Last week Plantation sent out a blast email referring to itself as the Best.Event.Ever. Well, close! I may be slightly biased since I was really happy with the way that Fernhill Whatever performed all weekend. That, combined with the fact that he was the only horse I took, made it feel like a bit of a vacation!
Plantation has come a long way in what seems like such a short time. The arena really does have spectacular footing and dresses up nicely with tents, classy dressage arenas, and beautiful show jumping fences like the wall pictured above! Stabling is very user friendly, and the shuttles up the massive hill are life savers (says the person with a dead minibike wah wah). It would be great if they made one truck lane so we felt like we knew we were allowed to drive up and back instead of stealth dashing here there and everywhere waiting to get busted by Dennis ha. The cross country course flowed so much better this year which is of course the reason we all came!
I'm sorry that Winston's owners didn't get a chance to visit the venue, there was a lot going on for spectators (I mean, mechanical bull riding!), a great vendor village, fair food, all the finer things in life. The weather was incredible. This year I packed a jog outfit appropriate for a freezing cold morning! It still didn't stop me from getting trotted off the jog strip. They do need to give the GJ somewhere to stand other than up against the bushes, as I was not the first nor the last combination to take out the mums and leap off the ledge away from the scary judges! Trisha was the main beneficiary of their absence and ate and drank their fair share up at the Sponsors Tent. But she deserved it! She is an amazing worker, a fun person to spend a weekend with, and makes my grey pony sparkle!
Luckily Winston wasn't very scared of the judges in the dressage, he put in a lovely, relaxed test that was fairly accurate. I was SO thankful to have Karen back in my life lol but seriously just knowing that she is there watching and answering important questions for me like Do I go inside or outside of the tree??? is so reassuring! Even if my way of showing it is by crashing thru the 2' oxer in show jumping warm up but we won't really talk about that. Focusing back on the sandbox, if I had it to do all over again I would have liked to pump up my trot a bit more, and I will be working on that tomorrow in my Linda lesson! Feeling confident in my counter cantering skills on the big guy now at least.
Saturday was a beautiful day for cross country and we got to go first yay! I'm starting to think a little like Winston, building a partnership so I know what is going to be the best approach and option for Winston specifically. After the first minute I felt like my steering really clicked in, and it was by far the most positive and forward cross country ride to date. He was great at both waters, and the first water was certainly spooky with the white rails in. He conquered Plantation's world famous elephant trap so we can check that off the list :) I must admit that everything was really quite pleasant. One more round like that to prove it was skills and not luck and I declare us ready for Intermediate!
Show jumping was a bit the same story. I know him well enough now that I was confident about the distances I wanted to do in the lines, and Karen was very helpful with the technicalities of my turns and what shots I needed into the combinations. For the most part, I was very pleased. Winston jumped very straight and was very game without being obnoxious after a fast and clean show jumping round. I was too aggressive getting the forward 6 done in the first line, ended up pulling the last two strides and an inverted horse equals a rail at a square oxer - these things I know! I promise to do better next time!
And I'm very excited that the next time will be the Preliminary Championships at Morven Park, and then it is off to the MidSouth CCI*. Never been there for that and am really looking forward to it, should feel like a proper test. Many thanks again to Greyside for giving me the opportunity to campaign such a lovely animal. I am really looking forward to a strong finish to our first season together, and for all of the fun things to come in 2013!