Two weeks ago Penny and I tacked our last event of the season. This time we wanted redemption - from our run out at Glen Oro farms a few weeks earlier. We were entered at the Training level for Woodwind Horse Trials, the last event on the OHTA calendar. Ride times were decent and I didn't have to leave too early for the 4 hour drive. Out the driveway at 4am and I picked Jessica up along the way to help groom and take pics.
Weather Gods were on our side. We had a nice calm day, sunny, and 13c degrees. Penny was much more relaxed, without the trouble of Mia screaming her velvet nose off all day. I walked my courses and then tacked up for dressage. I was excited to use my new heart stencil for the first time - and I LOVE the results! So cute, and really look great on Miss Pen. Dressage warm up was fantastic. She was relaxed, supple, listening. I was thrilled - I thought we could actually put in a decent test. She warmed up the best she has ever gone. Soon it was my turn and I trotted straight around the ring. The bell rang and I did my final circle, turn, and down centreline. Wouldn't you know it, the minute her foot entered the ring she threw her head in the air and flung it up and down for all of her trot work.
The nice relaxed Penny was gone and replaced with a very unhappy and tense horse. We managed to keep it together but alas the horse in the warm up would not transfer over the horse in the ring. We were last after dressage out of 10. UGH. I am not sure how to work this out of her, I guess I can just keep taking her to schooling shows and hope she gets over it. It is really interesting how she knows the pressure is on once she is in the ring. Where some horses start to really perform once they enter (like William) - Penny just melts down. Regardless - the pressure was off us for the rest of the day and the goal was jump around and have some fun.
|can we not bring this INTO the ring???|
After the disappointing dressage ride it was time to shake it off and get ready for stadium. The course looked fine and the footing was a little slick so I put the big corks in and we were on our way. I usually let Penny choose her pace in the showjumping ring because she knows her job and jumps better from a forward pace. On this day - Miss Pen was a little thrilled to be out. She had major zoomies and was a little too much game. Being the end of season fit, and really getting into it - we were just way too forward and caught 2 rails off the hind end. I know this is unusual for her and I probably didn't ride enough through the course so I wasn't upset - I still had the ride of a lifetime. She is simply fun. Fun, fun. I think it's safe to say that Penny has increased my confidence in the jumper ring 5 fold. The placings were so all over the place that my two rails still moved me up to 7th of 10. There was only a handful of clears and there was a 20 point spread from first to 5th.
|having the best time|
|preparing for zoomies|
With showjumping over we only had one job left to complete - and that was to come home clear cross country. Woodwinds is incredibly hilly so I knew the time would be a challenge to achieve - but Penny has a huge natural gallop and she loves to gallop down hills so I was confident we had an advantage. The course itself was big - very upright with some tricky lines and combinations. I had a plan to ride every single fence and knew I could not deviate from the plan because the instant I do that, we have an issue. There was a large corner on course and it was looking a little old and worn out - it was alone in the middle of the field. I decided to take the option since we hadn't schooled since our last problem and wanted to finish on a good note.
Penny was excited in the warm to say the least and my plan was to let her gallop to the first few fences on course to let off some speed. She seems to also jump better if you leave her alone and let her go at her own pace. We entered the start box and before I knew it we were off.
|3, 2, 1....|
After the first fence you gallop up a long hill and jump a tiger trap. Then its a long gallop back down the hill to a max table with an upright face. This jump gave me the willys but Penny took care of me and sailed over. Onto fence four which was a bank at the very top of the hill, with three strides on an angle to a skinny. This was a concern for me so I jumped up the bank - yelled "circling", turned wide and gave myself room to regather for the skinny. Penny flew over it no issues and we cantered on toward the ski jump. The ski jump was on a huge hill with a 75% incline. Penny cantered down most of it and broke to trot at the bottom - thankfully because there was a sharp turn through the woods to our next fence.
|over the skinny|
|LOVE the fall colours|
Our clear round moved us up to a 5th place finish - and 2nd in the Sr (our class was combined with Open). What an absolutely perfect way to end our season. Sure, we may not be winners yet. We may not have the dressage down pat - but I have my red velvet rocket taking me safely and successfully around Training level, and this year that is all I could ask for. I can not express the love I have for this horse...she gives me her all and I will continue to do the same for her. A perfect end to our season.
|Love of my life|