Look at me posting right after a show and not months later! Woo!
So, my unofficial goals for Frazier this past weekend:
*Have a obedient, accurate, and quiet dressage test - check
*Have a good, confident, forward xc round - ehh, mostly check
*Jump a nice stadium round - check
Obviously cross country is still our weakest phase at this point but I was really pleased overall with how the weekend went and this was his first time on xc since the middle of May so we accomplished what I had hoped to accomplish for the most part. Wow, that was quite a run-on sentence.
Dressage was actually quite lovely but WAY too lazy. If you had told me a year ago that I would be complaining that my horse was too lazy in dressage I would have checked you into a mental institution. But seriously. He was straight, he was bending well, our geometry was nice and accurate, but man was he lazy! He had zero engagement and wasn't tracking up at all and no amount of kicking, spur usage, or whip tapping was going to change his mind! The judge gave us some nice comments with just an overall suggestion that the whole test needed more forward (which I knew very well!) and we scored a 33.0 so I can't complain too much!
XC was next and the course looked nice and straightforward which was just what we needed. I own quite the quirky horse however and he never makes anything nice and straightforward. He was absolutely fantastic over the first four fences. He came out of the box thinking forward and actually locking onto his fences which is something I've really been working on lately.
Fence number 5 was a water crossing/puddle complete with lots of fish swimming around so he was a tad skeptical about that but walked through just fine. This was followed by a left turn to another unmarked water puddle before fence 6. Well. We first found something to spook at before we even saw the second water so we stopped dead like a statue and we argued about going forward. I was kicking and whacking and clucking and he was bucking and balking and mini rearing. We apparently were not in agreement about which direction we should be going in.
He then saw the second water and I got him up to it but he couldn't possibly be expected to go through that water despite having just gone through the previous one. So by this point we were going to be overtaken so I pulled him aside to let the other rider pass at which point Ben realized that the puddle did not contain horse eating monsters and happily went through.
But then I asked him to jump a log and we all know how scary logs are especially after your life was threatened by a fish filled puddle just moments before. So he stopped. And I reapproached. And he was definitely going but then I decided to add some insurance that he would jump by tapping him with my crop on the takeoff stride and that just shocked him SO much (because I have never, ever done that with him before) that he slammed on the brakes in quite a dirty stop. So yes, we had two stops at the most straightforward log ever. And then he spooked at something else again and I had a hard time getting him to trot down the pathway into the next field... He seriously is lucky that he is so cute because he can be remarkably frustrating
We continued on without fault aside from a peek at the ditch where I reapproached and stuffed him over. He finished happy and jumping well despite having had three stops and finishing more than three minutes over the optimum time...
Stadium was great, he was jumping nicely from the short spot and he easily jumped a nice, steady clean round.
So overall I need to rev his engine a bit before dressage, keep on keeping on with our xc issues because I really do think the more he gets out and comes through the finish flags the better he will be, and keep riding stadium the way we usually do because that is typically our best phase. We ended up with a sixth place ribbon when all was said and done but the best thing we left with was good learning experience for the both of us.
So here is the on-the-ground video:
And here is the helmet cam videos of xc and stadium although I cut all of the spooking/stopping fiasco out because it was quite long and boring to watch:
Next up is the Lyme Horse Trials on Sunday, again at Novice. I'm happy to be going out again right away so I can repeat the good things and hopefully fix the not-so-good things! In reality our xc issues are mainly just keeping his focus on going forward and jumping the jumps instead of checking everything else out. The jumps are not the problem which is why I am confident that once I figure out the right way to ride him, Training level won't be an issue at all.