This past weekend’s combined training event was brought to you by the word MUD. As in all over my horse, all over my boots, in my mouth, on my outfit, you name it. MUD. There was loads of it!
It rained all day on Friday. Creeks were overflowing, water was standing everywhere and I was sure the CT would be cancelled. Nope it wasn’t.
I hem and haw about things but usually once I commit I go to these things. So I got up at 530 a.m. on Saturday (at least the rain had stopped!) and loaded my truck and went to the barn to get my steed and trailer. I had gone out the night before to try to pretty him up (thank goodness my horse is dirt colored it helps) but he was wet (even though he had a sheet on all day) and just wanted to eat his hay so I swapped him a warmer sheet and had thought I would brush him in the a.m.
He had dried over night so while he ate his piddly amount of grain (With the other horses staring angrily at Remus for getting his food so early) I brushed and cleaned him as much as I could. Threw his dressage saddle on and then his warm honeycomb sheet and loaded him so he could start eating his breakfast hay, then went back and loaded the rest of my stuff. I have no dressing room in my trailer (Intentional due to my truck not being the most powerful engine so I got a lightweight trailer hence no dressing room) so my truck was full enough I couldn’t have picked up a hitchhiker if I had wanted to 🙂 And one saddle was on him already! I must figure out how to not take so much crap since I look like the Beverly Hillbillies by the time I get on the road!
Off we went. It was barely light out by the time I loaded Remus and think he thought I might be batshit crazy at this point, but there was hay so he shrugged his shoulders and continued eating.
It was downright chilly that a.m. too, I had heated seats and heat blasting all the way there. Once I got there I parked (parking is a huge issue there so I got there hella early for that reason) and left Remus chowing in the trailer while I went to sign in and get our number. They let you choose your number so I got #13 per normal!
It was still downright nippy out there with the wind blowing but the mud was so bad I was glad the wind was blowing so hard I was hoping it would dry up more. The dressage ring has great footing and it was wet but not sloppy but the jump ring was all water (Though still safe). I was worried how Remus would react to both footings. He surprised me in the jumping (pretty darn good) not the dressage.
I got on and went to warm up in the indoor. The indoor there is so tiny Remus really does not like it. I also forgot to wear my spurs (ARGH) and so had no horse at all. I didn’t have time to run up and get them at the trailer so I was like oh well such is life. We went up to the outdoor ring for dressage and the judge was like are you ready to go (I wasn’t but the person scheduled before me was nowhere to be seen). So I said of course sure.
The minute I walked into that ring I realized not only did I have no forward horse but I had a very timid horse worried about the footing. He tiptoed around like he was walking on glass. The first direction was horrible, he was above the vertical and just not paying much attention to me at all. Once we reversed he settled in a bit and was much more forward (Though not forward enough) and at least listening to the bit and giving a bit and looking more like the dressage pony he can be. ACROSS THE DIAGONAL HE STOPPED TO ITCH. I shit you not. And we got a 7 so he is finally getting his walk BUT DAMN HORSE…really? He didn’t stop long but I was like giggling omg. His last canter he really did not like the footing and bucked up a bit. So when the judge talked to us her first words were, you guys are sure harmonious together but you need to gel it a bit more. I laughed out loud. Then she said if you can get the left way to look like the right way it would be great. Anyway she was very nice and very encouraging. But I was embarrassed because I know we can do better. NOTE TO SELF: Spurs are a must for dressage. Live and learn!
My friend Tanya was a bit later from me going in dressage (Same division) so I went up to change to jump saddle and then waited to watch her warm up and go before trekking up to the jump ring (it is very very far and up and down huge hills). Moo is so cute (token photo below)
Moo went and had a very consistent test in my opinion. He is just learning to carry himself and he has come far. I think his test was better than Remus even tho the scores didn’t show that. I think Remus has fancy moments of brilliance that shock the judges into giving us better scores.
We then got Moo changed and went up to the jump ring for our jumping. It was my first time seeing that ring and my first thought was oh my god that is a lot of water. My second thought was oh shit I don’t want to fall off. (Actually that may have been my first thought)! I looked at the course and it was pretty straight forward except for one tight turn which I noted to myself to stay alert for and then promptly forgot till we got off of fence 7 and I realized I had to rock back in mud and almost do a turn on the haunches to get Remus in the right direction (Yes rocket scientist I am not ).
Bless my buckskin’s heart though he was on fire in that jump ring. Mud, slop whatever (he usually hates it) he was good as gold and went clean. A couple of the jumps he hesitated a tiny bit at the footing up to it, but never even tried to stop. (5 and 9 were the same jumps going different ways and there was so much muck and water on each side he really side eyed that but never even made a move to stop). I knew by us going clean it would eat up some of the loss on our horrible dressage test! The good thing about Remus if I can keep him moving and straight, we often move up due to his steadiness. The darn dressage will come one day I hope but the jumping is finally working better!
Moo then went and Tanya has worked her heart out on him getting him braver to the jumps. She had one rail and one refusal but the old Moo would have been disqualified so she was thrilled. And he jumped all the jumps very well. And he has the cutest knees (I PROMISE to get media next time it was just so gross and we were both riding the same time).
SO we survived. And I didn’t fall off! But I did have mud all over. And OMG Remus was covered with mud.
Imagine my surprise when I went to turn my number in and got a 2nd place ribbon! What the ?? The person who got 1st had a 24 dressage score. So my 35 plus dressage score still helped me stay in 2nd with our clean jump round. It was a pretty big division too. HA if we had had a better dressage test but wait we ain’t never going to be in the 20s so I will take it!
Moral of story: I am so glad I went. It was great fun and they always run a great show. They have a series of these this year, so the next one is in June (check their website out straightupstables.com if you are local to MD/PA/DE!)
The bad news is I have a boatload of tack to clean. Oh and the true bad news is my Tuffrider schooling riding boots bit the dust (One zipper is not working at all). SOB. I had to get Tanya and others help me put my other show ones on they are so tight it was not fun (For them that had to help me get into them either) so I need to buy a new pair. STAT).