Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Next Step

This weekend was a big one for us as we finally got to take the next step and move up to the Intermediate division . I have not jumped in an Intermediate class in five years after 30 years at the Advanced level.It was a big deal for me.

Peter Pan and Next Dance had to go without our fearless leader Pickles. God,we miss him. He kept our stable together with his all knowing eye and his quiet way. But he was there in spirit. I have not written much about Riverdance lately but want everyone to know that he is filling Pickles spot and is Jumping to the top of my standards weekly here at Paradise. Having him here is helping my eye and filling me with courage and confidence that I really can ride at this level again. The old grey mare ain't dead yet. I am an extremely lucky person to have been able to jump so many fine horses, all of whom have been made from scratch. Though there have been many ups and downs along the way, I am feeling great about the journey so far and I am thinking I may make it back one day to the "A" word now after this weekend.

What a luxury to get back to a large dressage arena. There is so much more room and the horses love it. Harry went first. He warmed up like a dream and I got all mushy and soft which kicked me in the you know where by the time my test was over. Our trot work was exemplary. Smooth and flowing, Harry felt like a big boy. Then came the long extended walk across the arena, followed very cleverly by the medium collected....wait.....wait......wait..........canter. KABOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!

We exploded into a very over exuberant mess of hundreds of thousands of single tempi changes, complete with foot stomping squealing on Harry's part as I INSISTED That he do what I told him. (Guess who won?) NOT ME!!!!! Both canters were a disaster as harry checked out big time. He is very sweet and sensitive and then thought he was in trouble(He was!!!!!)

I looked Brian Ross in the eye after my final salute and cringed and went out of the ring with my tail deeply squished between my legs! UGH!!!!!!!!! We ran the gamut with the scores. Lot's of 7's,8's and 3's!

I thought, I'd better fix this now and went back to the warm up and put Harry into the canter again and buried his head between his legs and asked for about 20 transitions. Then the counter canters , then the simple changes. Poof. Magic. Once again, God hit me in the head and said "WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO LEARN NOT TO LET YOUR GUARD DOWN???? WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO RIDE?" I SWEAR , I'll try and get it right next time. I let my guard down , cross country with Handsome Harry the softee in Florida, which was VERY costly.I did it again in the dressage this weekend. OK.....NO MORE!!!!!!GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.Time for me to get it together.

Peter was more on the job. HE ALWAYS has a few special tricks to play, so I am much less apt to let my guard down and get mushy. Riding Peter is like sitting on an atom bomb wrapped in C-4 explosive. He can go in any direction at any time. He also warmed up rather well and only decided to have one explosion leaving the collecting ring to enter the MAGNIFICENT main arena.

I am very happy to report Peter did not drop any bombs in front of our Judge Brian Ross. One never gets a second chance to make a first impression and Brian has a VERY good memory! He is a popular judge that shows up in the most important places , so it's best to mind ones P's and Q's around Mr. Ross!

OK we lived through our first Intermediate Dressage. Peter was actually 5th and Harry 12th.

XC was a GAS. Harry went first and clocked around. I was conservative and careful. We had I think 6 time faults. I was very happy with that. The ambulance was parked in a surprise place right in front of our first combination. It was right on the line I wanted to approach the A element. So I chose to go a bit wide. I think I wasted a few seconds there. But not important. Harry was very true to the skinneys and various questions and galloped in an improved balance from our last outing. Progress.

Peter BUSTED out of the box and was on go.Only 2.8 time penalties and moved up to fourth place. Unbelievable. He is crazy agile.

The horses were not phased by the bigger fences or the large drop into the second water.They were fit and relaxed and right on track. We were elated.

Show Jumping was great. A terrific track by Jan Brodkin. The jumps were big and wide but her tracks are always fair and honest.

I was a little nervous and over rode Harry.I had two rails.He finished 9th. Peter had one rail and finished third!Amazing.

Overall,we could not have been happier. The devils were ready for this next step in their careers.They were confident and happy to do the job.I can work on my blips and issues.There will always be those.

We can't wait for the next one. Stay tuned!