I do not want to be the girl who is always on top after dressage, but can't keep it. After my first 3 starts of this year, I'm quickly becoming that girl, and that has got to change.
I am really really frustrated with today, but I've had almost 8 hours to think about it. The facts are: 2nd after dressage (out of 18 starters), one rail in SJ plus 3 time penalties, one stop at the bank on XC with 25.2 time penalties. The other half of the story is - dressage was okay, but I gave a way several points and I hate when I do that (LOVIN' the new saddle though!). Show jumping felt horrid. I was thrilled with Katchi's coping with the terrain and the ease at turning him, but we were back to far too many icky icky jumps. He felt so locked on the bit, and I just didn't feel like we were talking to each other at all. I was sure XC would be better - it wasn't. It was one of the hardest rounds I've had to ride. There was no light easy XC machine Katchi. Apparently he didn't come to this show. Really, as I think about it, he jumped the big jumps really well (and was spot on at the corner!) - it was the smaller jumps that he was icky at. And in between. Again, we just didn't talk to each other out there like we normally do. And I had to work my butt off. It caught up to me at the bank complex when I just couldn't stuff him down it on the first try.
Here's my list of things I learned today:
1. My bat should ALWAYS be on the right side. Despite being right handed, I carry it in my left hand. No more. If I see one more freaking red flag coming at my face, I'm going to start having nightmares about it!
2. My jumping issues are first and foremost a straightness issue. It's true in SJ, and it's true in XC. I don't stand a chance of stuffing Katchi over a ditch or down a bank if I cannot keep him straight to it.
3. No more night turn-out for Katchi the night before a show. I guess it's like not letting your kid have a slumber part the night before the SATs. Duh.
4. Katchi will keep me safe, and I need to trust him to do that. (By the way, remember the big freaking table at the bank complex - he trotted it. And survived just fine.) I need to focus on what he does need help with - like confidence to get down a bank. I do not need to worry about whether he will keep me safe.
And the list of things I still need to figure out:
1. How to ride the horse I have on the day I have him. Jimmy says, "it takes two to pull". Why was Katchi pulling on me so bad today? What could I have done to fluff him up and make him light and responsive?
2. What does Katchi need from me to give him the confidence to jump new questions on faith that I won't steer him wrong?
3. Is it time to consider a new bit?
Anyhow, we have Seneca Valley on Saturday in 6 days. Katchi won that event last fall. Sure would like to have a good round this time too. Am signed up for jumping clinics with Jim Wofford, Eric Smiley, and Boyd Martin over the next month - hopefully they can help me figure out the answers to my list of questions. I definitely need something to look forward to after today's disappointment.