This past weekend we went down to the Kentucky Horse Park (aka my Disney World) for Jump Start Horse Trial. By the time all was said and done, we had 13 with my barn there showing in everything from Intermediate to Starter. Needless to say, it was a full weekend and thank god for golf carts.
My friend picked up Archie and I on Friday afternoon and we were on the road by 2:15pm. With traffic and construction, we got there a little after 6pm and the unpacking/getting our lives together started. I honestly couldn’t even tell you what we did all evening, but I know suddenly it was almost 10pm, dark and we were starving. What happened in all that time? Literally no idea. One of the ladies from the barn ran out and picked up dinner and we ended up eating a pizza in the barn aisle by headlamp and stall light. Typical horse show night to say the least.
Saturday morning, our barn’s rides started at 8:30 and I rode dressage at 9:30am. I managed to stay clean (a true miracle) and we started the walk down to the rings. If you’re not familiar with KHP, it’s about a solid 10 minute walk down, depending on how pumped your horse is to go do dressage. Archie was pretty chill, all things considered. He had one moment of ‘I’d like to jig in place’ but settled right down. We walked in the warmup for a bit to make sure all the brain parts were installed and got to warming up. He felt absolutely incredible in warmup – his trot was totally on it and we had some of the best canter work we’ve had. I headed over to ride my test and for whatever reason, as soon as he got near the arena, all his nice relaxed flow just evaporated. I tried to trot around and get him re-settled in the time I had before going down centerline, but it never really happened. He went in tight and tense and all I could do was try to coax the best out of him. Ironically, he settled in the first canter circle and we ended up with two nice canters in the test, along with some lovely free walk work (we’ve been working on it!) In the end, it was a 40.3, which put us in 13th of 17 after dressage. I wasn’t thrilled, but I know if we can put the walk and canter from this test with the trot from our recent work, there might just be a fancy little dressage horse in there.
We show jumped early Saturday afternoon, leaving me with only a small bit of time to change and try to eat something. Luckily that ring was closer so I was able to watch some higher rounds ride the course, walk and still have plenty of time to warm up. As soon as we went into warm up (it was fairly empty, I wouldn’t do this in a crowded ring) and walked around, I went for a short forward gallop around. When my trainer got there, we did each fence once off each lead and he was so on it and ready, that was all he needed.
As soon as we went into the ring, I felt him really light up (in a good-Archie-way, not a wild-gonna-die way). I’m telling you, that horse LOVES an audience. Showoff. He felt absolutely fantastic the entire way around and it was a bold, forward course. We had a rail at 4, which was a left turn off the back rail, from a lazy hind foot. It was probably the one fence set a little soft and he just got lazy and didn’t care. Even with the rail, I was thrilled with the round. It was one of the best we’ve had, in a big ring with a lot of atmosphere and a tight course. Even with the rail we moved up to 12th going into XC the next morning.