We are driving home from an event, exhausted and nobody is talking because you are finally sitting still, after 4 days of vigorous hustle and bustle. Someone will ask to play the game of Pros and Cons – which is where we identify the high and lowlights of the weekend we just experienced. It’s a fantastic way to review things that might have gone better and put them in perspective. But, it’s also just as powerful to identify the awesomeness of your weekend, and not let that good stuff be forgotten.
We dented about 1 hour into the 10 hour drive home from Rebecca when Letty started the game. I’m not going to mention every single thing that she, Fieke and I discussed, but I was overwhelmed by how much we all mentioned that we love our group of students and how cohesive we felt as a team. It helps that several riders were entered in the N3D and T3D events, which by definition, cannot be accomplished without a team support. But, equally as important, was the getting together for a dinner every night that was delicious and wonderful. My hat is tipped to Rebecca Schmidt and Kim Knott for their unending energy to cook and prepare for us all. I can honestly say that I have never ever have eaten so well at an event before. When I competed on the east, I would routinely have a high calorie meal-in-a-can at least once over the weekend. Food just isn’t my strong point when I’m competing.
My thoughts about my weekend with Cochlear:
I couldn’t be happier with him! Well, I could actually…. But in reality, I’m darn thrilled with how he did in all 3 phases. Lear struggled with tension in dressage, and when he gets nervous, he drops his poll. It’s very hard to pick it back up! In fact, near impossible. So, I have to try to kick him forward to regain balance, and that can sometimes work, and other times not. This was a not time. He did not do a single thing bad in the test, but it was clearly not a swinging warmblood dressage test. Oh well! Im ok with it.
Cross country was a complete blast. Lear has always been a ditchy horse, and he confronted his most extremely difficult ditch that he has ever seen on that CCI* course. It was a max log in, one stride downhill to the ditch, and two strides uphill to a brush jump. He very quickly got shocked by the ditch below him and had a quick refusal. I circled and he bravely jumped it and proceeded through the course as if nothing had ever happened. In fact, he was absolutely brilliant the whole course! Hard to be disappointed when your horse just got an education and proceeds to be amazing. When I finished the course, I realized that he did not have a single awkward or bad distance to a single jump. He and I were zen.
Show jumping was my turn to fail. Normally, this is one of my most favorite phases of our sport! I love show jumping!! And I especially love it when my friend Stephanie Goodman helps walk me through it. She walks a course like I ride it – I can hear her every single word when I’m actually performing. Pretty cool. However, it was not her fault that I turned right after fence #3 and not left. NO…. take a deep breath! I did NOT get eliminated, I just got a whole bunch of time penalties and a rail because of it.
Overall, I left feeling that I need to take Lear preliminary at Aspen Farms fall event, not intermediate. Just to make sure we are kosher. Through every level, I have always been careful to make sure he isn’t rushed. And while Intermediate is a hop-skip away, I don’t want to go there with a horse who feels even slightly ditchy. It will happen soon enough!