But first, we went to a schooling jumper show. Taco was beyond ecstatic. Instead of shipping to the vet, or the boring indoor arena, or even to a clinic at Southern Promise, we went to a SHOW! His jumping was extremely enthusiastic, and he never came near a rail all day.
|Our first ribbon for 2 years!|
Chatt Hills was two weeks later. We went down to visit our friend Lynda at Run For It Farm on the Sunday before the event, so I could do some work in Atlanta. We had a great time riding together!
I also send a shout out to Kim Keeton, DVM-- she has been a friend for some years but I never have had the pleasure of watching her in action as a talented and hardworking sport horse vet. She gave Taco a thorough checkup and helped make sure he was ready and able to event-- and she also reassured me afterward that his tendon remained cool and tight.
We arrived at the event at the tail end of a torrential downpour and settled into one of the coveted end stalls.
We had a very nice flatwork session in one of the rather wet warmup arenas-- very civilized and professional. I had visions of pulling down one of the below-30 scores that we've occasionally achieved in the past. Watch out, world! Then we walked the Novice course. I began to get a little worried. The jumps looked a little too small to get Taco's attention. But then I thought about what a nice time I would have cantering around easily with my best buddy.
The morning came and I successfully braided his wild mane. I tacked him up with my new fancy dressage pad and sparkling boots (how I got them that way shall remain a secret). Feeling like a hotshot, I hacked down to dressage. Taco's back!!!
Yep, Taco was back. My 17-year old veteran proceeded to get hotter and hotter in the warmup and spooked at more and more random things. This was not what I remembered from the last time we showed! Amy tried to help me, but the busyness of the warmup was a little bit too much for my made horse to handle. So we just stopped warming up and waited for my ride time.
The test was OK. Besides some head-tossing, it's hard to tell that I was sitting on a powder keg.
Then it was time for cross country. I was a little worried about getting down to the warmup, since hacking can be a little interesting when Taco is having a bouncy day. But it was not problem! We hacked down like it was nothing. I was very happy I had survived what I thought might be the toughest part of my day.
Then it was time to warm up. And I just about got run away with. The mild bit I had did very, very little to curb Taco's speed. And he was jumping sideways every time a horse passed him. I was apologizing to the pros on their greenies every time we toured the warmup area. Amy came to the rescue and actually managed to convince me to jump a few things before going to the start box. And then we were off! At 470 mpm. This was the speed I managed to negotiate: Taco wanted 570 and I wanted 400. I'm not super fit, either, so I had to dig deep. And the jumps did not help slow him down one bit.
We pulled up, me out of breath and him happy with his "warmup" and ready to run Prelim. He was very, very pumped so hacking back to the barn was a problem. In lieu of getting tossed off, I decided to hand walk him back. We got back to the barn and I was totally pooped while he was pleasantly refreshed.
So all in all it was a good day!
Showjumping day went well too. I changed to a slightly less mild bit, which helped slightly. As I warmed him up, I noticed how good he felt-- like he hadn't worked hard at all the day before (because he hadn't). When we started jumping in warmup he got pumped again, jumped sideways away from the other horses, and generally carried on. But again, I survived, and he was jumping great. My job was just to manage his energy and keep it focused in the right place. We went in to jump a pretty nice round, if I may say so myself. I made one glaring error in the second line-- mostly because I allowed him to take over for a minute and then jumped ahead-- making him hit a rail. But not too bad.
Basking in our glory (Taco was certain that he was champion of the whole event), we went back to Run For it Farm for the week. We had a lovely, relaxing hack and did some easy flatwork.
|Run For It Farm|
Next stop: MayDaze and our return to Training Level!