Hi Guys, Im sorry that I was a terrible blogger for all last week. The truth is that it was too hot down in California to do much of anything other than the necessary competing and recovering from competing. I dont understand how people can stand it down there! Dry, hot, thistles, central valley dust, no grass for the horses to eat…. terrible! Please dont get all offended, all you Cali-natives (Jordan and Mark), I just cant see the draw of that state this time of year. Suzy and I could not have been more excited to head north… our last day read 107 on the temp gauge. We had had enough!
OK – now the details. Dressage: was pretty good. I thought he could have done 7 points better if he had been more receptive to my legs in the lateral work. He basically crowded me out totally there. We got a 9 and an 8 for our medium trots, but maybe the canter mediums were a little too conservative. That was my first test in temps like that, and I just did not know how much to ask for from Taco. The three loop canter serpentines were after the mediums, and I wanted to get those right without him being wild. So, I was conservative. Oh well, we were 7th after dressage.
Cross Country: was GREAT! Taco was fantastic and was really brave and straight everywhere. Its super fun to learn more about him, and that is his BEST phase for sure. He did not chuck his head up once, remained extremely rideable to every corner and skinny. Super fun. We ran at 2:30 in the afternoon! and it was around 100 so I did not go really fast, I thought we were both going to pass out. Fortunetly, Suzy went on a search for clippers around the grounds and found some. I did not do his whole body, but the saddle forward and his entire belly. I wish I had done the whole furry body, but it was helpful to just have done that much. When I clipped him on Thursday, I probably did not have a clear idea of just how hot it was going to be over the weekend. He stayed in 7th after cross country.
Taco recovered pretty well from that hot day, but he looked a little tired after the heat. I held ice on his neck for both ice bootings, and on mine too. I think it was helpful for both of us.
Show Jumping: as you know, that is his difficult phase. He has been king of the wild for Jordan for the last few years, and he over jumps everything. He does not take communication well either. So, knowing that…. I was VERY happy with him. The scoreboard does not reflect that improvement, it looks like a disaster: 12 jumping faults and 17 time. He had one very cheap rail, that just rolled off after a toe tick. He was almost completely rideable for most of the course!!!!!! The first 4 jumps were really soft and nice, he over jumped the oxers of course, but it did not result in wildness on landing. We turned and came to the triple and he was on a soft connection. I waited for him to overreact and go forward….. and he stopped. He was confused as to how he was supposed to jump the sea of rails on a soft rein, and I was a little late in realizing that he needed me to immediately help out in that situation. We circled and jumped through perfectly, and the remainder jumps were actually pretty alright. He never blasted through a jump like at Caber, or over reacted to my leg. I learned that for now, he gets a bit of bravery from the contact in the combinations, as that is what he is used to. Well, if you call blasting as contact. But for now, we need to transition slowly to a softer ride, and that will come along nicely over the winter. Thanks Scott Keach for setting me on the right track!