Jesse wanted to see how Forrest fared at Training level before she entered him in the next competition, so due to closing date conflicts, it was just Monte at this one. I felt better coming into this show – more prepared, like I’m finally getting the hang of things. Dressage Friday afternoon, then SJ and XC Saturday.
I arrived at Rocking Horse slightly later than I’d planned on Friday, but still with plenty of time to warm up. I kept up with the long & low, posting decision I’d made last show and Monte had some really nice and relaxed moments in warm up. Until someone’s dirtbike fell over, but we recovered eventually. Overall, our test was pleasant, but we didn’t maintain the stretchy connection I’d have liked throughout. Since this was our only ride of the day, we went back to work after our test on the hill beside the arena. Walk-trot transitions then tons of trot-canter transitions going up and down the hill left me with the nicest canter I’ve felt on him! It would have been nice if we’d have gotten this before the test, but I’ll take it either way! We ended up with a 33.2 and in the middle of the pack, rather than the end, so it was definitely a good day.
Saturday brought SJ first, and we finally had our showjumping groove back! Head to the jump in a big, open stride, keep on my leg, cluck and soften the reins and it was smooth sailing with perfect distances. The oxer at the first fence was our most awkward, but much improved from the show before. We finished double clear and were now tied for 10th!
I’d walked XC once the day before and once earlier in the day and it was very doable. The most intimidating jump (I assumed) was the second to last: a bank down the hill to a ramp split in two by trees and hedges. It was a jump I looked at but thought would go fine that got me: a low(er) but narrow (not yet qualifying for skinny) timber type fence where upon landing on a downhill slope, you continued cantering down the bank then up and out. I thought more about it as it came up to us on course, wondering if Monte would look… he shouldn’t, but he might… so, I messed with his rhythm, slowed him down instead of keeping up our impulsion, and as I rose to jump, he rose slightly and ducked out to the right. WHAT. A. DICK. Could I have ridden it better? Yes. Should he have jumped it anyway? Yes. I took my time with the rest of the course and ended with 6.8 time penalties and in 17th place.
Had we gone double clear we could have ended up 5th. FIFTH!!!!!! I think this was our most depressing fail to date because everything else came together. If we could get all 3 phases together, we’d at least finish in the honorable mentions placings. Onward and upward, sigh.