March 19, 2008

Battle Hill ODE

Last Sunday I took 3 horses down to Battle Hill for their ODE & area trials. It was a crazy day - with some dressage judges seemingly just forgotten to be booked - so everything was running very late, and the judges who were there ended up judging twice as many as they'd expected! So all a bit busy and crazy.

Ruby and Neo were doing Training, and Scuba was having his first eventing start at PreTraining. Ruby was up first and did a more relaxed dressage test than Aokautere - but I think a bit more lazy. We've been working at home towards getting a nice middleground:

Neo was next up, and sadly his dressage was nowhere near as relaxed as his last time out. He wasn't overly uptight, just not totally listening. Still playing around with bits to suit him, but starting to wonder if he must be due to see mister dentist!

Scuba actually ended up doing his dressage after the entire Training class finished their showjumping (crazy). But it did mean we warmed up twice, which was probably good as the atmosphere had him pretty uptight at first. He settled really nicely and then had his first time in a dressage arena! He coped extremely well. Had some parts of the test a bit distracted/looking around, but some really nice work too. And he's such a pretty man.

Showjumping went super on all the horses! Rode Neo first - and he was a dude. Even got through the double in the right amount of strides! He must be getting more confident in himself, which is great. And Ruby just breezed around like it was nothing.

Scuba was really brave too! He was probably a bit overfaced with the course (including the whole show scene), but he was great! Tried heaps. We stuffed a couple of distances, but he gave everything a really good shot. He doesn't particularly want to take rails either!

I hate crosscountry. But I'd walked most of both courses the night before to give myself time to prepare (panic?). The Training course was a very tough one (4 elements at the water, something like 27 jumping efforts over the entire course, an evil chevron corner and all sorts of things that help me to continue disliking crosscountry). Ruby just absolutely flew around like an old pro. I was so over the moon - only her 2nd ever XC and she was already carting me around and looking for the next fence. She gave me a fantastic ride, and was one of very few clear rounds.
Neo's steering issue from Aokautere was pretty much instantly resolved by me putting the correct bridle on him this time (what a blonde). He popped around happily like a wee ponyclub schoolmaster, but we had trouble at the chevron corner... just couldn't quite get my angle/approach right for him (enough for him to understand exactly what I wanted). But he's come along in leaps and bounds, and I think it was a great XC performance from Neo - especially at the water complex where I put him wrong into the first element, landed on his face, and he just tipped me back into the saddle and kept plodding on.
Scuba was not interested in the crosscountry idea at all. So we ended up just going for a trot around the course and him having a looksee at all the fascinating and scary things. I had to head home straight after riding to catch a flight for work, but heard later that Ruby came 4th - so that was wicked news! 2 eventing starts for 2 placings :)