Sunday, May 13, 2012

King Oak Horse Trials Results

In a day of some very extreme ups and downs, I was pretty happy with the outcome.

Ben walked off the trailer very calmly and grazed for a bit. We checked in and walked our stadium course which was in a 20x60 meter ring so it was pretty tight.

He was calm while I tacked and lunged and got on. And then he saw horses running cross country through the woods on the walk to dressage and it was all over.

It didn't help that I thought it was earlier than it was and I gave myself absolutely no time to calm him down so we went into the ring after about five minutes of running around and leaping. Our left canter circle consisted of mostly bucking and our right trot circle was pretty much all canter. The judge was very kind to us and gave us a 49 which I thought was very generous. We were in last place, but I expected that.

You know its bad when the judge asks if he's usually like this and if I felt safe jumping him. And you know its really bad when she says "I'm going to let you jump stadium but I'm going to ask them to keep an eye on you." Gee, thanks. I was ready to scratch right then and there because I was so upset that they thought my horse was dangerous.

I walked cross country and it looked too fun to pass up on, so I decided to give stadium warm up a try. He was great there so onto stadium we went. He was strong, but good, and we jumped double clean. The first line was a little sketchy because he wiggled down it and then peeked hard at the Crayola jump, which was the jump he stopped at the last time we competed at King Oak. But after that, he was pretty much perfect aside from a tight spot at 4 and was jumping quite exuberantly. Did I mention he was very strong?

Here is our stadium video:

Also, because he was being strong, I was coming back into the tack WAY too early. Luckily he is athletic enough to not let that bother him much, but its something I need to work on obviously.

Then onto cross country we went! I wish I had brought my camera out to take pictures of the course but at that point I wasn't even sure if I was going to scratch or not so I wasn't very enthusiastic about the course walking. I also am incredibly annoyed with my helmet cam because I cannot find anything that I can stick it to my helmet with that will stay on. I wish I had it yesterday so badly! So I'm going to do some digging so I can at least have it at Mystic in two weeks.

So the course started off in the front field with two very straightforward fences, some logs and a bench. We rode forward and positively to those and he jumped them great. Except for the fact that I had no brakes. Zero.

Then we galloped up the big steep hill and around the Novice log at the top that Ben was absolutely positive we were supposed to be jumping. I could hear the jump judges of my next fence laughing at me as I said "Not that one, not that one, NOT that one!" So we somehow dodged around that one and wiggled our way to our actual third fence, a little log. Around the bend in the woods to a palisade, and then some downhill left turns to a bank down, bending six strides to a little triple bar type fence. That was a super fun combination and Ben jumped it fabulously!

Then we galloped out into the field to the water which ended up not even being flagged, it was just a mandatory crossing, and jump number seven was a few strides out of the water. After a brief argument where Ben wanted to keep galloping full out and I wanted him to trot so he could actually see the upcoming water, we trotted up to it, he walked right in, trotted right out and over number seven. And I was worried about the water... He got lots of "good boy"s for that! The we continued on around the field to a little hay feeder fence, and a hogsback type fence before turning to another bench. Then we headed on to 11 a and b which was supposed to be three strides... yeah we got two. Did I mention we had no brakes?

Then came the fake ditch which is really just two fat rails with some mulch in between but given our past experiences with ditches, I couldn't help but be slightly concerned. So we turned on the line, I sat back and kicked and threw in a growl at him just in case. Not that he would've needed it because he just skipped over it like "Oh, where'd that come from?". For the remainder of the course I had a ridiculous smile on my face because I knew we wouldn't have a problem with anything else.

We then jumped the last jump in the field which was actually quite skinny with two big bushes on either side which we got close too but jumped fine. Then we turned onto the lane where Ben randomly leapt sideways at the sight of someone standing there who was walking the course. But we both recovered nicely and continued on to the second to last fence, a cute little log that I think we took at about 500 mpm...

We get to the end of the lane and back into the first field where the last fence is and I look at my watch. Optimum time was 5:40 and speed fault time was 4:23. We were at 3:50. Oops. So we trotted very, very slowly to the last fence, and then picked up our canter gallop again and popped over the last fence and through the finish!

What an awesome feeling to finish an event again! And Ben made up for his terrible dressage test by jumping like a superstar. Although I need to re-evaluate the whole not being able to stop thing... So in the end we moved up seven places from 18th to 11th! What a great birthday present!

Here is the cross country video which picks up from the water and goes through to the fake ditch:

So we are definitely looking forward to Mystic in two weeks and also to next week where my trainer is hosting a little combined test which will be good for us to go and actually put in a nice dressage test where there is nobody running cross country nearby!

And a couple of pictures:

Our very brief warmup before dressage

And both of us looking pleased after cross country!

As always, thanks for reading!