It is Monday morning (Tuesday now! It takes me awhile to write a blog post!) and I am back at work reflecting on my weekend with Scooby. We had such a great time in Maryland. The Maryland Horse Trials is one of the nicest venues that we have competed at. The facilities are spectacular! The woodwork on the Cross Country fences is just amazing! My digital camera pooped out in Bermuda and I vow to replace it by Fair Hill! I would have loved to get some shots of the gorgeous fences this weekend and was so bummed that I was not able to. Next time! I plan to compete there again in October, so I will def get some!
Here is a quick recap of the weekend! We arrived at Loch Moy early Friday evening and the first thing that I was so excited about was that they had us stabling on the upper hill in the nice, new permanent stalls. Not those terrible tent barns in the lower field (yes, that is what $75 a night for stabling bought us last year...oh and warm, brown pond water for the horses to drink in 95 degree weather! Needless to say, we were not pleased!). This was a HUGE improvement. Aside from the stabling last year, this place is run top notch and the volunteers are spectacular! We met so many of them this year! All of them were so eager to help us competitors. We especially appreciated the golf cart rides to and from the stabling area (I think Chris appreciated that much more than I did! HA!). Also, a huge shout out to Rex! He is the barn manager and in charge of all the parking and stabling. Such a great guy and by far one of the nicest people we have ever met at a competition. We are looking forward to seeing him in October!
After settling Scooby in (something which does not require a lot of effort! Scooby is a very seasoned traveller. Just walk him for ten minutes to stretch his legs and then put him away with his food. Easy!), we headed back to the hotel to catch dinner and relax. Saturday morning arrived and I was so happy that I did not have to get up until 7am. It was sooo nice to actually sleep in (I am usually up by 6:30). After feeding, braiding and checking in, Scooby and I headed down to warm up for Dressage. After about twenty minutes, I was not having high expectations for our Dressage Test. Half of the warm up arena was designated for Dressage, while the other half was for Show Jumping warm up. I could feel Scooby's excitedness with the jumpers! He was not being naughty, he was just not his normal relaxed, focused self. It did not improve when I brought him up the the main arena for the last 5 minutes of warm up. That arena had full view of the intermediate horses galloping cross county.....Ohhh man, this is not going to be good! As much as Scooby loves Dressage, he would much rather be out on Cross Country. Well off we went, and no, it was not our most beautiful test! He had some very nice moments, but he also had some very distracted moments. Chris put it best...it was just inconsistent....Oh well! Scooby is a consistent Dressage horse, so he is allowed a buy every now and then...at least that's what I try to tell myself. The truth of the matter is, when you are solid in Dressage, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to always be be very solid and competitive in this phase. Let's face it, in order to be competitive in eventing, you must be solid in Dressage. A lot is decided in this phase and after completing about 15 Training Level Hts, I have a right to want to be competitive at this level. I must say though, I was not grumpy with his test! It is always important to remember that we are not competing with just ourselves or another human. Our partner happens to be a fit horse. In my case, a high energy, Preliminary fit, Thoroughbred. So Chris and I lectured Scooby on the walk back to stabling, telling him he better want to jump and gallop very badly and better do it very well! Well Scooby did not disappoint us! He warmed up very well (we usually only jump about 6 fences) and then we headed up to Show Jumping. Something new that I have added for the first time at MHT, is that Chris now stays with us by the Show Jumping arena in case Scooby starts getting wired while waiting. Having him there helped keep Scooby relaxed and forget about jumping while he waited his turn. Scooby would much rather jump cross country first and then show jump later in the day. When we do the showjumping first, I have a horse who wants to go gallop, and it is tough to channel his energy so that he does not get sloppy and bring rails down. He is getting so much better in showjumping, but it definitely helped having Chris there to pet him and make him forget about jumping until his turn. Plus, if I have any trouble with him getting wired right before, Chris will be there to help walk us around. It is rare that Scooby gets very orinary (orinary meaning wound up and very figity), but he can have his moments. That plan worked out well and he went into the arena pretty chill. He was fabulous in showjumping and we put in our third consecutive clear round!!!!!!! Woohoooo! I was ecstatic! We walked out of the arena and met a beaming Chris. He was so happy for us! Show Jumping has been such a struggle and noone knows that more than Chris. Chris is the very rare husband who is at every Horse Trial and is truly my right hand man! We would not be where we are at without him. Most people thank their trainers for their success. I thank my husband! He has been there through thick and thin, and will continue to do so. I am very lucky! So, after a quick chat about the showjumping, Scooby and I headed up to Cross Country and were off within a few minutes. We had a great ride! He was spot on with everything and felt super fit. The course was so much fun and I attached a link to the photos below. The highlight of the course was definitely the second water complex! You jump a hawaiin looking fence/canter four strides and jump off of a log drop into the water/gallop through the water, in between the loch ness monster and then jump a fence set about two strides from the water. It was sooo much fun and Scooby was a pro through it. When we jumped the first fence, I knew he was locked onto the log drop, but I was still totally prepared for some possible hesitation at the drop. There was none! He soared down over the log into the water! It felt amazing! I attached the link to that particular pic! Sooo fun!
The second water complex was the last real question on the course, but there were still three more fences before finishing, so you can never just let up and think your done until you are through the finish flags! All of these fences demand respect. We jumped the remainder of them very well and galloped through the finish flags flying high! Such an amazing ride! I have to pinch myself all of the time that I own this magnificent horse and how lucky I am that he came into my life. Scooby and I were made for each other. Chris met us down by the finish and was also ecstatic by what he saw of our ride...He was dying to make sure that we did in fact jump clean. Once I told him about the ride, he was like "I am so proud of you guys! Oh and by the way, you scored a 30.9 in Dressage and were in fourth before Show Jumping". I was like "whatttttttt! My naughty boy scored a 30.9!!!" Hahaha. I was a little suprised to say the least! I was thinking a 35 or 36. What a pleasant suprise! So we finished the day in 3rd place on our Dressage Score! That is my lowest final score yet! Such an exciting weekend! Hopefully many more of those to come!
Here is the link to all of the pics from the Maryland Horse Trials!
From here, we have three weeks before Fair Hill. On the to do list.....Train hard and get excited!!!