After all my extensive preparation we set off for Tdown. The ground had recovered really well from Thursday, and was almost perfect going. I picked up my numbers, got my new hats tagged, and walked the XC before my dressage. A few questions on the XC a downhill double of fat bull finches which I walked at 10 paces, so to Soap a short 2. I watched a few go through it with many having a run out if they tried for a long 1 stride, so made a mental note. The only fast option was a corner on top of a hill, with a plant pot in the middle and some awkwardly placed gorse bushes meaning you only had about 3 or 4 straight strides to it. Lots of people were taking the option so I decided not to walk it and go for the corner to make up on time. Pretty straight forward after that, 2 skinny logs on a curve up a hill, steps, picnic table, water, log to drop, few more fences then home. Nothing looked to be particularily intimidating but the whole course did seem to be up to height for an early Intro/BE90.
Dresage he warmed up ok, he was more tense and stiff on the left rein than usual but I quietly worked him through it as I didn’t want to get him wound up. We managed a 37 which was ok, and he did do a fab square halt to finish (physio coming out on Thurs to give him the once over)
I managed to get to the SJ course walk and went round dutifully pacing out all my distances, and picking marker points at which I would collect or change leg. Warmed up ok a couple of duff strides which did nothing for my confidence! Went in and really tried to think my way round. Great strides to 1,2,3,4 and 5 then lost my focus as I twigged I was clear so far, I let him run on too fast and we had the next pole down! Re-collected for the double, but then lost it again on the last related distance resulting in 12 faults. I was pleased with him, but angry with myself for losing focus halfway through.
XC the best bit! Couldn’t wait to get out on course and neither could Soap. For the 1st time he started to get all bouncey in the start box which is great to know he now recognises his job. Stormed off round the course over the 1st few fences, steadied up and held for 2 at the bull finches and he hit it spot on, lined up and locked on for the corner, and he jumped it straight as an arrow. Brilliant bold and brave round the rest of the track. Optimum time was 4.33secs and we came in on 4.36secs so only 1.2 time penalties to add.
I was over the moon with him. He finished up on his best ever total score of 50.2 which put us 19th out of 40. I compared his score to last season’s last event and he improved on his Dressage by 2 marks, the SJ by 11, and has another clear XC under his belt.
We will be show jumping, show jumping, and more showjumping now until Larkhill BE90/Intro on April 11th….can’t wait