Monday, March 28, 2011

Woodhill HT - 27 March 2011

Having had one SJ lesson on the Thursday, being our only SJ since the fall, and two dressage lessons Wednesday and Friday, we headed off to Woodhill sands Horse Trial.

They were running a practice SJ on the Saturday morning, which should be perfect for us going into the Horse Trial.

Despite atrocious weather, I toddled down to the sand arena. Sampson was rather full of it, and I was a real nervous nellie...tense and tight. Eventually trotted! ... and finally decided to actually attempt to jump....however, my horse was a different horse to that pre accident!!

Off he charged toward the fence, head up and as soon as I tried to slow him down (panicked and grabbed) he started propping badly head still up, and did an awful jump. However into the ring we went, and I was thankful that the jumps were pretty small.

The first few were awful, we were quite simply fighting each other and he was immensely strong. However, I then (finally) stopped pulling and fighting at him, started to use my core and actually ride him, he settled and we got into a rhythm. Started again at jump 1 and did a passable round. Left it at that.


He warmed up well with lots of long and low and stretches.
Despite the disgusting weather - he had probably the worst of it, being a total downpour! - he was a very good boy and did a nice test. Predominantly 7's and 8's with just a couple of 5's - one where he broke from canter (other canters were 8's) and the other where he fooled me and curled under at free walk. Judge also commented on "this lovely big horse"....

Scored 67.5% for a penalty mark of 32.5 - just 0.5 behind Danni Lodder!!!
He ended up 7th after dressage, so very pleasing that he was up with the 'big wigs'... :)

Jumping was scheduled for the Sunday and thankfully despite rain continuing overnight, it wasnt actually raining. Needless to say everything was rather wet.

I actually only jumped the upright and oxer practice fences once each as he felt fine (as did I).

Into the ring I went, (with some very sage advice that if he took off on me, too bad and just vrrooom around the corners)....perfect advice as it turned out.

Jumped 1 and 2 and take off he did, but I just looked at number 3 steered to it, and he went "ooops, mum's not going to fight me", and so he got VERY deep somehow got over it, then settled and jumped beautifully for a clear round. He was very pleased with himself and I had to get off and lead him back as he was so full of himself.

CROSS COUNTRY (cross country photos by Michelle Horan: Kiwi Sporthorses)
I had intended to go for time (and may well have done had I known I was sitting in 4th place after SJ)....however, the course passed by the warm up on the splotty noisy sand, and every horse galloping past wound him up more and more (including horse running back to their trucks after depositing rider somewhere on course). I actually only managed to pop him over a practice jump just before we went.

He basically took several jumps to get onto the job....the steering was a bit peculiar and he was simply popping over the jump at the last minute when he kind of realised it was there. But by the time we jumped back onto the sand, he was back on him game. Just let him toddle along in a rhythm and sat and steered.....he just lined up every jump and popped over happily....didnt back off the water jump at all, and cantered through it and popped out over the skinny.

Gave me a lovely lovely ride, and I felt confident and happy. Indeed I did so little that apart from being hot (it was muggy) I wasnt even puffing!

Amazingly, despite 22 time faults he still ended up in 8th place!

YAY....onto Kihikihi and time to push myself out of my comfort zone.

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