Coming back from the Riverina Dressage Day I was on a high.
We had re-entered the competitive world, we had done ok, I was alive!
For about 5 minutes.
I was also severely out of practice with the whole training and competing thing. Where next? What next? Did I want to do some more dressage training?
Sorry dressage, I love you but it’s not you, it’s me.
I think we need to see other people.
I’m just going to leave this here…
I am all about training on the flat, it is the key to everything. But I have the attention span of a flea and become no more impressed by endless time on the flat then my horse does.
Fate once again smiled on me when it turned out that the Riverina Dressage Club was holding a Combined Training Day with the Riverina Showjumping Club and you could compete in dressage, jumping or both.
Sweet baby Oprah here we go.
I elected to enter just the showjumping as an entry into one height class gave you two goes and I thought best to just focus on getting airborne for the first time since January 2016.
Watch out Michael Jung, I am coming for you.
Personally, I find the show jumping to be the most frightening phase. Yes, you hear me.
Fast paces, open spaces and solid jumps? Cool.
Brightly coloured poles in an arena? Now hang on a minute…
Does it make sense? Not really.
Can I explain it? Also no. Sorry.
Back when I was regularly competing I was feeling comfortable around the 1.00-1.05m mark and starting to make the step to 1.10m. But this was about 6 years ago and having dealt exclusively with young horses since then I had just started approaching the 1.00m mark again with Des before injury struck him down.
Snitzel had not been the most fun to jump due to his amusing habit of bombing away after the fence every now and then (understandable, knowing now he was in pain and it had not been mentioned by the pre-purchase vet examiner that he had fractures in his feet – thanks buddy).
But hey, it kept me guessing. FUN!
Who doesn’t like surprises?
With my lack of recent jumping exposure and somewhat dodgy confidence in the land of the coloured poles I elected for the baby classes (aka 60cm and 75cm).
Another easy day to put my toe in the water and build the trust between me and the new steed.
Also, having not jumped Evie in a competition type setting before it was a good “getting to know you” exercise.
So off we went.
The day was incredibly cold and foggy to begin but by the time my classes started it was nothing short of glorious. Much like my experience back in the jumping ring.
Australian winters can be pretty beautiful
Evie was fantastic (as per usual) but I did learn a few new things.
- She is incredibly photogenic
- If she lands after a fence on the wrong lead she will attempt a change
- If she attempts a change it will disunite (back legs not 100% co-operational yet)
- Disuniting really upsets her
Having two cracks at the round and a trusty support crew on the ground to film helped me identify this issue and make sure the second time I rode the course I prepared her better for directional changes.
Learning experience: A+
Unlike the dressage, a small part of me wishes we had entered the 75cm and the 90cm like I originally wanted to because it just felt so good to be out there and I felt incredibly comfortable the in the 75cm but c’est la vie. We had a great day and I couldn’t have asked for more (except for maybe the custom breastplate I had ordered which arrived late).
May need to get Evie’s tips on the whole “photogenic” thing
We ended the day with 4 clear rounds and Evie going home to a beautiful dinner and rest for a few weeks while her custom shoes were being organised.
The original intention of heading to Harden ODE in August has been put on the back burner for a number of reasons, so I think a good sit down and planning of the events calendar in this area may be in order.
I am such a goal oriented person that training and riding without an idea of where I am going and what I need to be doing to achieve a good result is hard for me.
Until then, I’ll just enjoy having a beautiful horse in my life again.
Photos courtesy of Lizzie’s Pictures