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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…

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 frost all over the ground and the sun was just beginning to peek over the treetops.  We all were bundled up in winter coats, hats, and mittens haha.

My team consisted of a D-1 rider, two D-2 riders, and myself!  This was the first rally ever for two of the kids, so they were understandably nervous.  As the rider with the highest rating, I was deemed the team captain; we also had a stable manager (D-1 also at her first rally) and a C-1 who was our helper for the day.  I appreciated that they gave each team a C rated member to help, because with more than half the team new-to-rallying, it was nice to have another experienced person to help and calm nerves.  Our girls are all capable horsewomen, but I know how I felt at my first rally in May and it is nice to have support and encouragement!  

We set up our tack room and made sure we had all of our required equipment organized.  We had to hustle to be sure we were on time for the competitor briefing at 8:15.  This didn't leave me a lot of time to get ready for my formal inspection at 9am, but thankfully as the first rider up, I had lots of help!  

Everything went well at the inspection, and I ended up being awarded a perfect turnout award at the end of the day!  YAY!

I had a moment to return to the trailer, look over my dressage test, have a quick snack, and get over to warm up.  My dressage time was 9:56, and I was the four (or maybe fifth?) rider of the day.  I must say I was absolutely determined to remember the weird centerlines in the test this time.  The world was finally warming up and the sun was out in full by the time we were ready to ride.  Ellie was quite steady and quiet, though I let her take in the sights on the first few walk laps around warm-up.  Dressage, XC, show jumping, the organizer's area, and the food booth were all situated inside the infield of the half-mile track, so she had to look over at the humans walking the jump courses and scurrying around doing organizer things haha.

We had a lovely walk and trot warm-up and she was floating along in the nicest trot ever.  Even our PC coach, Lauren, remarked on Ellie's trot.  I admitted to her that once we cantered, we tended to lose the nice trot.  So Lauren supported me through our canter and subsequent trot work, in order to keep her bent and coming through from her inside hind.  It helped to have Lauren's reminders and I felt really positive about our test.

one of the moms snapped a few dressage photos, which was kind of her!

The dressage judge was the same one from Vermont Morgan Heritage Days, so I wasn't expecting to get a great score; in fact, I was fully prepared to score in the 40s. As I wrote in the VMHD entry, the judge is a very kind man but known for scoring low.  Lauren gave me tips about riding the test in the grass ring because there were dips in the ground where we had our canter transitions.  I felt really good about the test and headed over at my time to start trotting around the outside of the ring.


I heard the bell ring to start my test, and I trotted right in and halted.  It was a straight entrance and I was feeling really good about getting a square halt...

And it hit me that I had to trot in and NOT halt and do the weird centerline change of rein thing from X to M.  I pretty much collapsed into giggles as I halted Ellie, calling out to the judge, "I ALWAYS forget this centerline thing!'  He laughed and agreed, "I didn't know what you were doing!"

So nothing like starting a test with a 2 point error.  D'oh!

All I could do was laugh at myself.  I restarted the test, and I am pretty happy with it overall.  I remembered the darn centerline at the end, and Ellie was willing to listen to me the entire time.  At the end, the judge called me over and told me he awarded us the first 9 of the day!  I thought I was going to cry and asked which movement.  It was our FREE WALK!  YAY!  


Here is a video of our dressage test.  Hopefully, it works! 

Afterward, I had time to take care of Ellie, get all our tack cleaned up, and assist my teammates.  I made sure to eat and drink plenty because even though it was on the cooler side, I didn't want to end up feeling like crap by the end of the day and have a three-hour drive ahead of me.  I also had to walk both my XC and show jump courses; they looked doable and challenging without being too overwhelming.  I knew I had to ride her forward and confident and not hang on her face.  Such a fine line sometimes but I think we have improved TREMENDOUSLY since spring.

My show jump course was at 11:56, with XC right afterward at 12:06.  Lauren helped me warm up over fences, which went well despite the fact the ring was tiny and full of horses. I think I did a good job of sitting, waiting, and using my seat.  We just jumped a few times over the cross rail, vertical, and oxer.  I felt really confident and our showjumping round went super!  We cantered the entire course, getting our leads correctly and I feel as though Ellie was forward without trying to run away with me.  It was the perfect way to try a full 2'3" course and boost our confidence for our XC round.

There were some big and wide jumps out in the XC field.  I wish we had photos, but I actually have ZERO jump media.  :-(  The up and down bank was heading back towards dressage/trailers/booths, so Lauren had recommended we trot in.  The course was loopy and flowy and I was excited.

Ellie trotted out of the start box and I asked her to canter.  She stepped into the gait and we popped over the first fence with no issue.  We looped around the field towards the back, jumping logs, hanging logs, cordwood, and she was absolutely perfect.

We were cantering along and suddenly I remembered we were supposed to trot into the up/down bank.  So stupidly I pulled her down to a trot abut five strides out, which was a poor idea.  She definitely hesitated and awkwardly hopped up the bank; I should have just kept her in the canter and we would have had no issues.  Bringing her down to the trot disrupted her momentum and we had that one bobble.  But she jumped down the bank without any issue and we continued on with the canter, looping back around to the back of the field for a second time, jumping the biggest and widest log jump on course and a stonewall.  Our last two fences were smaller plank jumps behind the showjumping warm-up and competition rings, so while they were not max height, they were located in a spooky spot.

But thankfully, Ellie was truly a super horse and we cantered through the finish flags without any problems.  I could not stop smiling!  We jumped two courses at 2'3" at the canter (minus my stupid trot bobble) and it went well!  Ellie was blowing a little bit and her thick winter coat wasn't helping, so I spent a little extra time walking her out.  The PC official at the end allowed me to take her back to the trailer, telling me she knew I was going to take care of her properly.  It is nice to know that I have developed a reputation among the PC folks as being a good horsewoman.  Ellie's respiration had returned to normal by the time we got back to the trailer.  I opted to sponge her off and put her cooler on; it wasn't cold but it wasn't really warm either.  

I was the first rider on my team to finish for the day, and Ellie was happy to hang at the trailer and eat hay.  She took a nap and I helped out as much as I could without leaving her tied alone.  I took the time to be sure all of my tack and equipment were clean and put away. At a normal event, I would have jetted out of there and been home by 3:30; but Pony Club events are about the team (which I love) but it also means I had to wait until every single rider was done and points were tallied.  ;-)  So it was a late night!

Once the jumping was complete, we had an opportunity to look at scores and question anything we thought was incorrect.  Ellie and I scored a 34.7 on our test, even with the 2 point error.  One of our riders had a point off in the formal inspection, which she knew about, and I had a point off in the set-up category, which I did not know about.  Turns out I had written down Ellie's average temperature on her stall card but somehow I neglected to enter her pulse and respiration.  How did I miss that ALL year and never got any points taken off from it?  LOL!  Everyone went clear on XC and just one of our riders had a rail in show jumping. Overall, we all felt our scores were accurate.  I signed the sheet as captain and it was time to wait for the awards ceremony!

sitting at the awards ceremony, waiting on results

Since the rally was essentially over, we were allowed to pick up our tack rooms.  I got everything loaded up into my trailer, including Ellie, so when we went over to the awards ceremony, she wasn't left tied alone.  Honestly, she has improved SO much about being tied this year, but she is also patient about eating hay on the trailer, so my peace of mind came first haha.
YAY!  The rider to the far left is an Atlantic PC member,
but she was put on a scramble team for the day!

There were seven total teams that competed that day, and Atlantic Pony Club ended up placing second in horse management and FIRST overall!  YAY!!  We actually tied for first in horse management, with 2 penalty points for each team, but the other team had two points on their required equipment checklist and we had a point on my set-up and my teammate's formal, which because the formal counts for more, we were deemed second.  It was such a wonderful overall score and we won overall (which is horse management scores added with riding scores) by nearly 20 points!  Not bad for a team that is comprised of half first-time ralliers!!
ribbons and award!
our daily sheet looked great!
all zeros!
I love the comment "team working well together!"
I was #89!
required equipment with another perfect score!
I was #89!
We stopped off on the way home at a yummy local diner for dinner, and then we headed for home.  Ellie and I arrived around 9:30 and we were both REALLY happy to be home!  It was a FUN day with a great team, lots of laughs, and a really great confidence building experience for Ellie at the highest level we have competed as of yet!


Comments

  1. Sounds like a long but fun and productive day! Great that your impromptu team did so well on top of it all!!

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    Replies
    1. So long but the fun makes up for it! I could not believe how well we all did! Excellent day all around for sure!

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  2. I miss rallies! They were my favorite part of Pony Club as a kid!

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  3. Congratulations! It sounds like a great show for you.

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