September 26, 2010
I was so thankful to wake up to find that Nova was not a complete mudball, as I arrived home late the night before and didn’t bother to go blanket him in the dark. He was very well behaved up until the point I went into the warmup ring… I don’t blame him for not liking that arena, but holy moly, he was bad. Like, I threatened to sell him for dogfood bad. The arena is an indoor, with the tent-sides, is small compared to what we are used to at home, and it was crowded. After our last lesson on Thursday, I was not surprised that he was ‘full of himself’, but I did expect that he would be at least somewhat responsive to me. I was mistaken. He was very resistant and I’m sure we looked mostly out of control. In an effort to get him to relax and progress a little, I probably spent somewhere between a half an hour and an hour in there – the majority trotting and cantering. I switched him from a his Happy Mouth mullen-mouth bit to a full-cheek French link the other day to get a bit more brakes from him… In the warm up ring, I had more than enough brakes. To the point it was stop and contemplate going up. We actually ended up putting my rope running-martingale back on him just in case. Thankfully he did calm down (but not before we were both super sweaty), and we were able to do some practice jumps before going outside to wait our turn.
This time we entered in the 2’0 and 2’3 hunter classes. As he was so forward that day I was not too worried about a repeat of the ‘OMG boxes!’ of the August show, but as the jumps were a bit higher and the first jump had a straw bale under it, I still had my fingers crossed. Any second thoughts I had were unfounded, as we went in, cantered our circle and went straight up to and over the first jump. The rest was history as he didn’t give any of them a second thought! I was so proud of him (especially considering the large number of refusals during the first round of this division). He was, as predicted, very forward. In the three classes at this level we placed third in Working Hunter and fifth in Handy Hunter, but did not place in the Working Hunter Stake class. I was surprised at our two placings, as there were about 12 people entered.
Video of 2’0: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDa3D4axn7E
Our second division was 2’3, which is the highest we’ve ever shown at. (We have schooled up to 2’6 or higher at home.) After doing the 2’0 class I was totally not worried about this class. The jumps were all the same, just the top bar was raised. Unfortunately we knocked one rail, and smoked another really loudly (way to be subtle Nova, way to be subtle). They were, as always, my fault – I have to keep thinking ‘forward’ and to let him flow. In the videos we never seem to be going as kami-kaze as it seems when I am riding around the course. We’ve also worked on not allowing him to rush towards the fences, so I try to hold him back slightly, which is when Diane tells me to let him go – something I will just have to practice. In this division we received a second in Working Hunter, and fifths in Handy Hunter and Working Hunter Stake. Again, there were approximately 8-9 people in this division. (It is nice to feel slightly justified in the placings – that there were definitely more people entered than ribbons.) You can tell that our last round definitely wasn’t our smoothest – I think by then he was starting to feel the effects of having being a bit dumb earlier in the day and having to work his tush off.
Video of 2’3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRukfNKpoKA
For our last show of the year, I can’t complain with five ribbons out of six classes! Bring on the 2011 show season!