We had a beautiful weekend at Poplar. The nights were cool but the days were perfect for the horses and not too hot for us either! The ground held up remarkably well after Georgia had been hit with so much rain. Poplar had made great efforts to provide footing where needed and the cross country track was open for galloping.
I hadn't competed at Poplar in a while, and was surprised to find the tracks very different this time. A lot of thought and effort went into this event that hosted seven different levels of competition, from Beginner novice to FEI two star level! Not easy to do!Poplar has a great team of volunteers. I am sure everyone is exausted after the weekend!
The devils were unsettled this weekend if I were to pick one word to describe it all. Pickles kept a much improved shape in the dressage. Huge progress is on the way but his nerves got him and he was clamped up like a clam in the ring.We are still looking for relaxation and flow from our boy. It's almost there!He hates the small arena. Looking forward to the big arena next season!He jumped two double clears so was a star.I was glad to ride him first in the xc as there was a big combination on that I wanted to get under my belt properly before riding the two less experience devils. It was a tentlike table, four strides to a large set of rails that sloped away to a considerable drop. I thought it a serious question and did not want to make an error there. Pickles gave me just the right ride so I felt better about it on rounds two and three.
Peter did not handle the dressage warm arena well at all. He was extremely stressed by the large number of horses crossing all over the place. I seriously wonder if anyone teaches their students to pass left to left in the ring anymore. It would make a big difference if everyone knew that concept. I think it is very important and could prevent a few problems in the warm up and really help the horses. Peters dressage was not his usual. I felt I had to be on guard rather than ride his usual flowing test. He was definately very distracted mentally. I thought the judge very generous to put us tied for 3rd. I had two very off moments, one I got distracted in my rein back as a bell went off and I thought it was telling me I was off course , so I did too many steps as I was looking at the judge. Then he gave me a leap in the canter transition from the walk. So to finish third was a blessing. The standard of dressage is good now. One cannot afford to make silly errors and give points away. I seemed to do that a lot this weekend. Peter handled the XC well, I was surprised to have been alotted time penalties, as I had two watches running that put me in under the time, but not to worry. He gave me a solid ride and that was good enough. In the show jumping he was distracted again by a rather busy warm up and I pulled two rails which dropped us to 9th. I felt rushed in there and not at all soft. I did not ride the way I wanted to at all. Again dissapointement. But........ Can't have it perfect all the time! I am going to try though!
Harry (Next Dance) was also a bit put off by the confusion of the dressage warm up and wasn't happy in his test. He can be sensitive sometimes. So we had a little tension and finsished 7th I think after dressage. He pulled and slipped XC more than the others which did give me 4 time faults(that I totally agree with). Harry likes to gallop really low,is a great jumper but its a bit off putting sometimes. He was also rattled in the SJ and I had an uncharacteristic rail at a lovely oxer that was another dissapointment plus time penalties. He finished the best of the devils in 7th place.
I have had a great season with the devils. I left the show jumping ring full of self doubt and over analizations.Maybe I should have done this and that,everything is my fault,blah blah,blah.Everyone does that.
The important thing is to remember how lucky I am to be able to ride these wonderful horses. I still say eventing is like going to war. One never knows what will happen and you have to be prepared and fight to get out alive! The horses gave me what they had this weekend. It was good enough. Of course I would have liked to have placed higher at the end of the day. But I have three solid citizens out there in the field today after the event and that is what is important. Having the bobbles ,the nerves and the rails is part of it.Take it or leave it. I am going to take it.
I did make a call to get some show jumping lessons this week though.Its been almost a year since I've had any!So it's back to the drawing board. Stay tuned.Thankyou Poplar Place for hosting a great event!