Yesterday was the fall HT at Dan Hobyn Stables, a facility just 15 minutes from home so how could I not go?
They've been a fixture in eventing Indiana for decades and usually host two shows a year, one around Memorial day, the other around Labor day. I like their shows because they are low key and the lower level courses tend to be simple and inviting, an excellent event for horses or riders nervous or new to the sport.
I was on the fence to enter all the way up to the deadline, could I give Stella the ride she needed to make it around? Would coming just cause issues where I let her stop?
I finally sucked it up and entered, I've had good success her in the past, I know about what the courses will be, put on your big girl pants, etc.
This is a tie to the trailer kind of place and luckily Stella ties well
She did get bored eventually and started making up things to do so I decided to get on her early and hack her around. I did have quite a bit of horse and we did some unauthorized leaping about but she soon went to work and then all of a sudden I had too much time on my hands! I need to figure out a better game plan for keeping Stella from getting bored and the proper amount of warm up.
As with the last show I have been getting some really solid work in the warm up, then 50 50 in the dressage ring. There's a lot to look at here and someone on a pony was riding all the way around the ring (a no no) and when the pony screamed Stella answered. Darn it.
We still need more work on our connection at the walk, it's coming along at home but the slower speed gives Stella more cause to gawk and it hurt our score. It was still good enough to put us in Second so I was happy.
I ended up going directly to show jumping from dressage which worked out well. I just wore my jumping tack in the dressage ring and literally started jumping as soon as I hit the warm up. I had some issues with some bucking, once when Stella tried to do a lead change, only got half, and got pissed at me because it was somehow my fault. Then when I got her in the mouth a bit.
Lesson learned, stay out of the way.
Show jumping I kept slow, focused, my speed. The course was quite twisty and on grass, and Stella's canter isn't quite umm.... something so we did lots of trotting. We did come to a screeching halt when Stella spied some suspicious looking XC fences and I had to work on getting her attention back and getting her to the fence, which we jumped sideways. I know she has an issue with STUFF so I'm hoping the more STUFF we see the less it bothers her.
Then on to XC. The course was "bigger" than I expected and took quite a trek so I was a little nervous. Ok, a lot nervous. Ok, like I felt like I was going to vomit. I had a pep talk with myself and then went for it.
I kept my hands down and I put my leg on in front of each fence, and I remembered most of the time to think about my route and not just celebrate making it over each fence. It wasn't the smoothest course but we made it around. I was very generous about slipping my reins, especially over a few of the bigger fences. I'd much rather lose some control at this point than get her in the face due to my lack of confidence. I made myself keep riding, even to the fences that I didn't think were going to be a problem because I've been there at letting my guard down and having an easy stop.
In the end I was breathless but jubilant! We made it around clean and earned ourselves a second place ribbon! Yeah!!!!!!!