Moe and I survived yesterday’s show, and while it certainly wasn’t our best finish, I feel like it was pretty okay for taking most of the last decade off. Yesterday had some definite high points, and some less than stellar stuff.
Johnny and I left the house at 4:15 AM so we could get to the barn by 5 AM. I fed Moe breakfast, and we hooked up to the trailer while Moe ate. He loaded up fine, but as I was trying to squeeze past him to exit (since the trailer doesn’t have escape doors), he got startled, pulled back, and flew out of the trailer backwards at a very high speed. He was totally chill upon exit and appeared unharmed, so I stuck him back in, ducked under the divider instead of moving him over, and off we went. We left around 6 AM; it’s a two hour drive to the venue, and my ride time was a 9 AM. I figured by time we parked and got checked it, I’d have about half an hour of warmup before our test.
Getting the the venue was easy, although it took about 2 hours and 20 minutes. By time we parked (by which I mean by time I made several precarious turns and drove around a very bumpy field) and I set off to locate the show office, it was 8:30. I found the show office (which wasn’t marked at all) and checked in. I was informed my ride time was actually 8:50 AM. When I inquired about a map for the cross country, I got a map from May’s recognized show and was told that not all of the jumps were being used and to find the course designer or show organizer to figure out which ones were being jumped this time. Um, okay?
Johnny had Moe groomed and tacked up. I got a leg up and off to warmup we went. The dressage warmup and arena were set up in a field, which is usually fine by me. You know, when they’re free of holes. There was big divet in the arena by E, which didn’t make a big difference for us, but made me think that hanging out with the dressage people has started to make me go soft. Or sane. You decide!
Moe was somewhat tense, but had some nice moments in the trot and canter, a nice square halt, and apparently, a nice forward trot. I was thrilled with the 38.5 and felt like it was fair. That’s also (sadly) a personal best for us. We’re usually somewhere in the mid-40s. All that dressage work with the children has really paid off!
I untacked Moe and left him tied up to the trailer with hay and water while we embarked on what can only be described as a cross country adventure. No one else appeared to be walking the course, presumably because they were all familiar with it. I found the show organizer, who told me the order of the jumps while pointing in their general direction. I asked if they were flagged, and she said some jumps were, others weren’t, and the numbers weren’t totally correct. Super! She also informed me that I should be ready to go in about 25 minutes. (I’d been given a ride time of 10:25 AM; I ended up riding the course around 10:10 AM.)
The first two jumps were a log and a brush box that were easy enough to see. The third jump, described as “barrels” was super confusing- there were 3 different barrel options, none of them marked, and none of them obviously novice. One looked like it might be starter, another beginner novice, and a third that was about 200 feet away from the first two, looked sort of novice-y in height. It also had the best approach to the next jump, an empty water jump that led to a jump up a bank and then a two stride to a roll top. A two stride from an up bank to a maxed out roll top. I miss eventing from 10 years ago, when it was all big logs and only vaguely related distances. I got a little lost after this, but I fortunately encountered the course designer who led me to the next jumps, a little cabin to a ditch. (There were about 3 strides between the cabin and the ditch.) Then it was on to a big, bright blue set of steps, another brush box, another up bank, a candy-cane colored roll top, and a bench to finish the course. I felt fine about everything except the bank to the roll top.
The course rode kind of weirdly- lots of tight or awkward turns. Moe started out very strong and seemed happy to be doing something that wasn’t dressage. He tripped up the bank and stopped at the rolltop (mostly because he nearly fell on top of it). I reapproached and he went over it, then flew over the back half of the course (and tripped up the second bank, too). Johnny has a brief video of the last few jumps, which I’ll post at some point once he’s emailed it to me.
Back at the trailer, I sponged Moe off and loosened his girth. I didn’t bother to untack him; I gave us both about a 10 minute rest before I walked down to the stadium area. It was in a grass field, too (but with less divets than the dressage ring). I trotted Moe over one warmup jump- he was feeling a little tired after XC, plus he knows what his job is. I watched a few people before me jump the course before I went. I miraculously remembered where I was supposed to be going, and we pulled one rail on a jump that I thought rode pretty well. I was very pleased with the stadium phase- Moe jumped well, I saw most of my distances, and there were no shenanigans.
I ended up 4th of 4, thanks to my cross country stop and the rail. I’m not too upset about it; after all, I haven’t really done any eventing in the last decade, and neither has Moe. He put in a good (for him) test, had a great stadium round, and was mostly good on cross country.
We left before noon. When we got home, I discovered a big cut on Moe’s left hind heel. My best guess is that he sliced it open flailing backwards out of the trailer; Johnny tacked him up for me, but either didn’t notice or forgot to tell me about the cut. Moe certainly wasn’t lame and he didn’t mind all my poking and prodding it. I slathered some ointment on it and sprayed it with AluShield, so we’ll see how it heals up. (I imagine he’ll be fine.) I’m going to give him a few days off to heal and rest, and then I suppose we’ll be back at it.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad show. The organization of it was maybe a little questionable, but beggars can’t be choosers. It’s the only place in a 2 hour radius that has any kind of eventing!