Today we set off for BCA BE90 and I thought we had allowed enough time to arrive with just over an hour and a half to spare before dressage. Our Tom Tom and traffic had other plans, we got snarled up in traffic and arrived an hour later than planned which meant when I arrived in the dressage warm up the number before me was already in!!!!! Poor Soap only had 5 mins (if that!) of warm up and then we had to go in, but he did a very good test considering. On the first trot circle I was asking for a bit more forwards from him, and he offered a canter transition instead (1st error) I quickly corrected him and several movements later having not ridden the test in the warm up as I usually do I suddenly went blank! I couldn’t remember if I had to do another 20m circle at B or if I should have changed diagonal (2nd error), so I sort of did a bit of both, but the judge didn’t beep so I assumed I had winged it! Finally when doing medium walk back down the centre line Soap sneezed and tripped up as a result causing a hollow and not very nice halt (3rd error) Despite a VERY minimal warm up and some dopey moments from both of us we scored 35 so I was pleased as with a bit more prep I think we could have done a near 30 test…
Buoyed up by Soap’s good SJing round indoors last Sunday I was looking forward to the SJing and he warmed up beautifully, really basculing over the fences. I watched a few rounds and loads of people were crashing into the fences, sending them flying it was carnage! I cantered round again to check he wasn’t losing his grip and he seemed fine. I went in and rather unhelpfully he spooked at a dis-guarded filler on the outside of the arena just before the first fence, resulting in a tense hollow jump, I anchored him back and then softened to 2, then rode a good corner to 3, but 4 strides out Soap decided to charge at the fence, I checked him and he threw his head up, meaning we met the fence, hollow, too quick, and unable to jump out of the slippy going so he skidded into it, crash! I circled and we came to it again but he had really rattled himself and jumped it tight and tense so had the back rail off, I sat quiet and let him bowl on to the next planks, and he took a horrid flyer at it. Coming round the next corner he brought himself back into trot and after that I decided to retire. I was disappointed to have to retire, but he’s so honest and tells me very clearly when he’s not happy that I knew continuing would be pointless.
Despite seeming to have good grip and control in the warm up (the slippiness probubly wasn’t highlighted because all the practise fences were flagged to jump uphill) 6 of the 9 fences in the course were jumped downhill, and the going by then was too wet and cut up for the studs I had put in to cope with. I know Soap so well now that I knew he was unhappy and didn’t feel secure to jump without more grip, but there was nothing I could do except plough on potentially ruining any confidence we have built this season, or retire, chalk it up to experience, and save him for another day so I chose the latter.
It’s frustrating and expensive to learn these things at competitions but now I know, and next time I see horses skidding left right and center I will stick bigger studs in regardless of how the warm up arena is riding….better to be studded up than sorry…..ho hum….
On a plus side we got home nice and early (no traffic on the way back!) so I enjoyed a bit of ‘teaching your baby horse how to jump’ with Dustry and he loved it, taking me into the fence, and power popping over all 2ft of it! 🙂