The new strategy was to step Winds a bit more forward, carry him in a higher frame and make a point of really pushing forward over the jumps - not just softening at the fence.
The more supportive ride changed EVERYTHING. Not one swap. Or maybe one swap... I can't remember now, but essentially a 100% turn around so I was thrilled.
|I mean. The Best.|
I'm going to put all four rounds down, because... I have them. But they are all pretty much the same. Cute horse, jumping cute jumps with cute ears.
So much cute.
This ended up being a 5th place round out of 65
That second Low round snagged a 3rd! Out of 65!! So I was thrilled
Then we moved to the PG rounds:
Which I think looked, pretty much the same as the Lows... maybe a tad less brilliant over the jumps since he wasn't so impressed.. But he was chill and forward and held his leads..
Finally, the last round was also lovely and smooth and abated my fears that my horses is totally broken.
So, You can imagine, that after pinning so well in the Low rounds (against all the PG horses, and other 3' horses warming up...) when we got NOT ONE RIBBON in the Pre Greens.
Don Stewart was judging, and I know Windsor is not his perfect Hunter type, so I can understand that in a big, competitive class that will happen - but I'm surprised he used him so well in the Low's against the same horses and not at all later on.
But that is the definition of horse showing (in the Hunters...)
Finally, I had spied on the schedule that the 2'6" open division was showing in the big pretty grass field. So, since I was still a bit unsure what I'd be showing in, I asked if I could enter for the extra experience, but really I just wanted to show in the big pretty ring.
Winds was not totally thrilled with coming out of his stall (again), but he reluctantly warmed up and politely popped over some fences.
Windsor picked up *a lot* in the ring and all the sudden a I had a big, uphill, open step that felt AWESOME. We had a nice first fence (though a tad quiet) and then as I boldly stepped up to the Judge's line, he popped up and out and said "no thank you" to the blue wisteria draped over the jumps.
I was caught off guard and circled and re presented, only to have him stop a second time which really passed me off.
The third time I really sat and held him and gave him the full eventer-on-task ride that popped us over. I rode tight to the oxer out (same damn flowers) but once we were clear of it, we were golden. The rest of the round was tidy and it became apparent that I'm really starting to be able to feel where I am in the lines on him. I can gauge where I am and don't have to wait so long to know if I need to move up or wait... last week I had NO idea where I was, and couldn't really tell how big a step we were on. I'm definitely getting a better sense of the horse and how he goes which makes me feel competent.
The second round was the most fun I've ever had showing. Winds was bright but not tuned out, and I just really enjoyed the big open space of the field and having some time to think about things between fences.
It was by no means the most beautiful round I've ever ridden, but I had a TON of fun and it was enough to snag 3rd in a large open class with a lot of trainers on some lovely horses....
With that round some of my PTSD from Prair really started to fade. I started trusting Windsor being up in front of my leg and moving up to the longer distances suddenly didn't look like a bad idea.
Plus - the really good news was that since I didn't totally make horrible choices, Trainer let me enter the 2'9" for the weekend - which means... MORE rounds in the field!
Standby for fun!