Monday, October 10, 2011

Loch Moy: 3 Ribbons and a Heartbreaker

After this weekend at the Maryland Horse Trials at Loch Moy, I am especially thankful that I have such wonderful students! They each rode absolutely superb and kept me smiling all weekend long, despite my own heartbreak on Sunday morning. But, first the 3 ribbons...

Diane and Lincoln had another great day at their third Training level event, bringing home the coveted brown ribbon (8th place)! Loch Moy's classes are always large and competitive, and 8th place is quite an achievement, especially because Lincoln didn't have his best dressage test. We've been working so hard on his dressage, and he's come miles in the past couple of months. But, it's always disappointing when it doesn't quite come together the way you know it can. But, big boy Lincoln more than made up for it by skipping around the XC and giving Diane one heck of a ride! Interestingly, we heard (from the horse's mouth, so to speak) that the course designer made the Training XC slightly easier than the July "move up" event. I thought that was a little curious. Anyhow, anyone heading to the Area II Training Level championships better watch out for "Mr. President" cuz he is the man in charge!

Later on Saturday, Susan and Eeyore took BN by storm! We've been working furiously to develop Eeyore's dressage, and Susan reaped the benefits this weekend! Scoring a 30, they were tied for 4th after dressage - certainly an enviable position in such a large class! And then it was onto the jumping where Eeyore made his debut in the gag bit! For those who don't remember, check out my post about the gag bit assembly process. I was absolutely tickled to see that all my pain and suffering paid off as Eeyore cantered around beautifully, loving his gag bit! No more wild running, circles to regain control, or accidental escapes through the white ropes! Eeyore cantered around on a soft rein, only to be checked remindedhere and there to keep a regular pace - no arguments, no craziness - happy horse and happy rider! And then the day got even happier when we saw the scoreboard - a WIN for Susan and Eeyore!!! And with their qualification now secured, they are also off to the Area II Beginner Novice Championships - go girl!!

Diane and Susan with their well deserved ribbons.

Kerry & Atticus were the last to go on Sunday afternoon - riding Novice. Also scoring a 30 in dressage, Kerry started off her day in prime position - and it kept on getting better! After a bit of water disaster at Loch Moy in July and earning 2 stops, Atticus is officially over his water phobia. He practically towed Kerry into both water jumps yesterday. No more "square wheels" (as Lucinda Green says... a hump and a bump and a stutter and a hop...) - it was race car Atticus into the water! And at the end of the day, Kerry was also well rewarded for her efforts with a 3rd place ribbon.

So, it was ribbons all the way around for the Golightly gang. But, hang on, what about Katchi? Sadly, there would be no ribbon for Katchi this weekend. It was a heartbreaker instead. We started with a lovely dressage test, that placed us as the leader of "the others" in the division (i.e., those without olympic medals, pink jackets, or Fair Hill 3-star entries next weekend!). Katchi warmed up for show jumping superbly and started with the most beautiful round! The deep footing was really difficult for him, but he stayedin front of my leg, hitt all his distances, jumping perfectly - it was even better than Marlborough! Through the oxer-t0-vertical one stride, perfect! A little close to the liverpool, awkward, but okay. Roll back to the yellow and white fan jump. And that's where it all went wrong. Horribly wrong. The only thing I can figure out is that Katchi never saw the jump. Just never saw it. We hit the take off point and didn't take off. Suddenly there were poles everywhere, Katchi jumped into the air, landed in a thud, slammed my face into his neck (my cheekbone is a little tingly today, small bruise under my chin, but generally unharmed). But, here's the problem - I'm now in the middle of the show jumping ring, stopped, a little dazed, and 5 1/2 strides from the triple. I've been scouring the rule book trying to understand what I could have or should have done, but I think, left or right, up or down - I was screwed. Scoreboard now had me with a knockdown (or knock-through!) and 1 refusal (any stopping on course is a refusal). I guess I've joined the elite group of riders who have managed to earn a refusal on the landing side of a jump. Shit. That's just not right. I tried to back Katchi as far as I could into the corner without crossing my path, took a breath, and dug my spurs into him. 7 strides. Over the vertical. One stride. Katchi sees the oxer and I actually felt him move backwards while we were still going forward. Leap into the air, crawling over the oxer, moving hard left, losing all power. I'm not sure if at this point I was trying to stop him or pull him right, but we ended up, 2 and a shuffle strides later, with our noses in the left hand wing standard of the 3rd element. 2nd stop. Day over. The Brits have the only phrase that can explain my disappointment - I was totally gutted. And still am. I actually feel like I am a gutted fish. We could have done that triple. I know it. And we could have done it with perfect steps and no rails. But if I'd galloped around the ring to get going again, I would have crossed my path and been eliminated before I even got to the first element. Why couldn't he have just stopped at the fan jump so they could have reset it, and we could have had a proper do-over?! I was in a totally no win situation and all I could do was try. I should have had my bat ready and wacked him over the vertical - but using my bat in show jumping still isn't in my instincts. Maybe it will be now. So, there you have it, the end of Katchi's first prelim season with a big fat E in show jumping. Right in the middle of our best round ever. I guess that's how it goes sometimes. Next week, we're off to Kentucky for the Training 3 Day. The good news about that format is that no matter what happens in show jumping, we'll at least get to run cross country - because I'm not getting eliminated in dressage!!!!

Photos of Prelim XC jumps we didn't get to jump:

Nothing says fall to me like bunnies, cross country jumps, and colored leaves. Is there anything better in life??

A bank, bounce to tiny log - oh how I wanted to give this a try! Katchi hasn't done a bank bounce before, and I thought this was a perfect introduction. While it's marked as shared with intermediate, they made the log about a foot lower for Prelim - oh my heart aches for this bounce!

My heart doesn't ache for this GINORMOUS log into the first water, but I was keen to give it a go. I took a look at the log after all the Prelim horses ran and it was well scuffed up on the top. The horses really put their feet down in the air on this one, and I heard several stops announced at it.

Another one I was really looking forward to: in July this rolltop was followed by a down hillbending line, up the hill to a smaller rolltop. This looked like a fun variation of down the hill and to the wedge - and after the SKINNY chevrons we've been jumping at Phillip's all summer, this wedge looked 100 feet wide and FUN!

And my final words for today... DON'T FORGET... starting tomorrow night (Tuesday Oct 11) - VOTE FOR RILEY!!!! Read all about it on my blog post about Four Socks Riley. My friend Bridget and her horse Riley will be featured on the TV show, America's Favorite Trail Horse, tomorrow night. To continue onto the finals episode, they need your votes!!! Place your votes Tuesday - Thursday, here (be sure to uncheck all the sponsors' boxes before you vote, or you will receive a whole lot more emails!).

1 comment:

  1. Love reading your blog, and I think we can all relate when we're in those impossible situations! Best of luck at the T3D!