Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Late reports sorry! Auchinleck BE100

So last weekend I had entered J into the BE100 at Auchinleck, since we ran at Hopetoun in the Novice I have decided that we are both not quite ready for that level so it will be BE100’s for the rest of the year. My times for Auchinleck were pretty late on so didn’t even leave home until 10am! It was practically a lie-in to not get up before 8am – although a bit weird!

Arrived with plenty of time and the sun shining – thankfully it wasn’t too hot inside the lorry and J was very settled with his water and hay as we went off to walk the xc. The course was lovely – having only been to Auchinleck once before a long time ago I couldn’t really remember what it was like but none of the fences looked to be asking too many questions and I was hopeful that we would have a nice pop round.

Arrived back with chief course walker  (the lovely Labrador) and John who has twisted his ankle while walking the course and left them to start getting ready. Left putting my jacket on until the last minute as it was becoming a scorcher of a day by this point. Slowly started to melt as I was walking over to the dressage and got on with warming up. J was warming up even better after a few pointers from my instructor LL who was judging the other section of riders and headed over to start my test.

Then a funny thing happened…..

We normally start to get tense on the trot around the arena, but after my chat with LL it has become clear that its not the horse, more the rider who gets tense and after the small pep talk, I spent the time focusing on releasing the tension and J went beautifully. Carried on this plan for the duration of the test and J seemed to be well behaved, cantering when we were supposed to. The trot, walk, trot transition first time was a bit iffy as we broke after two strides and I wasn’t sure if I should do it again or carry on so muffed it a bit. Anyway we have been working on his canter, doing transitions, moving on and back and counter canter (as it really makes him sit) and I think it has started to pay off as his canter was light and on his hocks. He was a bit worried about the give and retake which I don’t really practice at home but still managed it, and even his walk wasn’t so bad.

Came out of the ring feeling that it was a nice test, but as we normally get 38, I was hopeful of a 35 maybe a 33.

Headed over to the SJ, to find no-one in the warm up, popped over a couple then went to find out the course. J was jumping nicely and after our rubbish round at Hopetoun (he had a very unusual stop then two down in the Novice) I was aiming to get round with no more than one down. Which is what we achieved! We still had the customary one fence down but it was a bit of both our errors, I tried in a rubbish way to get him back for the down hill fence 6, but he was fighting me and when I saw a stride I just took it rather than really getting him back so we booted it out. He was a better round than at Hopetoun but I think I was riding him a bit too strongly as he looked a bit worried over a couple of fences – still he left them up! Something to work on getting him to relax again anyway.

Came back to the lorry to find a text to say we were in the lead on a Dr score of 24.5

24.5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did have a bit of an astonished and disbelieving look about me for a while before it sunk in that even after SJ we were still in the lead

Then I blew it!

Headed over for the xc, determined to go clear. J has never had a fault in any xc run up to Novice – his record was only tarnished this year with the 3 novice runs I did and two of those were numpty jockey errors. However he was backing off a lot of the Novice so I have decided to keep him at the 100 for confidence. I wasn’t really expecting it to be a problem, and set off out of the start box thankful of the wind whistling past to keep us cool! Jumped the first few fences and he flew them, backed off a couple later on but still jumped them when asked, saw some long strides and he took them easily and headed off down to fence 11. This was a hanging long going into the trees, I knew the light to dark thing might be a problem so sat down and rode him over him which he backed off but still jumped when asked. Once landed I turned and went through the trees to the coffin – roll top, one stride to ditch, then one stride to log. Popped the first part then to my horror he spooked at the ditch and ran sideways the ditch was very long so we hadn’t actually turn away or stepped back but the hesitation was there and even though we then jumped it, I had already heard the jump judge shout the ‘first refusal’ so carried on and finished well but gutted that we had done so badly on the xc!

We also picked up 6 time faults which is 15 seconds over the time. I reckon about 5 seconds was for the ditch so we would still have collected time faults although we would have been placed as the time was extremely tight.

I’m annoyed with myself for assuming he would have popped the ditch, he’s never been a ditchy horse but looking at the photos John took, there was a very bright sunny spot coming out of the trees right over the ditch so maybe that was it? We jumped the next ditch on the way home fine so I’m hoping that will still have given him some confidence for his next run at Hendersyde.

It’s the first time I have ever found myself being so close to doing really well at an event! I’m now on a mission to make it happen more often (the dressage, not the abysmal xc!!)

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