So initially yesterday I was pretty annoyed and a little disappointed with our performance. Let me be clear I did not go for the ribbons, but let me also be honest it would have felt amazing to come home with ribbons I really felt I’d earned (although we did come home with ribbons). Our flat classes weren’t horrible. There was no one in the two divisions before mine (yay for crummy weather I guess) so I ended up having to speed tack up and get my boots on. This left me with 10 to 15 minutes total to school her before our division started. This is so not ideal for Bella. She was totally calm and collected on the ground but the moment she saw me grabbing her tack out of the trailer she started getting a little more amped up.
I would have preferred to have the two divisions fill but be small (3 riders?) so that I could have had the time to hang out on her, walk around, go school in the warm-up ring for a bit and just get her moving and her brain thinking before we ever stepped into the big ring to get going. As it was I had just enough time to walk-trot-canter-jump down a line and then be done. Not ideal. Bella isn’t a hunter on the flat type, and to add a very quick and rushed warm-up onto that? Ugh. I was already not feeling it.
Bella is not at all what hunter judges look for, so I guess I should say that I’m not surprised by my placing (dead last, aka third) on the flat in both Under Saddle and Equitation.
Under Saddle: Honestly I was a little disappointed to be third, although I do get it. I wasn’t so concerned with the ribbon as I was a little sad for Bella. Home girl went out there and put in her best-ever under saddle round. She was a little feisty at the canter the second trip but settled down so quickly. She does tend to go with a higher headset so even with me giving her some slack in the resins to stretch out she was tense and therefore a little more upright than a judge would like to see. Either way, I was really happy with her. Even her transitions were fairly calm (they got calmer over the course of the day of course as we both settled in).
Equitation: Here is were things officially fell apart. Our trot work was okay, our first canter was fine, my sitting trot was shit (seriously though she is so uncomfortable to sit the trot on and I still need to practice that a LOT more before I’m any good to begin with. It could have been messier, I could tell that I had improved from where I used to be. But she still has trouble accepting it so she wasn’t great. Either way, it was our second canter that slaughtered us for sure. Bella picked up the wrong lead, then picked up the correct lead in the front but wouldn’t swap behind, didn’t want to trot to change, just fought me and we went halfway around the ring like that before the class was called to walk and line-up. 100% when I realized she wasn’t going to change I just sat there and fought with her about it. It’s a schooling show. This is not my be-all-end-all show. This isn’t even the discipline I want to be doing. I don’t care what the judge thinks (and I’m like 90% sure she knew that too).
Our courses were what really made my day. Again I wasn’t really here for the ribbons and I really didn’t give a hoot what the judge thought of me (gee guys, wonder how I earned those 3rds and 2nd place ribbons lol). The girls before me were jumping 2′ something (2’3″ maybe?) so I took my warm-up round at that height since I needed to jump a couple of things. She actually felt great but J wasn’t there yet so I didn’t get videos of that. The other girls finished up and then the ring crew raised the jumps up to 3′ for me. It occurred to me after I signed up that I don’t think Bella has ever done a full course at 3′. We’ve certainly done multiple jumps in a row at that height, but never a 8 to 9 jump course at that height. I really didn’t doubt Bella’s abilities to handle it either.
I posted earlier with a video of our Hunter 1 (so our first course at 3 ft) that is here.
I also have this clip here from our Hunter 2 to prove that I did not ride perfectly.
- Came in a little squirrelly to the first jump.
- Cross-cantered partway down the line.
- Finally got it together enough to get over the over.
- I just gave up and let her have it because I wanted to give her one last good jump on course.
*Please note the pat before we even got into our Hunter Circle – this girl earned that pat.
I managed to screw up on my equitation course TWICE. The first time my old boss (the farm owner) was talking to me and I totally just forgot where I was going, the second time I just got into it and gave up. I was so tired.
I did take a quick breather and do the Derby course (off the books) just because my old boss wanted to see her tackle that course. it was a really fun round, although we took down the sixth jump on course for that. We came in off balanced and on the wrong lead, I was going to ask her to switch in the air but Bella felt me shifting and about a stride out she swapped and just couldn’t get up high enough and took down the top rail. We finished out the rest of the course, and came back around and did that jump once someone put the rail up, and she was fine but it still sucked. It was the end of our day though and both the mare and I were getting tired. Definitely need to go work on our fitness and I see adding in some canter and gallop sets into her conditioning program. That trot seems fine but we definitely need to get our fitness level up more before it actually gets hot here.
I think the cross-cantering probably had a lot to do with our nerves, and her not being warmed up properly, so I’m going to give her a couple of light days this week. Today she gets off completely, tomorrow I’m planning on just hacking her out, Wednesday we’ll hack out and if it’s clear I’ll do some easy trot work with her, Thursday if her day off since I have class, and Friday I’ll take her out and actually do some work.
To finish this post off, here’s some pictures from the jumping.