Cross Country Day. I think it’s safe to say that this is the reason any of us are eventers. As I mentioned in the last post, the course looked great. I would call it the perfect prep course for my 3Day or for someone looking to move up to Prelim. They use terrain so well. For instance, there was one jump that two years ago scared the crap out of me. You come tearing out of the woods, then gallop downhill and over a log. Here’s a pic:
The course is set at 420 mpm which seems slow for Training but when you get out there you spend so much time going up and down hills you can see why they were a bit easy on the time.
Georgie and I had a good warm up. She was forward to the jumps and it while it was quite warm, it wasn’t unbearable.
She’s gotten into the habit of being a bit sassy around the start box. Like, prancing and throwing her head. We do a lot of walking in circles in and around the startbox and I trust her so much and know she won’t escalate to anything I can’t handle. I kind of appreciate how amped she is for xc. So, I kinda just laugh and don’t worry about it. What I do which is a mistake, is once we hear “have a good ride” is I kick her out of the box. Amped pony does not need this anymore at the Training level. She took off out of the box to the first jump. She was great over 1&2 but had some trouble turning to 3. Once we established the turn though we were fine. Jump 4 was this log slab in a field, about 8 strides out of the woods. It was kind of narrow and kind of vertical but I didn’t think anything of it when I walked the course. We came tearing out of the woods and about 4 strides out Georgie started backing off and looking. I got after her and she somewhat reluctantly went over the jump. Super weird. And not great, since jump 5 was the tough rolltop to chevron combo. There were lots of people at jump 5 and I wonder if coming out of the woods and seeing people in her peripheral vision spooked her. I later found out that jump 4 had more stops on course than any other jump. So there was something weird about it. And clearly Georgie could sense that with her super powers.
Jump 5 rode really well. I was so happy with her ride that afterwards I let her gallop off to the Trakenner. And leave long to the Trakenner. It’s like a special un-training present I give her occasionally.
Here’s video of the two stride:
And leaving long to the Trakkener:
What I personally love about both videos is how uphill Georgie is prior to both jumps. I can adjust from downhill gallop to an uphill jumping frame pretty easily these days.
We galloped around the rest of the course without problems. There are a couple of long paths in the woods where your horse can just gallop. You’re alone in the woods, just listening to your horse’s hoofbeats and it’s pretty magical. And then I start trying to get her back to prep for the jump ahead and things are less magical. But there was still that moment of magic.
There was a coffin complex at the end of the course that rode well. But she was a bit tired and was not going to put in another stride to the C element.
She jumped into the water like a champ (the second jump on course with the most stops) and overall was a super honest, super game, pony.
After the second to last jump I heard my watch beep and looked down. Right where it was supposed to be beeping for my minute markers. But for some reason, in that moment, I got optimum time confused with speed fault time. I panicked that we were going to have speed faults, as I thought speed fault time was 6:11, but really that was optimum time. I stopped kicking Georgie on and let her cruise to the last jump and through the flags. And then I cursed myself because I was about 18 seconds fast. I thought I had 18 speed faults. I didn’t. I was 18 seconds below optimum time. Everyone who watched me was surprised when I proclaimed I had speed faults- they didn’t think I looked that fast. But I felt like we were booking, so how could we NOT have speed faults? About 5 minutes into cooling Georgie off I realized my mistake. And felt like a moron. And learned an important lesson. It’s kinda tough to get speed faults unless you are moderately out of control and/or have a horse with a huge stride. Georgie and her short stride works extra hard to go fast, so I FEEL like we are flying, but really, we were going about 450mpm. Which is appropriate for Training. Other lesson- if your trainer is not concerned with how fast you are going, you probably aren’t in danger of getting speed faults.
So, realizing I was double clean I started jumping around in excitement. Cause that’s how I roll. And Haley handily won the wager, as predicted. She was only three seconds below optimum time. So, I’m glad I filled her buckets beforehand….
With my superstar cross country pony I was ready to do some stadium jumping! But for that you will have to wait one more day….