Then I got on for a 2' Hunter Division. We had 4 courses and a flat. The first round was GLORIOUS. Just absolutely glorious. I was ready for some anxiety and rushing, but Prair just felt lovely. Her back is strong enough now that she can carry a much higher balance and I'm learning that if I really stay forward over the tack and keep my hip closed - Prair stays more confident.
As soon as I drop back or open my hip, Prair gets a tad braced and wants to scoot. So forward it is. My thighs are very aware of the difference....
Our second round, both of our changes to the right lead were late, which is a ghost of Christmas past, but the jumps and lines were lovely so I was thrilled. Our final round we fixed the changes and did ok again.
I don't know if it's because everyone is starting off the second half of the circuit in conservative divisions or what, but the caliber of horses was NUTS. Totally gorgeous movers, with pretty jumps and auto changes. Last year I wasn't so swarmed by gorgeous ponies, but the increased competition is sort of fun.
Our first round was good enough for a 4th (out of 25), and our last round managed a 6th. The late changes were a big enough mistake to keep us out of the ribbons in such good company for the two middle trips, but that's okay. We managed a 4th in the under saddle which was a compliment given who was in the ring and the fact that Prair thought she was being chased by a herd of wildebeest.
All in all, I finished the day impressed with how chill the mare was. We're walking to and from the barn (which is in BFN) on the buckle and relaxed. She's so much more comfortable it's insane. I'm especially pleased given the fact that she's been living in a stall and an indoor since July.
Saturday we had two divisions - a 2'3" Hunter and a 2' Eq. The 2'3" Hunter is not very memorable (no videos since The Boy was camped at the barn with the baby..) but I remember struggling with our leads again. We had three courses, the first two we were out of the ribbons but we won the last round out of 22. The hack was a tad brutal, but again - 4th.
|Picking out her pony|
Now normally I'm the first to acknowledge that there is always someone better than me on the flat, but seriously - I'm pretty sure I won that class. Prair was a star and even though the judge was a tad odd (called for lengthenings in a 2' class????) I was confused by the pinning. I did get on her bad side when as we entered the ring I pulled my number to the outside and she snapped at me saying "DO NOT DO THAT." I apologized and said I thought they preferred it, and she said "ABOSULTELY NOT, IT'S OBNOXIOUS"
Not sure how you recover from that, but whatevs. The 3rd kept us Reserve, though I was a little grumpy that the 4 point difference is what lost us the cooler. wah. No matter though, still super impressed with how we're going.
|The Baby got Guacamole (and my phone) I got a margarita the size of my torso.|
Prair was her best in the hack and she really stayed relaxed and calm the entire time. I was able to float the reins without losing her shape and she felt lovely - so I was a tad surprised to pin 6th, but in talking with N - I wonder how much of it is due to her big, heavy egg bar steel shoes. I sorta feel like she's trying to float in ski boots while everyone else is in ballet slippers. She's definitely not quite as flat in the knee, but all in all she feels 100% more relaxed and happy in her work... oh and sound. She feels sound, so I don't really care about the hacks. (slight lie, I miss winning them, but I'm ok with it).
Oksy, sorry for the boring recap, next week I'm really going to try to post daily so I have slightly more interesting observations than "line.. diagonal... ,line... missed change... line" But for now I'm tired, and the glass (cough, bottle) of wine I'm nursing isn't exactly making my thoughts more cogent.
To sum up, I'm over the moon. It's so fun to feel like your horse is enjoying their job and to be at the point where I'm worried about a single change and not running out of the arena feels like a victory. Hell, after 6 months of rehab, just feeling good and sound is something to celebrate.
Week V down, back soon with Week VI.
|The Boy has been busy taking baby pics instead of Prair pics.. so here's another.|