This past Sunday Donovan and I ventured off to the Kent School Horse Trials. It was a very cold morning, being a whopping 42*F when we arrived.
Our dressage warmup was limited as I procrastinated a little getting to the warm up area because I was under the impression that I had more time than I did and Donovan doesn't need much in the way of dressage warmup. I think if I had about five more minutes he would've been a little more relaxed for our test.
That being said, the test was decent, we had one little blip coming back from the free walk and he got a little uppity about the trot transition after it. Other than that, he really just needed to be more relaxed over his topline and go forward more in the trot. The canter work was much improved from our last event so I'm very pleased with that.
We're still figuring each other out, I've only had him a little over a month, and he's very sensitive to the leg, so there's a fine line between pushing him forward and being way too forward, so I think once we figure that part out he'll actually be quite nice in the dressage ring.
All in all we scored a 39.1 to put us in 7th place after dressage,
Stadium was a little messy, I'm used to stadium being my best phase so there's a little bit of a learning curve riding a horse whose worst phase is stadium. The course design was honestly a little strange in a small, muddy ring so there were a lot of tight turns and short approaches; not exactly the best possible scenario for a forward going horse who likes to attack the fences.
Our biggest problem was that he jumps better from a slightly longer spot, but I was hesitant to let him take the long spot when we had a sharp turn afterwards because I have yet to master bringing him back quickly. When I ask him for the closer spot, he ends up lengthening the stride before takeoff which makes him jump past his arc. We ended up pulling two rails, both the front rails of oxers, because we took off too close and he couldn't clear his hind legs from the front rails.
At least after watching the video I can see what the issue was and we can work on our homework. He just needs to be slightly more backed off from the fences. I also need to work on getting reorganized after the fences faster (for an example, see the interesting maneuver we made between fences 5 and 6 on stadium in the video below ;-) )
Cross country was great, and again he was easily double clear. He is so game to jump anything out there, it's an incredible feeling. We had a couple disagreements about distances out there as well where I asked for a shorter spot and he responded by jumping poorly, but I think a little practice on adjustability will go a long way in helping us with that issue.
Dressage, stadium, xc:
We ultimately ended the day in 7th, and Donovan earned himself a pretty purple ribbon:
Next up for us is the last event of the season, Course Brook Horse Trials, on Saturday!