19. November 2011 16:57
While sitting on the couch sipping my coffee and contemplating how cold it will be outside with the fresh blanket of snow, it occurred to me that updating the blog would be a great way to put off having to find out just how cold it is! That and the friendly nudges I had from friends last night to update the website;) I have mixed feelings about Galway; I'm happy that I went, proud of how Secret handled everything, frustrated with my riding, grateful to be home with a sound, healthy horse and my back none worse for the wear, and filled with a renewed determination to be better the next time. We were lucky to do dressage on thursday in perfect weather and dry footing. Our test was good, but had one major mistake and could have been better ( of course, it can always be better!). Our score of 52.8 put us in 14th place out of 41 starters after dressage with the leader on a 47.5. Friday brought rain, and a lot of it. I was sure it would clear off, we were in CA after all, but no, it persisted ALL day. I finally gave up and bought a rain coat and rubber boots because of course I didn't pack any rain gear. There were plenty of concerns about how the footing on XC would be the next day but considering the course building team is usually up all night watering the track the night before XC to make it right, I wasn't too terribly concerned. Of course along with not packing rain gear, I also made the decision while at home not to have Secrets shoes drilled and tapped because who uses studs in CA? Well, probably 90% of the riders used studs this time. There was a line of horses waiting to get drilled and tapped the morning of XC. I did look into joining that line but ran out of time with my early ride time. The footing felt great aside from where we ran through the show jump ring and I just took it easy there. Secret was great XC, he felt super in his gallop, never felt tired and handled all the technical questions well. Our stop was at the first water; a large cabin set in the shadows at the edge of the water. It caused several problems early on which I was not aware of as I went out. I didn't give him enough time to see and understand the question and I also should have given him a little encouragement off the ground to make sure he left the ground. How many times have a replayed that 10 seconds in my head?....too many to count. It seems like I have enough experience to not be making silly mistakes like that but I guess that's the thing with this sport, you let your guard down for a second and you learn a lesson in humility. I need to improve my focus and concentration on course so I can ride more effectively. On the positive side, Secret finished confidently, jogged up great that night and the next morning, and felt fresh when I got on to SJ. Our show jumping was not our prettiest round, he got better as he went but had 2 early rails before we found a rhythm and got focused. So, lots to work on over the winter! Right now Secret is enjoying a holiday playing in the field with his 3 buddies. I was also glad to be at Galway to watch the 3* run, it was amazing to have 40 horses in the 3* the second year it has run. Some great horse and rider pairs came from the east coast and seemed impressed by the venue and by Ian Starks XC course. It was very challenging track with plenty of places that a lapse in concentration could get you in trouble. For some it rode beautifully, but there were a large number of problems spread through out the course. Riding forward in a balance was rewarded while being under paced or overly aggressive got you into trouble. I have to comment on how impressive James Alliston was throughout the weekend, all four FEI horses had double clear XC and while they were all different types of horses, he gave each one just the right ride that he needed. Congrats to him and his team on an amazing weekend.
That's all for now, time to go teach. We are having a ladies fun clinic here this weekend with myself teaching a group of ladies that want to learn while spending time with friends on horseback and over drinks and good food!
18. October 2011 05:56
After much consideration, I made the decision to make the trek to CA for Galway in November. Although there is a CCI* in the spring at Twin Rivers, it makes more sense to me to do it at the end of the season when Secret is fit from running all year. He is healthy, so am I, and we're feeling great together, so, time to take a shot at it. I decided to leave Gogo behind; he's had a great season and finished with winning the training championships at NW. He's only 5 and did three trainings this year, finishing on his dressage score at all three and was 1st, 2nd (behind Rimsky), and 1st, so I think he's earned a break! I will now spend the next few weeks obsessing over Secrets legs, fitness program, and wondering what details I've forgotten to organize, or what fences I've forgotten to educate him about. Let the three day stress begin!
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