I was hoping that the pro video would be available before this post, but I am not surprised it isn’t. They’re still posting the training level videos, so it could be quite a while before mine pops up. Luckily, I have a TON of other media.
One of the reasons I really wanted to do this show was because of the team aspect. Each team member is in a different division, and for Dressage, we all had the same ride time in different rings. Then for show jumping and cross country, we had times one right after another. Our team name? Tutu Cool 4 You. And thus, the tutu mission was launched.
Originally, I planned on wearing a blue or gray tutu to go with my regular XC colors (navy, gray, white) buuuuut somehow, I got convinced to wear hot pink. Honestly? I am super happy with the look and might switch to navy, pink, and white. Thoughts? I know Amanda is going to think I need a pompom.
Soooo back to the course. We actually didn’t walk the course until Sunday morning, since our ride times weren’t until around 3PM. My first thoughts? Oh god there are two waters. My second thought? But no ditch or bank. I was a little disappointed by that, since the omnibus said there would be ditches and bank at all levels, and on top of that, May is a bank and ditch master.
We ended up walking the course twice. The first time was with our trainer to get a lay of the land and to discuss the questions being asked at each fence. Our second walk was just the amateurs. I wanted to decide on my lines between fences, and we wanted to see how the last water rode. My goal with my path between fences? Shave off as much distance as I could.
Going to the third jump, I looped super wide so that we could get straight, because I wanted to at least trot before getting to the flags for the water at 4. The water at 4 was flagged at the beginning of the water, not the end like it looks in the map, so I took a different exit out of the water to shave off a TON of meters. Other than that, I just looked for the more inside options.
SO HOW DID IT RIDE?!
Jump 1 was a super easy little roll top thing, really more starter height than BN height. My goal was to get her SUPER in front of my leg coming out of the start box, since jump 2 was a pretty big table-type thing. I wish I had a pro pic of that one. How much of an adult amateur am I? After jump 2, I literally said to May “ok! That was the biggest jump on course!” Who can relate?
We then went SUPER wide to get straight to 3, and I asked for a woah about a MILLION times between 3 and 4, so that we were in a good trot down the steep little hill and into that water.
Jump 5 was basically the same jump as jump 1, but it preceded a little downhill slope and then back up again to an open oxer. May jumped the smaller jump like crap (there will be a theme here) but then jumped the larger oxer SUPER well.
Seven was the fiesta fence! Which despite being super loud and bright, May just decided to tap with her front feet. She got a little tap with the whip after that one. We don’t get to snooze over anything that doesn’t impress you!
Super happy with my ride to 8, the brush coming down hill and off a slightly wonky turn. My plan was to go tighter between 8 and 9, but the hill around 8 just pushed me off that line. I decided not to fight with her and just let her gallop up the hill to 9.
By this point, I am dying. Why am I dying? Because the day turned out to be 75 and sunny, and the only pink shirt I could find? An under armor base layer for winter… So… sorry for the heavy breathing in the helmet cam.
After 9 was a little blue house. We had a good gallop to this one, so she jumped it fine. We had a good stretch before an open oxer in the shade of two trees. I get this jump, but I didn’t love it. the front rail was gray and bright, even in the shade, but the back rail was darker. So I rode it a bit harder than I probably needed to, but it jumped fine.
Jumps 12A and 12B were a LONG combination. I think it walked in 8… I did it in 9. In true May fashion, she thought these were too small to care about and jumped them in awful form. I know what you are thinking, Maybe she was jumping like that because she was tired?But check out the pictures over the last few fences. We crossed the road. (I watched my trainer ride a VERY green horse over the road and she walked, since there were people and tents an ropes and cars etc etc… It NEVER occurred to me that this was a “busy” area. Good thing May was focused)
Then we jumped a little hanging log type fence. I pushed her a bit right here and rode the outside line around the tree and down the hill. Novice had run a similar line all morning and the footing was a bit chopped up. I didn’t want to have any slipping/confidence issues before the last few.
Then she jumped the crap out of the feeder box fence before we turned to our last three fences… At this point, I checked my watch and was like “oh, I have plenty of time to circle to get a good line to the last water.” This was important to me because after fence 15 you had maybe 3 strides then a 90 degree turn into the water, which was down a chute. So you really didn’t see the water until you were desperately trying to yank your horse into it. (if you are me…) So my plan was to jump fence 15 and then circle left so that May could have a good look at the water before going in.
This also meant I got an intentionally close distance to 15. I yelled circling (SHOCKED I remembered to do that) and we came back to the walk to walk into the water. Now, the water was deep, but May walked right in. I pony club kicked to get a trot and water went EVERYWHERE. Seriously, the little water droplets floating around are my favorite part of the helmet cam.
At that point, I made the executive decision to tap May behind the saddle to get her revved up to jump the last fence, which was only a few strides out of the water, and it was clear horses had been climbing over it all day.
With that, we were clear! I looked down at my watch a few strides a few moments after the finish, and it said 5:13. Now, I had started my watch during my startbox countdown… and speed fault time was 4:47. The thought that maybe we were UNDER time crossed my mind, but I quickly forgot about it as I watched my other teammates gallop over the last few!
I DID remember after this post though, and I went to look at my final time… 4:50. The fastest horse in my divisions without speed faults. WHOOPS. Guess those times were a little TOO short.
Overall, we ended up with no XC penalties. So we moved into… drumroll please (pretending like you all haven’t look already)…. Seventh Place! I was super happy with our sub-40 point finish, but I was WAY MORE happy with how confident and rideable May felt on XC. I even looked today, and it turns out that we were the 4th highest non-pro in our division.
It was a great way to end a great weekend. Look for at least one more post on this show to talk about all the STUFF that went on outside the competition ring. Until then, definitely let me know what you all think about us converting to pink, navy, and white for our colors!
ALL PHOTOS IN THIS POST, INCLUDING THE COVER PHOTO BUT EXCLUDING THE INSTAGRAM POST, ARE COURTESY OF XPRESS FOTO. WWW.XPRESSFOTO.COM.