Today was the day. We needed to find out exactly what and/or why Morris and I were forced to veer from our plan at the water jump at the CIC2* at Fair Hill April 15-18 2010. We were having a stellar round right up until the hanging log , #12B, in the middle of the water. From there you were supposed to continue in a straight line up a bank to get out of the water complex, and then one stride later jump a skinny turtle. I know that I was looking at Mr. Turtle, and then I was looking at ears, or a forelock, and then the side of Morris' neck, shortly after landing off of the hanging log. Split second decision was made to circle, regroup, and then attack the turtle. Smart decision though costly....picked up a quick 20 penalty points for crossing my tracks. Rode the rest of the course with out having too much time or energy to contemplate what happened. But have been doing so ever since!
Fast forward to this morning, 0800 at the lovely Gordonsdale cross country schooling course in Berryville, VA http://gordonsdale.com/. Morris and I were lucky enough to be consulting with the one and only Jim Wofford on his take on what probably happened, and more importantly, what I can do to make sure it never happened again!! No more giving up a stupid 20 points on cross country day!! Neither Morris nor myself had been to this facility before so it was a good experience for both of us, some new questions to answer and obstacles to tackle. Jim has a superb eye and an exercise for any and every possible detail that a rider needs to work on. I can say with a smile that Jimmy sent me home with a lot of exercises to practice before I see him again lol. After just a few warm up fences I was cruising around with some different things to think about, all of which were going to help me tackle "Peter's Pond" as they call it at Gordonsdale, and water jumps for the rest of Morris' life!
I am very pleased to report that I did multiple combinations of going in and out of the water, and jumped a hanging log in the middle of the water very similar to that on the course at Fair Hill, all with out even the slightest hiccup that we experienced in competition. Morris was brilliant about how he put his feet down and both of us finished feeling confident about riding the next water in competition (I admit this morning, it was frosty in VA and I was thinking to myself, that water is gonna be COLD! Good thing I never even came close to finding out!)
For those of you that want a little tip on what we talked about and practiced today...the theme of the school was that you have to land at the same pace in which you take off. Sounds like such a simple and straightforward comment to make. After all the technical stuff we work on, drill into our heads, hypothesize and bicker over theory and bits and equipment and, and...at the end of the day, I am going to stay dry and my horse is going to ace all future water jumps if I can land at the same pace in which I took off. So let's kick on and see how it goes tomorrow!