So King Oak was the first full event of the season way back on May 12th which also happened to be my 18th birthday. Considering Ben and my issues from the fall I had one goal: to complete. I went into cross country riding for a double clear but being perfectly okay with the fact that we may have a stop or two as long as we ended up finishing. And that's about how it went.
Dressage was decent. His canter was a bit weak, his centerlines a little wiggly, and he broke to canter in the left trot circle for a stride or two but considering how he used to be and considering he is notoriously awful for dressage at King Oak those were just minor bobbles in an otherwise pretty steady test. I believe we scored a 41 point something and if I remember correctly we were in 12th out of 18 or so after dressage.
I have a video but its not a good quality video so I never ended up uploading that to YouTube so I can't embed it here. Sorry about that!
Stadium was done in typical Ben fashion: slightly out of control and overjumping everything by two feet to easily jump double clear. So that felt really good and I was pretty confident going into cross country.
Here's the video from stadium:
Cross country was good after fence 5. Prior to that we had three quite ridiculous stops at 1, 3, and 5. And he balked at going into the woods after 3 for whatever reason. I would love to know what is going through that horse's head sometimes!
After the second stop, I turned my watch off and settled on the fact that this was going to be the schooling round of his life. So every time he stopped he got a whack and a very driving re-approach and he went over perfectly on the second attempt each time. Once he jumped five he was awesome! There was a bench, ramp up, bank down combination that he jumped like a pro, he went through the water combination just fine, and was great for all of the fences in between too.
The original plan for the ditch was to coffin canter it. I changed the game plan after we had the three stops because the last thing I wanted to do was canter up to it, have him slam on the brakes, and have us be eliminated without getting to correct that considering his history with being ditchy. So I decided to walk the ditch and after a little sidestepping he popped right over and finished the rest of the course like a champion. Turns out they counted the sidestepping as a stop anyway so we technically were eliminated on the scoreboard but its not like it mattered, we would have finished last anyway so it wasn't a big deal, I was just happy we got to finish the course!
He most definitely finished the course a lot more confident than he started and I really felt like he took a big step forward in his cross country performance. This video is of fences 9 a/b, and 10 and you can certainly see he has his game face on. It just takes him some time to get focused for the first few fences. Most of the time I can stuff him over but sometimes he just gets away from me and we get the stops. He is a little bit too easily distracted!
Here's the video:
So I may be the only person on Earth who can technically be eliminated and still be ecstatic on how the day went but I'm just optimistic by nature I suppose!
Next up is the Kent Horse Trials report which.... eh, I wasn't so optimistic after that one!
I do still have some video uploading to do before I write that post so it'll probably be about two days or so before you guys see that one.
As always, thanks for reading!