We left for the event at 4 am on Thursday morning. The trip was rather uneventful and smooth sailing for the most part. Until I got off of the exit ramp in Tallahassee. You see there was a large green sign at the top of the ramp that said "Horse Trials" with a large white arrow pointing to the left, so I went left, naturally. Now not only did I decide to go left due to the large green sign but also because there were several other horse trailers that were of the likes of John Holling and such, going to the left as well. A whopping 30 min later I finally found the freakin' place! I was within 4 miles of the event and I did probably 5 Uturns and drove up and down the same rode at least 3 times to look for these roads that are not to the left off the ramp but to the right....damn sign. Later I found out that if you go to the left then the roads all end up connecting behind the large bridge...gah. Bonnie, who drives this massive trailer with her truck (that is circa 1810 mind you) and can only go 70 mph max beat me to the event by a solid 40 min. I hate getting lost and being late! Anywho, we got there and unloaded the ponies, rode, and went off the the competitors party which was feeding us Bonefish, yum!
Dressage day was good. Vaughn was a little up with all the atmosphere as this was the first event that we have been to this year that has had "that show" feeling. The Advanced h.t. horses had to do the Advanced test B which in my opinion is the harder of the two horse trials test. Bonnie and I have been working on his ride ability in the arena and allowing the softness to show up through out the test. Brian seemed to like the direction that we were heading. Vaughn got a little up in the canter work but had clean changes and was rather obedient. My understanding of how he needs to be ridden in the dressage is finally starting to develop. He is not the biggest mover but very correct and has his share of cadence in the arena. We still have a fair amount of things to work on the polish up the test so watch out Brian! Vaunted ended up 2nd in the division just 2.5 points behind Buck's My Boy Bobby. All in all not bad for the first performance of that test.
On XC day I was the first out of the group. The course was challenging and I was really looking forward to having to jump through the crowds and questions. No question was to hard but the course definitely made you pay attention and hold a line. I was particularly worried about 2 main combinations. The double corners 6 strides to a large ditch and wall and a quick turn to the left to the 2nd water complex. The second water was a rather tall and long bounce in to a bending 4 stride line to a tall triple brush skinny out. People were talking about all sorts of lines and numbers in there. I know Vaughn and I knew that if I could get a good jump in and a good first stride and show him the flags he would go...but non the less I did have to make sure that I gave him a fair shot. I left the start box and he was SO ON!! He jumped the double corners so well I am pretty sure he could have done it without me and the water complex was done practically on a loose rein. This horse is a machine out on XC. He was good on the time and that course is NOT easy to make the time on. After the last water we had 2 fly fences which I was wanting to use as a test for myself. You see I have been working on seeing my distance farther out. I can usually see it 4 strides out but 7 is now my desired number. I changed Vaughn's balance and counted out loud starting and saw both fences 7 out. Sweet. Then you ran down a hill and went to the next to last jump and it was two cabins four strides turning to the left. I just never shortened his stride enough. He came down there on to much of an open step, jumped to far into the combo, landed slipped on the turn and got to the fence on a half step...there was no way for him to jump it...he did try though...this horse is a freak of nature. He is so honest someone should really nominate him for saint hood...he's nuts. I am fairly certain that he did not fall as I landed with the reins in my left hand and my hand was above my head leading me to believe that his head was then higher than the ground.....but I guess it happened so fast and it was the second to last jump so no one was there really to see it. Thank goodness cause I made a rookie mistake. A mistake that I know better than to make. I had such ride ability throughout the rest of the course that I took it for granted. I will not allow myself that freedom ever again. He jumped up as did I and both without even a hint of a scratch...not even a real dirt mark. So that is the good news.
The other good news is that as I was taking the long walk home I passed all the 3* riders. They all said "what happened you looked great?!?" I said (to all of them mind you I had to tell the story uhgg ) that i jumped in to big to the last combination and slipped in the turn and got there on a half step. Will Coleman came up to me later and said, "hey thanks man, I thought of you coming down to those cabins and almost did the same thing...I owe you one dude!" Well your welcome Coleman, glad I could help, no really I am.
I must say that even though my weekend did not turn out as well as it had started I know that it was a fairly good run. The horse jumped amazing and I made a mistake, that's all it was a mistake by me in the point two seconds that it happened. So that is very fixable. Also I know that we are on track which is comforting a month and a half out of Rolex. The horse answered all the questions and did it without even a second thought. I gave him a big pat and thanked him for all he does for me and I can only hope that is some horse way he understands. I then told him that if he does want to be naughty for the next couple of days when I ride him he is allowed to be...but only a couple. :)
I put in some candid's from Red Hills. The moon as we were driving, it was kind of creepy looking, Bonnie getting interviewed on Murry (what a ham he is), and that damn sign that confused the crap out of me!
We have allot of campers in for the week at Point Above Farm south this week. It is spring break for allot of kids...so I am sure they will do something note worthy that I will have to explain about in great detail!!
Until next time, go thank your horse
Until next time, go thank your horse