It was insane. Tents were blowing over, trash cans were attacking ponies, jumps couldn't stay upright for people to finish their courses and visibility would reduce to near zero.
It was nuts.
|Ring Crew worked overtime.. holy lord.|
And yet, I was certain showing was a great idea.
It was a decent idea... mostly because I rode my first set of courses early before full haboob-ery and Prair was lovely. I've already lost some of the details, but nothing bad enough happened to stick out in my mind to remember the different courses. The big trickery was that there was a bending line (to be clear I mean trickery in terms of low-level-hunter-trickery) that was set for 7 strides. It rode reeeallllly long our first course and it felt like Prair launched from about 42 feet away in order to not add in an extra stride.
The second time we rode it, I really rode up (and more direct) and we still superman-ed out. The third time we rode it we measured the distance well, but it felt like we were gunning for it at about 500mpm. The rest of the course was fine. we nailed it.
Judge didn't love us however and didn't use us for any of the ribbons (wah waaaaah), though it was a 45 person division so I knew it was going to take a perferctly-perfect trip to even get close to satin.
The hack was boring, Prair was stressed beyond measure since we all hacked together and they only opened the outside lines (not the quarterlines) so it was an (absurd) exercise in merging trying to stuff everyone through the standards down each long side. Not our strong suit, but we squeaked out a 4th.
In the afternoon (and the haboob), we went back (not sure why) for our Eq division. It was in the same ring, with the same 3 courses (and the same damn bending line) so I had a good game plan (kick) for our rides (kick, kick, kick).
Apparently most people thought a desert windstorm was a good reason to not test the patience of their 2' ammy horses, so the division dwindled to 8 of us (lol). Prair was a total stud given she had to close her eyeballs to keep the dust out, and we managed to get up the lines in a much smoother fashion. Though during our second course a huge gust of wind came up and it literally felt like we were being blown backwards. I have never felt such an insane headwind while riding. It was truly confusing.
Anyway, Prair totally held it together, and since almost everyone else had some fairly large mistakes, we managed to win all the rounds, and then squeaked out a win on the flat.
Which means, DRUMROLL - we have obtained a cooler from HITS 2015.
Very happy about that. Although slightly disappointed that it is the exact same cooler from last year.
I know, I know... don't complain about coolers, but seriously HITS, pick a new color of polar fleece, or embroider the year on there or SOMETHING.
Obtaining a cooler proved to be quite timely because today, the Haboob was gone and the biblical rainstorms started.
It was cold. It was muddy, and it was really, really wet.
Bear in mind I live in Seattle. Where we are pretty much always in the rain. And this, this was so much worse. So when it was time for the mile long march to the ring this morning for our 2'6" Hunters, I swaddled Prair and I up in the cooler and headed out into the storm.
Apparently a good number of Californians scratch when it rains, so our division dropped to 28 and the ring ran really, really fast. Prair and I were the last to ride and we still went a full 90 minutes before we had been signed up for.
I wasn't complaining though, since everything was slop getting sloppier and going earlier cut down on waiting in the rain.
Our biggest challenge to the day was that we were scheduled in the far ring which runs next to the highway with buses and trucks zooming by at 55 mph. Prair did not enjoy that experience earlier in the week and I figured the added splooshing of puddles probably wouldn't endear her to the truck traffic any more.
We started well, though she was a tad backed off the pace (I think because the footing was slick?) but we had a lovely first fence going away which brought up the outside (by the road) line coming home. I felt Prair lock onto a truck on the road and then when she realized there were jumps to be jumped she just sorta... stopped. She didn't spook, she didn't invert, she just.... downshifted and was not open to negotiation about it which was a very new feeling for me.
I circled, dialed down our pace a bit and we finished the course adding in the lines which felt like the right move at the time.
We went right back in and had a great course, though I nearly jumped the wrong first fence. I was so focused on establishing our pace that I failed to notice that there were two single fences set on the diagonal. Fortunately N shouted "PINK!!!! PINK FLOWERS" with just enough time for me to zigzag away from the yellow flowers and get rolling... the rest of the course was rock solid and even our changes were clean. The third course was hands down the best trip of the week and I was so, so pleased with the mare. We (somehow) nabbed a 7th in our second round and a very respectable 3rd in our final trip. The flat was fine, most people skipped it (there were maybe 10 of us?) Prair was reasonably calm, but she kept "jumping" the flat spots where the jumps had been so we sorta skipped around the ring. We managed a 2nd in the hack behind a really lovely chubby hunter we see a lot at home and that was officially the end of HITS Thermal week 6.
Well, aside from some obligatory shopping (new spurs.. and I'm flirting with a new huntcoat? I'm thinking dark green could look sharp on Prair...)
But we're done. I'm feeling like a more effective rider over the 2'6" fences than the 2' stuff, but I think I'll probably stay low again next week in the name of saving Prair's legs and taking it easy on her LF.
I did get suckered into a pair of those ice vibe boots, which actually sound pretty cool. They sound handy for Prair's little legs, so I'll be sure to do a full report once I've got my hot little hands on them.
Two days off then back to it for one more week!!
|All my loves.|