Don't Stop Believin' - Burgundy Hollow HT Recap
|My "Good Job Staying On the Pony" Ribbon|
This unfortunately was not that day.
However, it wasn't a total loss, and I do feel overall that WonderPony and I are making progress. We are essentially right where we left off at the end of last season, which, in the grand scheme of things, is nothing to be overly upset about.
|"I request a hay net with bigger holes."|
|I'm obsessed with these braids.|
Our test was nothing special, but definitely not our worst test ever. I was too tense in my arms (as per usual) and the canter departs were inverted, but we got it done for a score of 36. Not too shabby for a "meh" feeling test, and I know that the heat played a big part in how Dino performed.
|"Too hot. Let's just eat snax instead."|
Dino practically strutted out of the stadium ring, and I was feeling really good about XC. The fences all looked totally doable, and the only thing I was really concerned about was having enough gas in the tank in the hot, humid weather. On my course walk I made it a point to look at the Novice fences as well, to remind myself that BN is No Big Thing, and to my delight there were only one or two jumps on the Novice course that elicited an, "Oh Hell, Naw" reaction. I felt we were ready to tackle cross country.
I came out of the start box riding as aggressively as possible, but Dino seemed unaware that we were actually, you know, starting cross country. He sucked back behind my leg, and despite my kicking and Mr. Sticky, he stopped at the first fence. I gave him some serious whacks for that one, because that is no longer OK in the least, came at it again, jumped it, and continued on. The next two fences rode just fine. Fence 4 was definitely the spookiest on course, shared with Novice and set in a shady row of trees with a downhill landing. While Dino peeked at it, he jumped right on over, and I aimed him at the big table at Fence 5. However, our rhythm was disrupted by the peek-and-bunny-hop at Fence 4, and Dino sucked back and stopped again. More whacking, turned around, jumped the table. The next two jumps were uneventful: the ditch at 6, up the hill to a small log at 7. I wasn't anticipating any issues at the up bank at 8, but Dino got his eye on the Starter bank vs. the BN bank, and he almost stopped/ran into the flag before climbing up over the bank. Still, he went, so I'm not too upset about that one.
|Come on now, this is NOT A BIG JUMP.|
|This part was actually pretty fun to ride|
My first reaction to our XC run was frustration and disappointment. I was feeling SO ready for this show, and I really wanted this season to be the season of no more XC penalties.
After talking it over with Rachel for close to an hour, I'm feeling a lot better about how things went. It's obvious that this course was MUCH better than our last run at Flora Lea in the fall - 3 stops definitely beats the approximately 17 stops I had on that day. And I realized that I am so much more confident than I was last year. The jumps don't scare me anymore. In fact, most of the Novice jumps on this course didn't scare me on my course walk. But even though I believe that we are capable, Dino doesn't yet. My lack of confidence on XC over the past year or so has essentially trained him to be hesitant, and even though I've improved, Dino still doesn't trust me that I mean it when I say GO on the XC course, because I've gone back on my word so many times with him.
|"How to jump cross country? Do we go? Do we stop? I must contemplate..."|
The pattern was made pretty obvious on this course - the stop at the first fence came because we had nowhere near enough momentum out of the start box. The second stop, because Dino was backed off to the fence prior, and landed behind my leg. And the last stop came when Dino dropped behind the rhythm as he neared the top of the hill and slowed way down.
|Spookiest fence on course = NBD|
In the meantime, I'm taking hold of the small pieces of progress we've had thus far, and settling into the grit, determination, and pony'tude I need to keep moving forward. As Rachel reminded me during our conversation, there was a time not too long ago when getting around a 2' equitation course at a local show was a Big Freakin' Deal for me. We've come a long way, and now I know and believe in my heart that I've got the guts and skills to get it done. I just need to convince Dino that it's true.
This year, we WILL run a clean XC course. I'm not going down without a fight.