Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Marlborough Horse Trials

Photo courtesy of Dorothy Anderson, Peacock Photography. We had some wonderful weather, and a wonderful time, at the Marlborough Horse Trials on Saturday. We are really lucky to have such a nice venue so close to home...the HT runs at Rosaryville State Park and takes all of 20 minutes to drive the trailer from Kaleidescape to the trailer parking field! It was Freddie's first horse trials where he had to work out of the trailer, and only his second horse trials total. We let the entire day be all about The Fred, and what a day it was! He certainly was a good boy in the dressage, came out with the best score in his Novice Horse division. This was a win that I really had to work for, however! Lara had him all prepared, longed, grazed, and primped by the arena so he could settle in to his surroundings. During my warm-up, there was a completely random and panicking loose horse that kept running back and forth behind the dressage arenas...seriously I couldn't make this up....and Brian is announcing for the outriders of cross country to please come to dressage. So of course like 3 of them come galloping into and thru the warm-up to chase down this wild horse, whose people are running all over the place with buckets and ropes....disaster! I admit that once I walked over to Lara and had her hold on to Fred and pet his Fred-head and tell him it would all be okay! Not really sure what became of that horse, actually; but I do know that when Freddie finally got to go into the arena he was pretty focused and relaxed. He did spook at the flower pots at all of the letters, poor baby horse.
Show jumping was next and it was certainly a HUGE improvement from Richland as far as his attitude and understanding about what was going on. He jumped a double clear round and was really very good through the combination, past the judge's stand and the in/out gate. Warm-up he floated around, wasn't the least bit worried about all the commotion. On course he had to jump a skinny, and the course was difficult for the greenies as it takes place out on the grass and the area has a good bit of terrain. Fred has to work pretty hard to get those long legs snapped up, and he did a great job of it out there on the course. I was looking at the pictures tonight and it is a pretty cute sight, huge Freddie makes all the jumps look like toothpicks a foot off the ground! He barely has to make any effort and the next thing you know he is practically clearing the standards. Pretty cool, I must say!
Cross country, well I suppose the pressure was on as he was still our division leader; but I was looking to have a smooth, confident round that got me over the ditch and the drop on the first try! Unfortunately, mission wasn't exactly accomplished. He was much more in tune with the fact that he was out there for a reason, wasn't spooking at the jump judges this time and managed to be pretty strong and ground covering in his gallops. However, he did have an incident at the drop down...he walked up to the edge and was walking more left than forward. I gave him a tap at the last minute to try to encourage him to take a leap of faith and instead he overreacted and spun himself even faster left. As he did this he smacked the side of his head flat into the white flag and he really never saw it coming and he was so shocked really by the whole thing that when I re-presented him to the drop he surely had to realize that taking the baby step off the drop was far easier than the predicament he managed to get himself into on his first attempt! He finished the course really well, cantering through the water and over the ditch without a hiccup, and these were two pretty tough technical questions for the novice. All in all, a pretty good showing for only his second event! And he is going back to Rosaryville tomorrow morning when they open the course for schooling, exactly how it was during the competition. Freddie is going to go through his entire course again, this time spending some quality time at the bank, ditch, and water. We want to be winning at Morven after all 3 phases, thank you very much!

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