Enough time has passed since the Baywood Pony Club one-day for me to write about it without getting that tight feeling in my chest. You can tell from that opening, that this does not end the way I wanted.
Again there was drama before the day of the show, I think I need to just start figuring that in. This time, the truck needed new tires NOW, and once that was accomplished I found out I would be loading the horses and hauling to NWEC by myself. The last time I loaded Kip by myself, it took over a half an hour. At first that freaked me out, but then I decided it would just be okay, that I would leave plenty of time to get him loaded, and not worry about it. So of course when the time came, Kip just stepped calmly onto the trailer.
I arrived at NWEC with lots of time, and we got the horses settled in.
My dressage ride was at 11:17, and my warm up was okay. Anne was coaching me when she could at this show, but Ting’s stadium ride was at the same time, so she was with her. Kip was super wiggly and I had a hard time keeping his attention, but that is normal in warm-up. At least this time we was not whinnying his fool head off. The test was okay, I did not forget any of the movements, but straightness and precision were not on offer.We got a 38.0 on this test. I forgot to pick up my test at the end of the day, though, so I don’t have any more info than that on it.
My Stadium ride was at 1:07 and Anne was able to help me warm up for that. She really read me the riot act about keeping the pace up, finding a rhythm and keeping my leg on. She’s been telling me that Kip’s ideal pace is much faster than I am wanting him to go, and she is right. When I entered the arena and started my canter circle, I could hear her yelling “Pick up the PACE!!” So I did, and we rocked around that course with zero problems. After the first two or three jumps I really started seeking the jumps and Kip was locking on and going for it. I wish I would have ordered a video. Next time. But I do have this awesome shot that Kerry took for me:
One of Anne’s daughters had a Chorale concert that evening, so Anne just had time to warm me up for Cross-Country and get me going on my round, before she had to leave — if the event ran on time. Just as I had put on my vest and helmet, word got around that someone had had a bad fall on course, an ambulance was coming, and the course was closed until the paramedics could come and and examine the rider. As far as we were able to find out, she was not badly hurt, but she was taken in to be evaluated. This led to about an hour’s delay, which of course meant that Anne couldn’t coach me in the warm-up. It was confusing to know when to tack up, and ride order went right out the window. So there was all that confusion — that said, I felt good about our warmup. I had a good gallop, Kip jumped all three of the warm-up fences with no issues, and he felt good, like he was relaxed and listening.
Finally it was our turn, and we walked to the start box. I circled through at a relaxed walk – in retrospect maybe I should have gotten him moving at this point, so he’d know we were working. My thought at the time was to conserve his energy and to keep him relaxed. When the Start Box judge counted us down, I trotted him through the box and off to the first fence, which is a strangely scary log. It is famous, and no one can really decide what it is about this log that makes so many horses look at it so intently. I was expecting it though and had my leg ON. We got over without too much bother. The second and third obstacles are down an narrow-ish lane of trees, and Kip cantered up nicely, only to spy the jump judges, and to not like them standing there at all. He looked hard at them as we went over #2 and then really started sucking back over #3, there was also a branch to dodge. I ducked under it, and steered kip over the fence, he jumped well and then we started down the hill to the water. He was still really sucking back, and then he saw more people standing around and decided this ride was over. He stuck his head between his legs and started bucking. Pitched me off on the second or third try. I gave him a fight though and was hollering “Kip! No, goddammit!” the entire time, but he finally had me off. The judge asked me if I was okay, and my first words were “My horse does not buck!” I was totally fine – I somersaulted over his shoulder onto my shoulder then hip — I didn’t even smudge my helmet – but she decided to have me retire. In a recognized show any fall eliminates you, but in an unrecognized the judge may let you continue for the schooling experience, especially if the fall was not because of an obstacle, like mine. But she asked me to retire, and I did not fight the decision. I was really disappointed.
Jane had an awesome X-C round on Miley, it was Miley’s first time around, and while Jane had to really ride her, she made it clear. As soon as her round was done, she wanted to get the heck out of there, and I was only too happy to oblige. We loaded up and got on the road. A couple of miles down the road, Jane remembered we did not pick up our tests. We were bummed we forgot, but it was no big deal. The next day I went to the Startbox results page to at least see what my dressage score was, (38 – not bad) when I noticed that Jane and Miley got Fourth in their division! We did not even check. I texted Jane that she placed. I was in 8th place going in to X-C, and if I would have had a clear round (IF) I would have gotten fifth.
So basically now I am pissed off, and re-doubled my intent to be able to do this stupid sport. I am pretty tired of getting beat up. If I would have kept my feet in front of me, and sat up, he couldn’t have thrown me. I guess what makes it so great is that it is hard. But man, it is really hard.