In the microsecond between Carolina International and The Fork I somehow managed to take Justin to a recognized event!
Morven Park had their spring Horse Trial over the weekend of April 1-2, and I think this event has been snowed out before, so I was a little nervous that the weather would be totally rank – but it wasn’t!
Leslie and I planned to go together. We didn’t add any notes about requesting ride times near each other since we were trailering together, but we knew this show was fated for success when we got the exact same ride time: 9:06 a.m. I don’t know how this happened, but the ride time gods were in our favor that day. We also rode back to back in our jump phases.
9:00 a.m. ride time + white horse + 24/7 pasture board = 4:00 a.m. wake up
Besides bathing before the sun came up, the morning kicked off to a good start. It was raining a bit when we did our dressage, but nothing too bad. Justin felt good in warm up, and seemed to be using his hind end well. Our test was an improvement from our last performance at the Loch Moy Starter Trials, and I came out of the ring thinking that it was a mid 30’s test for us. Above average, but expected after time off this fall. My prediction skills were right and we got a 35.5.
Since Leslie and I had the same ride time, we were doing our tests nearly in tandem with side-by-side rings. Every time we ended up on the area sides closest to one anther Justin would do this jump and launch move – I believe to impress his new best buddy, Orlando. Fortunately I’ve come to a point in my life where I don’t dwell on my dressage, so these antics were hysterical and totally a Justin move.
The rain finally cleared up for our jump rounds. I loved the way Justin was going in the warm up, and we carried it well into the show ring! The fourth jump on the course was a one stride in-and-out. As Justin has an increasingly shrinking pony stride, I usually assume we will add a semi comfortable two – I was WRONG. He got in and launched to the second as to say, “What the F*#k, Mom? Where’s the support here?” I learned my lesson, and the next one stride I actually decided to ride and it was lovely. We had a clear round and I was so happy with the pon.
Next we headed down to the cross-country. Usually at a one-day, they only schedule about 10 minutes between your two jump rounds, but the intermediate division was basically Sally Cousins and one other person, so we had extra time to chill as she was finishing up a few rides in that division.
The course, which we walked the day before, was pretty straight forward and inviting. The only potential worry was the water, or rather the table after the water. This table was definitely the biggest, widest element on course, and it came on about a 10 stride bending line from the drop into the water. I will note it was the worlds smallest drop into water, but water slows your momentum, so you have even less time to get your stuff together for this mammoth thing! Now that I’ve been going Training level for
an eternity two years and some change, I knew it would ride well, but it wouldn’t be a horse show unless I carried an exorbitant about of anxiety about something.
To prepare, Leslie and I were eyeing a large table in the warm up. She at first was unsure about jumping it because it looked like a Prelim fence. I told her it definitely wasn’t and that it would be a great last gallop fence before heading to the start box. Both our boys jumped it beautifully, then I admitted to her it was definitely a Prelim fence and that I lied ~*sneaky*~, but hey now we’re over prepared.
Justin was amazing over the entire course. It was one of the best/most fun cross-country ones of our career. He was so much more rideable than usual and I think he’s finally getting the idea! Halfway through the course a devilish idea popped into my head, “Maybe this year I’ll actually move him up to Prelim?”Hehehe TBD on that one…
We finished fourth on our dressage score – white ribbons for white ponies! I was absolutely thrilled with my power pony. He obviously spent the entire next day sleeping, and I barely got him up for his massage that afternoon #spoiled. He was then had a few days off as I went to The Fork the following weekend.
This Sunday I drop him off at Boot Camp for two weeks! I’m headed to cover Chattahoochee Hills CIC3* then off to Rolex Kentucky CCI4* (aka the Best Weekend All Year). While I’m gone he will be with my dressage trainer, Allison Spivey. I am so looking forward to seeing his progress when I get back!