|zoooooooomies -photo cred CHunter|
On Sunday TTE headed to one of our favorite events - Touch A Rainbow Horse Trials! William was entered in the Pre Entry Open division again. This time we had a decent amount of riders in our class - 9 total. I recently had the greatest discovery of all time when I decided to take a few minutes and look through the updated rule book. When I landed on the legal dressage bit page - I realized they have made the Mullen Mouth Happy mouth bits legal for dressage now. HALLELUJAH! This is the ONLY bit William will happily accept and go into the contact. Anything jointed he just tries desperately to avoid. With his little parrot mouth, small lips and low palate, finding a comfortable bit has been tiresome. Having learned this just three days before our event - I was feeling very excited to be able to show in it!
|being such a good show pony!|
Possibly the greatest accomplishment of the day was when William walked off after I mounted him - without fuss! We headed straight to the dressage warm-up. No backing, no spinning, no being "stuck", and best of all - no bucking! It was almost as if he knew - ok, time to go - and away we went. We had a nice warm up, I was pleased with how he was going and feeling good about our test coming. When our number was called we trotted around the outside twice and the whistle blew - William felt ready and was quite relaxed. He did the best test he has ever done and scored a 46.5 (31 American), landing us in 3rd place after dressage - against some nice competitive dressage horses! Go Willy!
Needless to say I was pretty thrilled with that result. However, we all know what eventing is about and it is never a dressage competition. Pressure was on now to not screw up the other two phases. We had a long 3 hour wait until showjumping. David, who boards at Alaynes, was competing in my division also on his mare Zoe. We walked the cross country twice and then the stadium. I had no worries about cross since we had schooled the course a few weeks prior at the cross country trials. However, William can be funny and a bit looky even with things he has jumped before so I knew I would still have to be on my A game to jump around.
The stadium course was rather small - even for Pre Entry. These tiny courses are difficult to ride when your horse is very forward, as there is nothing there to back them off or demand respect. William was very "on" in the warm up. He knew exactly what was coming and he wanted to eat it alive. He was ready to go...and into the ring we went. Things were a little more forward than I would prefer - but with him forward is much better than balky and backed off so I will take it! Some of the lines were set on an exact half stride and I opted to go for leaving the 1/2 stride out knowing this horse was going to want to zoom zoom around. We were crooked to the 4th fence - a tiny plank and sent the rail flying. We jumped the rest clean and very brave and left the ring with a big smile! We need to work on our waiting and pace skills and I think a few gymnastic lessons should sharpen that. We are definitely ready to hit the next level up in the showjumping ring soon.
I was a little sad about our rail - hoping it wouldn't knock us down the placings since there were quite a few clean rounds. It just meant the pressure was on even more for cross. A stop would surely bump us out of the ribbons and no way was I letting that happen! I had a few minutes to relax then it was time to get back on in all our blue and white gear and head to the start box. William cantered off nice and quietly and jumped the first fence great. I planned to trot down the long laneway in order to kill time - since this course is quite short and the Pre Entry speed is very slow. My plan backfired though because at the end of the lane I realized we only had about 1.15m to finish the course! I kicked it into forward canter mode and we zoomed around the course. William did not look or balk at a single thing - just zoom zoomed around like an old pro. We jumped clean and came home with 2.8 time penalties. Obviously, I was kicking myself for being so dumb about trotting so slow down the long laneway - and I thought for sure we would move down.
Things never work out the way you think they will in eventing - it turns out I wasn't the only one who was too slow. David was the only rider in our division to end with 0 time faults. He moved up from 6th to finish 4th, and I moved up from 3rd to finish 1st! What a surprise! I was excited and so proud of my little Willy. Words just can not express how much love I have for this little horse. He really came into his own this day - and was ready to try his hardest for all phases. He is starting to mature and the future seems promising for him. After all the doubts, struggles, and tears - it seems he will actually be - quite the little event horse.
|David and Zoe - his first event in over 20 years!|