Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mystic Valley Combined Test Results

Ben and I went to another combined test this past Saturday and competed in the Training division again which went extremely well!

He was fantastic in dressage and ended up scoring a 35.9, his best score at Training level. He got an 8 on both his first centerline and his final halt. He got 7s on one of his trot lengthenings and his stretchy circle which is a big step for us. We actually only had one 5 on the stupid canter diagonal yet again! I hate that movement! Last show at Apple Knoll he broke gait and this show I kept my leg on to prevent that and he sped forward and thought about throwing in a flying change for good measure. So that is one movement in Training A that we just haven't gotten down yet. We've got one more Training level combined test to get that movement right. Third time's a charm?

The canter work got a bit disorganized after the diaganol debacle and pretty much scored 6s until the last turn down centerline but overall the test felt good and I think we are on the right track! I was very pleased with the boy!

Here's our test:

Stadium went pretty well aside from one major miscommunication at fence #6! By some miracle, he still managed to clear the fence so we did have a clean round, but it was definitely my fault. He had been leaving a touch long at all of the previous fences so when we got to #6 on a half stride I put my leg on for the long one but he decided at the last second he needed another stride. It was then supposed to be 5 strides to a one stride but we got all messed up so we put in six and two... Oops! Luckily he's little and handy so he handled it just fine!

Here it is:

There were only two of us in my division but we still won by two points! So the blue ribbon was just a plus on a very successful day! I have good feelings about this season, he's been absolutely awesome with what we've done so far and I can't wait to get to our first full event of the season!

So the plan for the rest of the spring is xc schooling again on Thursday, a combined test at Training on May 5th, King Oak HT at Novice on May 12th (also my 18th birthday!), Kent HT most likely at Novice just to be on the safe side, and the Boyd Martin clinic Memorial Day weekend. A very busy month of May! The move back up to Training will most likely be at Apple Knoll the end of June, and then his first recognized Training will be at Riga Meadow in July. That's about as far as I've gotten so far!

As always thank you so much for reading, I will hopefully have a full report sometime this week about our Thursday xc schooling adventures!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Apple Knoll Farm Combined Test Results

Well, I think its about time I gave you all an update!

Today Ben and I ventured off to the very first outing of the season: a combined test at Apple Knoll Farm in Millis, Massachusetts. We competed in the Training division, and then we went cross country schooling afterwards. Ben was an absolute star and I could not be more proud of him!

We took Ben's girlfriend Lilly with us today, as she was competing in the Novice division. Ben was perfectly calm and wonderful until he got into the warm-up, remembered that his girlfriend had come with him today, and then began frantically searching for her. Our warm-up was a crazy mix of calling and leaping in the air. Not the best way to start off! To give Ben the benefit of the doubt (hehe....) we had the very first ride time at 8am and it was about 33 degrees. So I kind of just accepted the fact that this wasn't going to be the day we won the dressage. 

He actually pleasantly surprised me by going in the ring and performing quite a decent test for the first of the year. No calling, no leaping, no bucking. Our trot lengthenings were more or less non-existent because I wasn't about to push for anything, I was just happy he was being quiet! Our trot circles were pretty good and we got 7s on both of them. Our stretch down circle was not the best he can do, he pretty much puts his nose on the ground at home, but he did okay considering how wound up he was prior to the test. Both of his trot-canter transitions were excellent and both garnered 7s. We got knocked for our canter circles because I made them a bit too big, so we got 6s on those. Our canter lengthening was actually probably the best he's ever done at home or in a test and he actually came back to me which is always a miracle with Ben! He was a bit on the forehand so we only got a 6 but I was happy with the progress he seems to be making. We royally screwed up the canter the diagonal, trot at X movement because he broke gait but that was pretty much the only blatant error in the test. We ended with an even 40.0 which I was actually pretty pleased with considering the way he had been acting in warm-up. This put us in fifth place (out of 5 ;-) ) but the other scores were all within a few points of each other. 

Here's our test:

Stadium was a lot of fun and he was jumping fantastically. We only jumped 4 jumps in warm-up and nailed all of our distances. He had an excellent round except for one silly rail at fence number 3 which a lot of people were taking down all day long. We got a little too close and he just couldn't get his legs out of the way in time. He also got a little too close to the in on the one stride at 4A to do it in one, so we just added a little extra stride and it all worked out just fine. I was very proud of him although the rail ensured that we stayed in 5th instead of moving up to 4th like we would have with a clean round. I was not terribly concerned about the placings however because I was incredibly thrilled with his performances and we got a pretty pink ribbon to boot!

Here's our stadium round:

Then we moved on to the really fun part: cross country schooling! The course was more or less set the same way as it was at our failed attempt to move up to Training last fall which was great because I got to jump most of the stuff that A.) had scared me back then and B.) which had looked like a lot of fun. The ditches were completely anti-climactic because he jumped them all without batting an eyelid. He did both the Novice and Training half-coffins, the Training skinny, the huge, terrifying maxed out Training table, the fun angled line,  the Training level open oxer, and a bunch of other stuff. He was so fantastic, bold, confident, and forward. It was a great feeling to have my horse back! 

Here's the xc schooling video:

We're off to another combined test at Mystic Valley Hunt Club this Saturday, also in the Training division. Then later this month we're going to try to school a bit more xc before heading into May where there are all sorts of exciting things: the first two events of the season and the Boyd Martin clinic at Fitch's Corner! 

I promise now that things are in full swing I will be updating a lot more frequently!