors were at the show, so I enjoyed a strawberry and banana crepe and walked the stadium course with Marcea and Tuesday. I changed shirts and then tacked up for back to back show jumping and cross country. We literally had about 13 minutes to go from the stadium ring out to cross country, so navy electrical tape was applied over Tucker's boots, Peter had my vest to hand off to me as we exited the ring and we headed out for a very brief schooling over fences with Marcea. I jumped about 3 times, declared that he was ready and into the ring we went.
God damnit, I had a bit of a mental lapse and we almost overshot fence 2. Really? On my husband's video, you can hear me declaring "Oh crap, 2! There it is!" and we make a tight right turn back towards the jump that I have ridden past and jump it on an angle. As we land, I hear the dull thud of the rail bouncing off the ground and I know that I have just blown my blue ribbon. We continue on and thankfully finish the course with no more brain farts and just the four penalties. We exit the ring and Peter hands me my vest. Tuesday is right after me and I watch her knock the same pole to the ground and then we head out to the cross country course, at a leisurely walk. I had made the decision that I was not going to rush out there, and it was a good choice, as they were just finishing up the tadpole division as I arrived.
Ten, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.....and off we go!
After we got past jump #2, a bench which I have never liked, I realized that HAY! I am having fun!!
The course was straight, up a small bank and into some trees, around the big bank, over the ditch, a smattering of coops and feeders. I did not even notice there was a photographer after one of the fences, nor did I realize I was being followed the whole time by the one jump judge on an ATV! It was just Tucker and myself, two beings becoming one as we fell into a steady rhythm of Tucker's heavy footed gallop. Past the starting box, thankfully the tree that I hate was not on this course, into the big field, through the water, bend right into some more trees and head for home! I not only enjoyed myself, but I realized that the jumps were not that big, which photos and video confirmed! We finished clear and within time and dropped to 3rd place.
I was so pleased with Tucker! My fears about eventing an EPSM horse fell away. He can hold his own and his recovery was pretty spot on, with him drinking and eating well.
I realized that we are pretty competitive and after doing a few more at beginner novice, if for no other reason than to build my confidence, we will be ready to move up to novice!
|We have worked long and hard for that trot!|
|Getting it together in show jumping after a near disaster!|
|Those jumps are tiny!|
|A successful finish to cross country! What better way to share than with friends! Tuesday and Nebo!|