Sunday, May 23, 2010

Virginia HT 4th Place!

It was a fun weekend down in Lexington, as you can see from the picture where I'm standing on my tip-toes doing my best "Where's Waldo" impersonation! Morris, I know would agree, as he got to go galloping all around the Oak Hill side of the Virginia Horse Center with an absolutely breathtaking backdrop of the mountains. Because this was his last outing before the CCI2* at Bromont and a course that has a lot of terrain, I tried to make the most of this run fitness-wise and really made him sprint up every hill that we had on the 6 minute 20 second track. The going was a little tricky around the turns especially because of several downpours that timed their start pretty much right as the Intermediate began on Saturday morning. Going into cross country I had some mixed emotions about the previous day's competition. Morris had his best score in the dressage, a 34.4 which put him fourth in a very competitive field. He was very obedient and after watching the video I was impressed at how fancy my scrappy little boy from New Zealand was starting to look! I also wanted to declare a personal victory on my reinback. Honestly, the dressage test is somewhere in my show trunk buried somewhere in my trailer...tackling that is the morning project and after that I will let you know if the judge thought it was as good as I did ha ha ha. Anyway show jumping in Lexington is tricky because the big classes have to jump in the coliseum and you never really know what you are going to get in there. It is big and empty and bright white walls and whatever jumps they rent are the shiniest things in the world and I swear the horses just all get a little overwhelmed. Morris fell into that category, he doesn't even particularly care for our indoor at home (he prefers the wide open spaces what can I say) so I should have been even more aggressive with riding him forward and being a little tougher on the both of us. Instead I tried to make him smooth and calm through the turns and honestly that just wasn't going to happen. It wasn't time to was time to jump clear! I had a rail, which would have been acceptable; but I also had 4 time and that is something I am still a little annoyed at myself about to be honest. A good wake-up call, however, and I promise I will be on a mission when I jump up at Bromont!
There are 2 good things that came from my jumping round. First of all, not having the time faults really wouldn't have changed my placing at the end of the competition. Second of all, it really ticked me off enough that I was going to make sure I was aggressive and getting the job done around the cross country! Had to be a touch careful with that plan considering the changing conditions due to the rain. Morris rose to the challenge and jumped through the entire course as though he couldn't get enough. He is just so quick and so smart with his feet he never slipped and quite frankly I don't think he understood why I was bringing him back so much for the turns, his attitude certainly was a "Whatever, I got it." I was thrilled that both water jumps went smoothly this time, the second water having a big skinny log on the way in, run up onto the island in the middle on a bending line and then bounce over a set of good sized whiskey barrels to land in the second pond. Morris was all over it! He finished strong and cooled off quickly and quietly, all great signs for Bromont.
This was also another great fact-finding weekend on an entirely different front....we finally found a treat that he just can't get enough of. After all the taste-testing and funny faces and spitting out treats, we finally have discovered his OBSESSION with baby carrots! Yes, he can't get enough. Mr. Tough Guy was reduced to begging through the stall bars all weekend and would have pounded a handful at a time if he had the chance. It really does feel good to give him something that you know makes him so happy. Kinda like my chance to return the favor!

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