Katchi gave me two things this weekend: A black eye on Saturday; A blue ribbon on Sunday. I prefer the blue ribbon.
The black eye came with a fat face too. From the moment I saw Katchi in his stall on Saturday, I could tell that he had his jerk-face on. He really had it on while he was in the cross-ties being tacked up. Smartly, I thought better of my original riding plan, and went to get my longe line. To my surprise, he was pretty good. So, I hopped up - onto a ticking bomb! I walked around a few minutes, and decided to put him back on the longe. He went bananas. The barn owner came out, and we had a discussion about Katchi's feed while he was doing his race horse impression on a 20 meter longe circle. Katchi has lost a lot of weight in the past couple of weeks, after his move to his new barn and new grain, so we're trying to sort out some options. After two days of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, I suggested we should keep looking for the right feed balance. Katchi settled a bit, so I got back on to at least ride once through my dressage test for Sunday's show. After a bit of work, he felt pretty good, and reasonably relaxed - so I started my test pattern (Training Test A). I finished the first circle, and was pushing for Silva's big trot, getting ready for the diagonal lengthening. The next thing I new, my face was full of black horse mane and it hurt. He had spooked and stopped dead - putting some serious holes into the arena footing! Maybe because of all of my work for Silva on my core strength - I wasn't unseated at all. Just slammed right into his neck. Or, perhaps, if I had more core strength I could have sat the 60-to-0 in .1 seconds braking power. Or maybe not. Determined to ride through my test, I re-grouped (which included vocalizing several bad words and sufficiently checking my face for signs of blood) and started the test again. When I got back into the barn and checked out my face - wow. It was already fat. Very fat. So glad that I keep a healthy supply of ice packs in my trailer!
So - then it was Sunday, and Katchi and I were entered in a Combined Test today. I wasn't entirely sure if I should jump, but I figured I'd at least get through that stupid dressage test for a pre-recognized event status check. Overnight, my eye went black. My face had gotten fatter. This wasn't exactly what I had in mind for our first show of the season. After a bit of painful posting trot in the warm-up, I felt pretty okay. We put in a decent dressage test - not up to Silva's standard, but it was okay. Here's what I learned about the new Training Test A -
1. I LOVE that you get to walk right after the stretching trot circle instead of canter.
2. Katchi is not ready to lengthen in the canter to the right.
3. The 15m right canter circle is still tough for us - have got to figure out how to get his outside to come around to the right.
4. All my work on changing lead across the diagonal is paying off because that movement flowed like butter!
5. The hardest move in the entire test for us is the next to last - down from the canter at K and immediately turn up the center line - wow. It came up so fast and we were no-where near the center line until probably 1/2 way to X. Somewhat reminiscent of a drunk driver I suspect.
Show jumping went pretty okay - I was most proud that Katchi jumped through both in-out combinations perfectly. Since I started eventing him at the end of 2008, almost every one-stride... we get two. And every two-stride, we get three. It sucks. But today he was spot on! Not everything was pretty, but there was more good than bad. And, thanks to my former student and good friend, Amanda, who was in town visiting from Tennessee - I have a "game tape" of today to spend the next week over-analyzing and tormenting myself with!
Afterwards, Katchi and I joined up with a couple of my students and friends who came out to enjoy the beautiful day. We went for a little trail ride and found both the water jump and ditch free of snow! As our first HT date is creeping closer and closer, I am so relieved to have gotten our feet wet and hopped over a horse death-trap (aka ditch). And it was such great fun to hang out with such fun people and horses IN THE SUN!
And at the end of it all - I got to adorn my shiner with a blue ribbon! Really glad Katchi redeemed himself at least a little. Okay, time for more ice for the face. Sorry, no pictures of the black eye and fat face - some things are private, ya know!