Right now I’ve got that out of my system this is how the day panned out. We arrived at Elmwood nice and early and having walked the XC the day before all I needed to do was casually get ready and focus on phase 1. Dustry was super chilled as I had given him some Protexin Quick Fix to settle his stomach and any butterflies he might have, as a result he warmed in really well, no freak outs, no random kung fu, just attentive and focussed.
Pleased with his warm up we went into the area and I felt like he did a really lovely test, he was very rideable and only had a few scrappy moments, when he was a little slow into a canter trans, and decided to throw his head up at the end of the free walk on a long rein (what a charmer!). We scored 32.5 which placed us 2nd/22 after the dressage with the leader way out in front on 26.
Here’s a wobbly video of my test shot on a phone camera for you to enjoy, don’t forget the popcorn 😉
Back to the lorry to un-tack and potter about until the SJ for my class started. The SJ course was nice but had a horrible downhill line in the middle from 5 to 6 to 7ab which I was conscious of not messing up and lots of people seemed to be getting time faults. Dustry was super keen to get jumping and after popping each practice fence once we retreated to the safety of outside the warm up to wait for our turn. The penny has definitely dropped for him when it comes to jumping now and I’m sure in his brain he was thinking ‘let me at ’em’ as he tried to tow me round the course. I tried to ride him forwards but controlled and collected and barring a few extra half halts he was pretty good and jumped a lovely keen clear with just 4 time faults to add because we had used all the available space to get a good line through the middle of the course.
I was mega chuffed with his clear as he’s had 1 down each time in his last 2 events and with SJ being my weak phase it was a real achievement for us. With just the time faults to add to our 32.5 we were now on 36.5 and in 4th going into the XC phase!
Knowing this and having walked the course I wanted to go for a clear round to get that illusive DOUBLE CLEAR. The XC was really quite technical for 80cms and had plenty of questions so with a focus on accuracy and clear over speed we set off out on the course. In his first 2 events D came out the start box a little green and wobbly and bemused as to what was happening……not this time though! He shot out the start box like a rocket and cruised round the first 5 jumps like a total pro not giving any of them a second glance, even the trakhena!
He continued to eat up the course until about fence 10. He went very green and wonky and we had some steering issues between 10 and 11 as he cocked his jaw and seemingly turned from classy event horse into ropey old goat! Thankfully it was nothing that a little more leg and channeling couldn’t straighten out and voila the event horse was back. He assessed the water which consisted of a log on the top of the bank, down the bank into the water, out up the bank and over another skinny log and took it on like a pro. We whizzed up onto another bank and jumped a couple of fence on there and then on to a skinny, drop skinny combo. Again he stayed on his line and jumped the 3 obsticles like he’d been doing it all his life. Just a few more fences then the finish flags were in sight.
He had gone clear!
Back to the lorry to wash, ice, bandage and administer treats, then once that was all done over to the score board to see what it said. We picked up a further 10 time pens on the XC which bumped our total up to 46.9 good enough to secure 6th place and Dustry’s first ever eventing placing!
I was so chuffed with him, he’s taken an age to produce and retrain but when the dots start to join up he feels fantastic, and really scopey.
I called my trainer Amanda to give her a full run down of the day and she was overjoyed too, all the hard work is starting to pay off.
I think we will aim for 2x more ODEs this year still at 80cms possibly 90cm to finish on but I just want to consolidate this season with some good confidence boosting and educational runs for him before looking to affiliate and take him BE next year.
Next up we have to pack away our cross country colours and bust out the bling as we’re off to Petplan Area Festival Championships at Wellington! After the excitement of eventing dressage is going to feel very sedate, at least I hope it will Dustry might have other plans!!