What an incredible trip. There is something truly special about the Event at Rebecca Farm.
Ok, let’s get started. Georgie was amazing. She was calm all week and she ate well and seemed happy and relaxed from the minute we arrived. Apparently Rebecca is special to her, too. Monday we had the xc school where we conquered the ditch wall, so we were feeling pretty good. On Tuesday we had a fabulous dressage lesson with none of her normal first day jitters. I hadn’t been having many dressage lessons lately, so it was really nice to get on Georgie and have a lesson where my trainer was mostly silent. She asked me to sit Georgie’s bigger trot, which I am getting more comfortable with, and to really work on having my chin up and shoulders back without slouching. She also said something that struck a cord. “Balance, then ask.” It was a nice way of reminding myself not to rush what want. Make sure I have Georgie in the right balance before I ask for something, or we aren’t going to get the result we want.
Things look pretty good when we do them correctly.
Monday and Tuesday were basically vacation. On Wednesday, life as a 3Day competitor got incredibly busy. The 3Day is focused on education and having a safe and enjoyable experience, so they cram a LOT in in 1 day. We had seminars with world class grooms, and then were off to practice steeplechase. Our coach was Jonathan Holling, a 4* rider from Canada. He talked about why we steeplechase and how to approach the jumps. He told us that if we did it right the first time we don’t get to go again. No point in over jumping our horses on a long week. Georgie and I only jumped once. Which was fine, as we knew we’d have a go at it again in 2 days. And then we could jump ALL THE JUMPS. Steeplechase is amazing. Everyone should do it at least once in their lives.
We got back from galloping jumps and had to get clean for our first jog! Lots of braids for Georgie and some brushing of my own hair, and we were jog ready.
Nothing better than hearing “Accepted. No problem” over the loudspeaker after your jog.
We hurried back to the stables in order to have time to get on some trucks and head out to learn our roads and tracks course. The entire course is in canola fields. It’s amazingly beautiful and the footing is perfect. The steeplechase is held on turf basically. You couldn’t ask for anything better. Roads and tracks took us until about 7pm and by then I was exhausted and hungry. And incredibly excited for the coming few days.
Thursday my dressage ride time wasn’t until 5:09 but the three Novice riders had dressage and xc so we were all plenty busy. And of course, one of the Novice riders xc time overlapped with my dressage time. So my trainer warmed her up and my friend Haley warmed me up. I’ve clearly grown up because I wasn’t upset at all that I wouldn’t have my coach there to warm me up. I knew what I needed to do, and knew Haley would be sure to remind me to keep my chin up and reins short.
Georgie felt relaxed in warm up and while she wasn’t as easy to put together as she has been in the past, she was willing to try. Going into our test, I honestly felt like it would be fine. We’d be middle of the pack and hopefully I could give a thoughtful, accurate and consistent test. I wished Georgie was a bit looser in her neck and back, but it was what it was.
Entering the large arena for the second time in my life I was a bit intimidated. So many letters. Everything seems so far away. It was going well until the leg yield left, something we have been working so hard on. I didn’t give Georgie a good approach to it and she got a bit stuck. It felt like forever to get to S. The rest of the test was fine. I left the arena thinking “That was fine. Not great. But fine.” Haley complimented me on an accurate test, but agreed it wasn’t AMAZING. It felt more forward and relaxed than Inavale’s had, but the large arena just kind of made me nervous and it was unfamiliar territory.
Coach Sarah was eager to hear how it went and seemed disappointed when I told her “Eh. It was ok.”
About an hour later, I checked my scores. I think I gasped when I saw I was sitting in 4th out of 25 competitors. I hit refresh, thinking something loaded wrong. I was still in fourth when the screen reappeared.
I never go into a 3 Day thinking I will be in the top 10. These are some serious competitors, all who had to qualify, and many who are pros. The top two pairs were professionals. And they were less than one rail away from me.
YES! Our dressage work HAD paid off. And I didn’t even think it was the best we could do. When I got my test I had some great comments. Honest comments. Helpful comments. I was really thankful for that.
So going into endurance day in 4th place I knew I had to ride well and not make stupid mistakes. So, stay tuned to hear how it goes!