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CNER Eventing D Rally - October 6, 2019

I almost didn't attend the last Pony Club rally of the year, because I wasn't sure if I wanted to show in the dressage show on Saturday and then the rally the following day.  But seeing as this rally with Central New England Region (through Atlantic Pony Club) is only for riders at the D level, and my plan is to earn my C-1 next year, I knew that this was my one and only chance to compete.  I also figured Ellie was more than capable of doing two Training level tests the day before an event.  And as a D-3 rider, I was required to do BN Test A and jump 2'3", which seemed like a perfect move-up opportunity.
Of course, it was an early morning adventure to get to the Groton Fairgrounds in Massachusetts, a place I had never been to before and is 2.5 hours away.  I left the house at 4:30am (OUCH) and luckily had a super easy drive down to MA.  It was only 29 degrees when I left, and it wasn't much warmer when I arrived at the grounds just before 7am.  There was still fros…

MECTA Rusty Knees HT - September 1, 2019

This event was probably one of the highlights of my summer and sadly I have NO MEDIA.  That is what happens when I attend a show alone and there isn't a pro photog.  I am kicking myself for not trying to wrangle someone into taking pics or video for me, but oh well.  I am not good at asking for someone to take media, especially when all the people I know personally are actually competing and not just spectating.

so shiny
chilling at the trailer before dressage
Unfortunately, there are no longer any sanctioned events in Maine, and there were only three unrated events this year.  I attended the first one in June at RABT, which was our first HT, but I did not go to the second one on 8/18 as I choose to go to my lesson barn's team dressage show instead.  

So I made the effort to attend the Rusty Knees HT at the beginning of September although it is a solid three-hour drive (one way) for me.  The organizer and owner of the farm was my scramble team PC teammate from this year, Beth!  So not only did I want a chance to try another HT, I wanted to support her show!

I chose to enter the Elementary division (Intro C and 2' jumps) again, the same division we entered in July at Course Brook HT.  While we had won our division at Course Brook, I still felt Elementary would be enough of a challenge while still being a totally appropriate level for us at our third HT.  I really REALLY did not want to ride another Intro dressage test, but I knew the 2' jump heights were where we needed to be.  It was another "real" XC course like Course Brook, so I wanted Ellie to finish thinking it was easy.  I felt prepared, though, as we have lessoned a lot with Babette this year and we have tackled many XC jumps together.

Dressage was held in a large field, which also had horse trailers parked up at the top, a large dressage warm-up area, the show jump warm-up area, and the show jump course.  There was caution tape strung about to divide the areas, but it was still a large area with a TON going on.  Right behind the judge at C was the showjumping area, so it didn't lend itself to calm dressage energy!  ;-)  

Ellie wasn't naughty or hard to ride, but she was super looky throughout our entire warm-up and test itself.  It didn't help that one of our fellow competitors spent the first twenty minutes of her warm-up cantering her OTTB around and around and around the outside of where we all were trying to warm up in a hilly area.  There was only one really flat spot to try to do a 20m. circle without having to go down a hill, so while I am not complaining because it was a great show, I didn't love our dressage preparation.  Ellie was like WHY IS THAT HORSE RUNNING IS THIS XC I THOUGHT WE WERE DOING DRESSAGE HALP! I never really felt like I was able to get her attention on me and the task at hand, and therefore we had tension in the test that we don't usually have. 

We were sitting 4th after dressage with a 32.75, right in the middle of the pack, which I thought was a fair score despite the tension through her back and topline, not to mention I despise Intro C and it just doesn't work well for us.  After riding T3 so many times in the lovely large dressage arena, it sucks to go back to the small arena haha.

Like so many of the one day HT nowadays, we jumped our SJ course and went straight over to XC.  I had walked both courses after dressage and nothing looked that scary.  The show jump course had one weird bending line, but Ellie is handy enough to make a turn even if she lands on the wrong lead, gets unbalanced, and we have to trot.  XC looked like a lot of fun, and the only jump that made me think I really needed to think much about was the second to last fence, where we crossed into a field from another field and had to turn a sharp right to go up and over a bank.  It came up quickly and was a tight turn I knew I had to be ready for.

Ellie warmed up well over a few fences and then it was our turn to jump.  The course went quite smoothly and even though I had to trot a few spots to rebalance her or get the correct lead, I still felt like overall it was a good course.  We didn't chip in or have any issues.  She landed on the correct lead for the weird bending line, so that was easier than I imagined, though she was not expecting me to turn her so quickly and sharply lol.


Once we were finished with our course, we walked over to the XC start.  The first fence was in the same field as the box (and the same field we ended in), but then we immediately had to go into some trees to cross into the next field.  It was shady at the second fence was set at the base of the hill, with jump 3 at the top of the hill.  Ellie was super brave and cantered right through the gap between the fields, past all the people and never blinked at the change in light.  We galloped right up the hill and over fence three without issue.

We crossed into a third field for jumps 4, 5, and 6.  We had to weave through several other fences and make a large turn, but Ellie was totally tuned in to me and searching for her next fence.  It felt easy and we happily cantered over everything in sync!  

The next fence was in yet another field, in the shade and set on an angle.  It was one of the largest fences on the course, a hanging log close to the woods.  I knew it was our fence, but for some reason, as we crossed into that field, I started to doubt myself LOL.  As we are cantering up to it, I cannot tell if it is a green number 7 (our division) or a blue number (the division below us).  So here I am, talking out loud to Ellie: "Is that our fence?  I think that is our fence?  Well, I hope it is our fence!!!!"

It dawned on me in those few seconds that it definitely had to be my jump, as it was too huge for the division below me.  We ended up slicing the damn hanging log (0/10 do not recommend on a green horse while riding your second real XC ever), but thank sweet baby Jesus, it was only 2' tall and Ellie is the BEST HORSE OF ALL TIME.  I still can't really believe this horse didn't even hesitate or doubt me, she just jumped the log like she has jumped big logs on an angle all her life.  I admit I giggled out loud and reached down to pet her neck because I did not deserve to have her bail me out of that and she totally did.

We wound through yet another field and had a long gallop down to a coop, then I brought her to a trot in order to get back into the last (first) field and turn sharply to get over the bank.  She hesitated just the slightest bit at the base of it, so she jumped up a bit awkwardly, but we jumped down the other side and headed for our last fence!  

We cantered over the last jump, a little painted red barn, and I could not stop smiling.  She was SO GOOD and so game for everything out there.  It felt like such a huge step to have completed yet another awesome XC together.  

I took my time getting Ellie cooled out and packed everything up.  Even if we had stayed in fourth place for the day, I didn't care about the placing.  I could not stop beaming!  Everything I had hoped for Ellie was actually coming true and even though we had just done yet another HT at only 2', I knew we were prepared to do more!

I admit I was pretty excited to see we had moved up to second place after two clear jumping rounds!  YAY!  Placing second out of eight horses in our senior Elementary division was pretty much like winning a gold medal right then and there hahaha.  ;-)



I did end up asking a random mom to snap a pic of us with our ribbons, so that's the only media I have.  But it was MUCH more exciting to know I have made myself a super cool little event pony!  

Comments

  1. Yay!!! Congrats!! Love her brain and how all your work is paying off

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  2. That is a bummer there are no recognized shows in Maine. :(

    Glad that you were able to get one snap of the two you of - your relationship/partnership has really blossomed and it's so wonderful to read about the fruits of your labor!

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    1. Yeah, it is a bummer and means that any rated events I choose to do are far away and pricey (stabling and my own lodging). :-(

      And thank you! It has been a rewarding journey so far!

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  3. WELL DONE Ellie with getting y'all through the situation with the 'is it our jump or not'! She is such a good horse.

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    1. I was thoroughly impressed! I guess you never know how good your horse is until you accidentally put them in a position to prove themselves haha.

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