November 16, 2008

Solway HT

Friday afternoon I packed up at work, got a pickup from Swifty and headed home to get the horses ready for the weekend. When Nick & Brad got home I was able to finish topping up the oil on the truck (not really a one-person job as I confirmed!). Loaded up Sam, Violet & Neo and headed off to Masterton (yes, again!).
Once I got to Masterton Mum arrived with hay and helped get the horses settled in for the night. Once waters and feeds were done and everyone's legs were wrapped for the night it was 10.30 and I was just too tired to even consider walking my crosscountry courses!
Up at 5am Saturday (when sleeping in the truck, and too lazy to close the curtains, you can't help but wake up when the sun does!).. I gave the horses a hand-pick of some fresh grass and then set off to walk the xc courses. Training looked quite nice, and Violet's OpenNovice course had a lot of combinations and some technical parts, but aside from being scary - everything did look jumpable. So I headed back to the truck and started tacking up.
Mum turned up just as I was getting on Sam ('her' horse). He was easier to ride in the dressage saddle - but I still think I'm not really tough enough on him! I don't really force him to work, and some of the test sheet comments echoed that. He goes nice and kind, but there is room for a bit more 'flash' there:
Neo was next up.. his flatwork was still very unsettled like last weekend. I'm not sure exactly what to focus on, as he was really softening and going great at the start of the season. I might need to do a bit more schooling and a bit less fitness work on him (he's certainly not lacking fitness!). But he still gets points for being a total cutie:
Violet warmed up superb for her test, though I was a bit intimidated as her class (Open Novice) was full of Intermediate eventers! We were in the sand arena too, which I hate. Violet put in some really lovely work and got lots of nice comments from the judge and picked up 3rd place in the dressage which was certainly not bad against such good company:
Showjumping for the boys was very uneventful - just nice clear rounds from both of them over a lovely inviting course. Violet's SJ was in the main ring and the surface was very slick - we had studs in (but only a few) and she was virtually skating around. She slipped once, and felt unsure of her footing for the rest of the round, so after we finished that I decided to withdraw her before the crosscountry. Just not worth the risk with such a lovely kind mare. There was a farrier on the grounds and I could have tried to get some additional studholes drilled, but it all would have been a last minute panic, and not really what we needed right before facing the XC. So, quite a bummer to go all that way and not complete - but Violet didn't look too fussed at all as she stood around eating grass for the rest of the day!
The boys both did fantastic in the XC. Sam was out first and is still coming to grips with these odd solid fences I keep cantering him towards - but it was great to get him out there and show him another bunch of new things... He was far more confident than last weekend too - tackled the water and banks happily and kept his footing really well the whole time.
Neo I was a bit nervous about, as last time I did this course on him I was doing a lower class, but one of the jumps is shared - it's a combination wall/staircase - and last time we had a nosediving rotational fall (not fun). So I rode him really backwards into it and we just sort of came to a halt in front of it, but once I pulled my socks up and let him canter into it he hopped up the full size straight through option like a real professional... then blasted around the rest of the course like a piece of cake. Really pleased with how much self-confidence Neo has picked up too.
My dressage scores kept me out of the money, but I'm wrapt with how the boys went and I managed to get home on Saturday evening before dark (yay!). Also Sam went home with Mum, so that she can take him out to a few shows over the next few weekends and maybe have a go at jumping him too! So Sam loaded up at the end of the day with Alfie (who Mum had brought out for a look-see, and he behaved like an angel all day).
Quick vid of Sam & Neo at the water jump: