With Dustry’s first EVER one day event just under 2 weeks away we have been practising our XC and SJ as much as possible. I took him over the few little home-made XC fences we have on the farm, and after an initial ‘you expect me to jump this higgledy piggledy heap of tyres???’ moment he popped them sweetly and went on to jump the whole line of 6 up and back without hesitation.
We went off to Elmwood Equestrian last Saturday for a lesson with my instructor Amanda Brewer over the SJs on grass and a few XC fences and D was fab. Despite being a forward going tb I really have to ride him forwards and up to the hand in the canter when jumping, to make life even harder for myself I also seem to hold my breath too which can make a round of 10 fences pretty exhausting! Note to self – BREATHE!
( Got in a little close to this fence! )
After schooling over the SJ course at 80cm (with just the 1 green stop) we went out onto the XC. We started going up and down a bank, and off some steps. Gradually building it up to 2 steps down which D did very nicely, and in a much more measured fashion than at Lyneham XC schooling a few weeks back. We popped a variety of small fences no problem, but my complacent riding meant that when I pointed him at a slightly more substantial pheasant feeders with a gap underneath it he jinked out sideways. Legs on, reins shorter and showjumping power engaaged I represented and he flew it. Second note to self – DON’T RIDE LIKE A WET BLANKET
We then went and popped a drop to a narrow skinny a few times, and finished over a few of the bigger fences, including a log with green brush poking up out of it.
Determined to keep hold of that feeling of how I should be riding when jumping we set off 2x days later to Rectory Farm Arena for a round of show jumping. The venue was PACKED and we waited 2.5hrs for Class 1 (with almost 50 entries) to finish. D was impeccably behaved to come out the lorry after such a long wait, and warmed up really well (despite some man deciding that the warm up was the best place to slap and shout at his horse and generally show himself up!) we went in the ring and I was DETERMINED to get round clear. I tried to get the canter forwards and powerful but not let it out the front, and I think there are parts of the round where we achieved that. Fence 3 and 4 were some rather horrid ‘looky leaps’ which are not nice for him or me, but I just slapped more leg on and encouraged him with a few ‘good boy’s and he became more fluid as the course progressed. I know that my lead changes needed to be done quicker, but the whole round was a big improvement, and also his first SJ round in competition this year!
So off home we drove pleased as punch, a little sunburned and vowing never to ever become a show jumper as it takes all day!!!! Prep for the event will continue with a lesson this weekend and some time spent looking at the dressage test, sod’s law is I spend all this effort focusing on the jumping and mess up the dressage! The joys of a 3 phase competition!