Before I dive on into Sunday’s event recap, I’ll just first apologise to anybody who was hoping for some event day action photos to look at! There was no official photographer on site and I have a handful at best of grainy iPhone photos. I’ll see if I can do better next time around. Of course there’s going to be a next time!
So on that note, how did we go? I screen-shot the online results below – we’re back number 78, right at the bottom. We didn’t exactly come last place, but were pretty close to it due to some pilot errors on cross country! You might notice we were tying for first place after a pretty lovely dressage test and a clear show jumping round, but racked up 40 faults during the cross country which knocked us clean out of the placings.
You might think I’d be disappointed by the dramatic switch up of the leaderboard, but I’m truthfully not. I was thrilled to be sitting in tied first, but was worried that if we went clear on cross country, we might have to step up to the next level too soon for my liking. I like to think that after placing three times in a division it’s time to consider moving up. And considering moving up to training level in the near future scares me a little if we’re being honest.
So the cross country errors are no big deal. I’ll explain what happened out on course though, for sure.
Fence five was a decent corner jump, definitely pushing the boundaries of the most solid fence we’ve jumped in at least 24 months, and so I was slightly distracted by it to say the least. Warming up to go out on course I was mentally preparing for that fence, perhaps even preparing for a run out.
I needn’t have worried though, Oscar cruised up to it and popped over like it was no deal. However, my distraction at the size of the corner meant I hadn’t figured out how I was going to approach or ride fence seven, my personal bogey fence even at the lowest level – a palisade!
Having not figured out how to ride the palisade, I subconsciously opted to just not ride it at all. Oscar is pretty honest, and he’ll cover my ass many times over, but it has been a long time since we’ve seen a palisade and having no support from me, he ended up teetering on the edge of the ditch before stopping. I probably could have pushed him over anyway and tried to get away with having just a hesitation instead of a stop, but oh well. Next time, right? So there’s the first 20 points.
Further on course was another fence I’d forgotten to school prior, and another fence that added 20 points to our finishing score – the skinny!
It was out the back of the course and had a long stretch before and after, meaning a lot of people had picked up pace on this part of the track. The wiser riders obviously slowed down for this, but I just bowled right over to it… and slipped past it, my horse brushing the white flag with his nose!
In my defence, it’s not like Oscar to pop a shoulder out to avoid a fence. We have schooled skinnies in the past and he’s never tried that trick, so it did get me by surprise. Never mind – we now know to add acceleration going into the palisades, and to add brakes for the skinnies. All lessons learnt.
Despite the two errors on cross country, I had the greatest weekend and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Going from first place to almost last in under three minutes is all part of riding anyway.
And… on a more positive note, the ditches and water were no trouble at all!!! 😀
Bring on April and our next event!