Monday, 6 June 2011

Draycott BE80

Mally's BE80 debut saw us at Draycott House on Saturday. I had fairly late times, so had a relaxed morning getting Mally ready, perhaps a little too relaxed for Moot...

We arrived and I was pleased to see a giant Dressage warm up, so didn't think we would have the same issues as at Eland with lots of horses winding her up. She had studs in for the first time ever, which was rather easier said than done as she's not a fan of her back feet being fiddled with! I managed to get them in with just the one kick and by the end of the day, she was much better at having them in and out, thank god for SupaStuds as they are much easier than normal studs!
She was still unsettled (it is only her 2nd ever event!) so walked her around on a loose rein to let her relax. Unfortunately everytime I picked up the reins she thought I wanted canter, so I trotted and trotted until she started to get the idea, until we entered the ring and she immediately tried to canter... She settled down and did what i thought was some nice work, until the Judge beeped us in the first canter... Panic set in at this point as I was sure I hadn't gone wrong, so thought I'd learnt the wrong test! It turned out the judge had accidently lent on the steering wheel!! So we carried on, feeling rather unsettled yet again! The second canter was awful! I think she was always going to get tense after the first canter, but the beep didn't do anything to help and I began to hesitate about where i should ride the movements, leading to a lot of late of early transition.
I felt the scoring was rather harsh, a lot of 4s and we ended up with 44, but everyone was in the same position, so hey ho!

After a long wait, we made our way down to the Show Jumping, where Mally warmed up like a lunatic! I think I anticipate her firing herself at the fence, so slow her down too much which makes her fire even more.
Some of the kids I teach had come to watch, so they gave me some advice (steer and kick!) and crossed their fingers tightly!
Mally went into the ring and jumped ok, if rather out of control! As we approached 6, which she had already spooked at and I had seen a couple stop at, I booted her instead of steadied slightly, so she had an awkward jump and took the rail off. Jumped the last few slightly better to finish on 4 faults.

A quick change and down to the XC warm up, which was tiny and absolutely rammed with horses! So I took her to the now empty Dressage warm up and had a blast to open her up a bit, then popped the practice fence and went into the start box.
Managed to time our start perfectly (for once!) and she leapt out the box and over the first, jumped the second well and then went very wobbly and green at the third, but jumped it well with some 'vocal' encouragement. 4 was a tiny house which I don't think she noticed until she was almost over it and down to a step at 5, which had a horrible approach. It was really steep and narrow and it confused mally for a few moments, but she went down in the end and didn't hesitate at the actual fence.
6 was a small flower box that she flew and then round to 7 which was a large drop in the woods, dropped back to trot and she popped off neatly.
She stormed around most of the rest of the course, had a slight hesitation at 9, which was a hedge in the shade and almost ground to a halt but went after a hefty boot! Even jumped the ditch at 12 which I think caused a few issues (Boy was I glad we went ditch schooling the other day!), the flew the last bit of the course with no problems at all! In fact the biggest issue we had on the course was her spooking at the fences in the other classes!!

Despite the fact I felt she flew round, she ended up with 42 (!!) time penalities, however I was happy with the speed we went at and wouldn't have wanted to go any faster and potentially scare her. So although th results don't necessarily look great, I was really pleased with her. I felt her Dressage was better and her SJ was confident (maybe a little too confident!), the XC was a big ask, this was the first time she had jumped a course without schooling around first, and I felt she really stepped up to the mark and by the end of the round was full of confidence.

So she is going to have a quiet couple of weeks, mainly hacking and then I want to get out and do some 90cm SJ so I can get over my SJ nerves! Then it's the EHOA camp in July and hopefully Stafford BE90 a couple of weeks after that!