Monday, March 14, 2011

Full Report from Full Gallop

Just want to make this point clear from the beginning - the lercher was the only one just lounging around at Full Gallop Farm this past weekend here in Aiken! And in my opinion, he looks quite guilty about it from this photo, taken at the top water. This weekend started as a fact-finding mission, we had 3 horses going (Smarty, Splash and Buttons), none of which I had evented before. 2 of which had never evented before. 1 of which just came from the hunters and hadn't jumped out of the indoor until coming down here in February.
Even though I had been to FGF several times this season to school, I hadn't competed there since last year. I was pleased with the new area for dressage, a huge improvement from having to squish into the paddocks in front of the barn. I was very appreciative of the spacious warm-up, even though some very upset grey horse still got close and attempted to double barrel my poor little first time starter. Show jumping, too, was in a new and improved area. Cross country, jury is still out. While great for schooling, I have found it difficult to get a good galloping rhythm at FGF. I will only speak for the training and beginner novice since that is what I walked and rode; but I found it to be inconsistent. Parts were trappy and non-confidence boosting. I feel like I can say that because I had horses finish all over the map! I guess we should get into that...
Playtime wanted to have a little playtime in the canter work of his dressage test. Last I checked flying changes weren't required in Training test A and my submission score let me know that the judge, too, didn't find flying changes in the list of required movements. The good news is, he was no different than he was at home so we can keep working on the same old stuff! Jumping, he was even better than he had been schooling or jumping at home in the short month I have had him. His show jumping round was easy peasy, I hope I can say that when they are a foot taller :) Cross country we had a run out, although I consider myself lucky. Smarty didn't know he ran out, he just knows he bounded down the steps in the back field without having to take any shuffle steps like some of those sissy-horses did. Unfortunately for Smarty Pants, those little shuffle steps were critical in getting the distance correct to the skinny chevron at the base. Drats! We circled around, he jumped it as though he saw it for the first time - because he was noticing it for the first time ! - and then boogied on off to the water and had a fabulous jump in over the roll top and out over the log on the mound. Schooling and hill work for Smarty and then it is off to Southern Pines in 2 weeks!
Buttons and Splash set the bar high with some great dressaging. So happy to have their owners in town to see them really shine (and I mean REALLY shine Lara worked over time on that grey knowing that her owners were going to be in town lol) and they did, Splash was commandingly in the lead after her test and Buttons was sitting 4th in his. Show jumping went well, a little spooky but we left the rails up with a little bit of flair here and there. On to cross country it was, a little nervous because with a beginner novice first timer you really could have a stop or a run out at ANY of the 14 fences on your course! To me, the second fence was the first obvious place for a stop (on a dime) drop (your inside shoulder) and roll (your rider onto the ground). Luckily Splash was as brave as she has ever been and jumped everything on the first try, regardless of whether or not she really knew what she had gotten herself into! Just kidding, this cute little horse does everything with such style and grace, she is a real keeper, and coincidentally a winner! Buttons, sadly, went from 3rd to 8th after deciding that the sharks teeth in the woods really might bite, and I have a jammed left pinky finger to prove it (he only managed the stop and drop). We trotted it the second time; and he finished strong still under the optimum time. Not too shabby for a hunter pony that is Cute as a Button ha ha ha.
Upon checking in at the barn this morning, Splash was as dirty as she had ever been, Smarty was refusing to get caught in his paddock, and Buttons was flat on his side taking a sun nap. All signs of a good weekend :)

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