Mattingley has to be one of my favourite events, and it seems we never fail to have a lovely day there whatever the result. I had late times with a big gap between dressage and SJ in which to walk the XC so at midday we set off from home. Soap warmed up really nicely for the dressage, the last 7 weeks works on his canter is definitly filtering through to all paces as he felt much more balanced and straight. Walking around the edge of the arena before the bell I asked him into trot and he squeaked and grunted! I think he is getting the idea about this eventing lark! so I concentrated on keeping his mind on the job. He did a lovely test, nice and straight but could have been more forward still. We got 38.5 which I thought was a little high but seeing the section results the judge was quite strict, and infact that score placed us 15th/45 after dressage, so I was pleased.
The SJ was causing carnage and infact there were eventually only 4 clears in my section! Walking the XC I was excited it was a big meaty course, much more technical and demanding than Bovington. A few of the fences were shared with the PN, and there were some good questions around the course.
After a brilliant SJ lesson with Rosie on Thursday I was for once really looking forward to the SJ! Soap warmed up really well, up in front and with a good rhythm. I sent him on one flyer but corrected myself and was pleased with the warm up. So into the ring….we got a good stride to every fence on the course which is a first, and I didn’t push for any long strides (hopefully that bad habt has been bannished now) I waited for the fences and he jumped like a little pro. We had the 2nd fence down because I let him run on just a bit downhill, but after that I got it back and cleared 3,4,5,6,7,8a not sure why we had 8b down but it seemed to be catching most people out, unfortunately he got away from me a bit on landing and I held but should have half halted for 9 and so we had that down too 12 faults but one less than last time, and the round felt completely different to any we have ever done before, I had time to think, didn’t panic and fire him, and he just jumped from a nice even rhythm. (SJ video to follow soon currently having laptop issues!!!)
Our SJ faults dropped us from 15th to 21st, with just the XC to go. I couldn’t wait to get out on the XC and neither could Soap he had been gazing over from the car park to the XC all day, and every time a whistle went off his ears pricked up. We shot out the start box, and I could hear the XC commentator mention my sponsors Equine Premium and my blog so we went smiling into the first fence Over the brush, house, roll top, and log and up the hill to a double which 2 of my chums were jump judging (I decided against waving as I went by, I was busy struggling to see as a fly had lodged in my left eye, so they probubly thought I was winking!) onto the trakhena, then a sharp right to a grass topped box and sharp left to another one. We then had to jump up onto a bank 3 strides and off again then 3 short strides and over a log, onto an angled double of tyres, over a lovely big brush (see 1st pic) down hill to an open ditch, through the woods to water, trotted in and cantered out over another nice big brush, up onto a bank over some tyres then RED FLAG!! I got pulled up! I instantly started racking my brain to try and think if I had gone wrong but there had been a fall and the horse was loose so they had stopped the course. We waited for about 2mins, and then set off again. Soap just picked up where we left off, over a house, then a fab line to the corner, and onto the ‘lovers seat’ I thought we might have lost a bit of time with the hold so put my leg on towards home and he seemed to go into rocket mode! Over an open ditch to a house, then to a pig! and the last, home safe and clear. We finished on 5.22 and the OT was 5.31 so another clear round, chuffed. After washing off and cleaning up we went to see the scores and photos, and catch up with my jump judging pals. Our clear XC had taken us to 15th! I was over the moon, Soap had equalled his best score this year. If we had finished on our dressage we would have come 7th, and with 1 down we would have placed 10th, so once we start going clear SJ we will really be in contention Soap is having a mini holiday now before BCA Intro as it was such a hot day and the ground was quite hard, I on the other hand have to get ready for Race for Life this Sunday!!!! Anyone want to take my place?….