I forgot to mention that on Thursday morning, before my dressage ride, there was a course walk for 3Day competitors with either Jonathan Holling or Sharon White. For the T3D we had our course walk with Sharon. I’m a fan of Wundermaske, so this was a bit of a “oh my God I am hanging with a celebrity” moment for me. She had some GREAT insight on the course. Which jumps to gallop, how to approach some of the trickier questions. I walked away feeling really confident and excited. That evening, post dressage, post dinner and post a couple of beers, I went to walk the course with my trainer.
I’ll be honest. The course is a move up course. But, it didn’t look all that challenging to me. But then, the minute I thought that, I thought “What is wrong with you Nadia??? You’re horse could stop, or get cheeky, and the MINUTE you get complacent you will fall onto the ground and have a wake up call.” So, I took the course seriously and made it my mission to have the best ride we’d ever had.
We had a long gallop to a brushy oxer table thing, Jump 10, (I need to start taking pics) and after that we headed left to another table. Getting from the table to jump 11 was a really weird line. They hadn’t mowed a path, which was odd, so trainer and I couldn’t really figure out why the course went this way. We figured something out and moved on. There was a GREAT coffin complex. A tough one. And I was really excited about it. I can’t wait to get the video! And two good water questions. One was a raised log, into the water, out over a corner. Second one we came down a hill, into the water, jumped a brushy rolltop in the water and then out over a log.
The morning of xc day I went to run my course to get it sealed into my brain for good. As I was jogging away from the weird table with no direct path, a woman rode her bike over to me and asked if I was walking the 3 Day course. I replied that I was, but it was the Training course, not Novice (which was currently running and I thought she wanted to know what jumps were on it.)
This kind stranger then proceeded to keep me from getting eliminated. She told me the weird table was on the regular Training course, NOT the 3 Day course. My jump was a straight line from the brushy oxer table, and had a clear line to the jump after it.
OH MY GOD.
I thanked her profusely, told her I would hug her if I wasn’t so sweaty and thanked my lucky stars she had been out there when I was. I also learned the following:
- Don’t drink before your course walk
- Your trainer will assume that since you are a) an adult b) an experienced rider at this point and c) have already walked your course once, that you will know and remember your course and she will not need to be checking the flags at every jump. Yes, we walked it correctly with Sharon. I just was too star struck to remember it.
I ran the correct line after learning my mistake and not surprisingly, it rode way better.
I admitted the mistake to my trainer, and now to all of you, so I feel like I have learned my lesson and we can put this in the past. And thank my lucky stars for not getting a TE.
I don’t even know what to say about endurance day, so I’ll make it short and sweet. Phase A was fun and Georgie was forward but not frantic. Phase B, steeplechase, was AMAZING. We came in 19 seconds too fast. Way better than Galway where we ran 30 seconds too fast. But she felt so game and I think she really enjoyed it as much as I did. Speed is 520 mpm, so you’re hauling. But it just feels effortless.
I’m mostly a blip in the horizon for most of the video but it’s still fun…
Phase C is recovery. And I let Georgie recover. We did some walking, trotting and more walking. I saw I had about 3 minutes to spare as I headed into the vet box, so I made her walk into the box,rather than trotting in frantically. Vet box was routine (yay!) and then we were off to Phase D, our xc course!
Jumps 1&2 rode perfectly. Nice galloping fences. Jump 3 was supposed to be an easy jump as well. Basically a table, but with little rounded stools in front of it and flowers in front of those, so a bit ascending. The wind was blowing and the flowers were flying back and forth. I worried Georgie would be spooky so instead of just supporting her with a more solid leg, I pulled back a little. We got a bit of an awkward distance and she landed cross cantering. Our next jump was the jump that ended up having the most stops. The Trakkener. We cross cantered over to it, she got looky, slowed down, I put my leg on and said “GO ON” and we cruised over it. The rest of the course felt fast (speed was 470mpm) and really, really good. I only brought her back to jumps that needed it, (hello coffin complex!) and galloped most jumps right out of stride. She was the most rideable she’s ever been and I was the most relaxed and willing to just let her gallop I’ve ever been. We cruised through the finish flags with 17 seconds to spare. Within 5 minutes of being in the box Georgie felt ready to go back to her stall. We got lucky with a nice cool day, and she was eating grass and bored before we were even released. I love having a fit pony.
I was excited to have tackled the course and to have felt so confident about it. I didn’t check my scores until much much later and was stunned to see we had moved into 2nd place. My immediate reaction was “I don’t want to be in 2nd. Second place is a foreign place to be!” But then I was like “Damn. You’re in second in the Training 3 Day! You hoped to be in 11th or 12th all weekend!”
But I also knew that we had SJ the following day and odds were, I wouldn’t be in 2nd for long. And I know I shouldn’t go into SJ with that attitude, but if you look at our stats, we drop rails. I kinda hoped the other pairs dropped rails consistently too…. Being in second place made me feel more adamant about riding well. Because if I rode well, actually if I rode perfectly, maybe we wouldn’t have rails.
I decided to enjoy 2nd place and not worry about SJ until the following day. And so the suspense continues. For those of you that didn’t stalk scores or read comments from my previous post, lol.