After much anticipation ,we made it to Kentucky for Champagne Run.The eight hour drive was well worth it.I haven't been to that event in quite a few years.The cross country course alone made the trip for me as I had hoped.
I did learn though that the next time I travel for eight hours with this batch of horses and most likely all my horses I will go a day earlier to let them settle for a day and then have a work day on the property.I felt the devils had drawn up quite a bit from their trailer journey.I decided not to ride them the afternoon before the dressage on the next day.I do feel that decision had a negative effect on my tests.I was hoping a day off would allow the horses more relaxation the next day.They were sharp and unattentive and I was a bit dissapointed in the way I rode them in the dressage phase.Harry was distracted and Peter was also not connected the way I like him to be.Pickles had a huge nervous breakdown having come down to the dressage area way too early.He stresses tremendously in the small arena and the less time around it the better.It is very hard to get the timing of three horses in the same class just right,especially when the stables are very far away from the arenas.There is tremendous pressure on Barbie my groom to get it all done on time.She does a great job but this time we messed up the timing a bit with disaterous results.
I have learned a lot in my old age.Even though the dressage phase did not go especially well.I was pleased with myself for not getting ragged out about it.I knew the jumping phases were very important at this event asI knew Champagne Run would be a step up in the degree of difficulty for my devils .We trained methodically for this step up and I was not dissapointed.
Three double clears in the show jumping made up for the not so great dressage.Again,I am so happy to be putting my show jumping demons behind me.No matter how awkward Pickles is in the dressage sometimes.He is like putting on my favorite loafers in the show jumping.He has gotten very reliable in there and I have waited for that for a very long time.Next dance gave me the smoothest jumping round I have had in YEARS! And Peter Pan ate up his round though I have a lot of work to do on his front end. Last week in preparation for the event ,we took off the running martingales and it made a world of difference to Peter and Harry (Next Dance).
The cross country course was GREAT FUN!! The ground was good as Kentucky has had lots of rain.We were anticipating very hot waether but it was breezy and pleasant enough.we didn't even hook up our fans in the stables!It helped that I had all three of my rides completed before 9 am!
The jumps across the country were up to size.Lots of brush fences which encourage bold jumping.This course really made one feel you could really ride up and attack the fences and get a solid jump.There were some nice combinations, a bounce,ditch and brush,skinneys and the two water questions were serious enough and the coffin challenging enough to make one ride well!Peter and Harry jumped around this bigger track well.I did not get near the optimum time as I felt it was too much of a push for these youngsters.I did feel I could go for it on Pickles,my final ride and I made two CLASSIC ERRORS!!!!!!!,resulting in TWO STOPS!!!!!!!!!!
I was too confident and made a CARELESS approach to 4a ,a sizable drop question with a house after it.SHEAR CARELESSNESS and over confidence got me my first 20 penalties.Then I balanced Pickles too close to the bounce and he stopped again.It was another rider error and I have to say that one caught me a bit offguard.He zoomed around the rest of the course with ease and I was happy with him none the less.It was a GREAT WAKE UP CALL to this rider to NEVER EVER LET MY GUARD DOWN AGAIN!!!!!Pickles is VERY sensitive and it was MY fault.I can correct it and I am glad I am clear on what I did. Now hopefully I won't make those mistakes again for a while.
Riders NEED to make mistakes and learn from them and try again.Harry finished a credible 7th in his first prelim run and Peter was 8th,Pickles was 14th.
So with Champagne Run behind us we are going to go to River Glen next,then I think back to Kentucky in September AND OCTOBER because of the quality of the cross country courses there.I also feel the my horses can benefit from the big atmosphere of the Kentucky horse Park.It is a longish drive but I feel the track is worth it for the horses.But I would consider going a day earlier next time and see what that does for the devils.
We are happy to be home.I am thrilled with the boys.I am happy to say they are all laid out flat in the fields today,snoring away.Sounds like a good idea to me!