Monday, March 7, 2011

Playing in Aiken

So my eventing season successfully started off early this year with two long weekend trips to Aiken!! The first weekend, February 18-20, Zara and Baby competed at the Preliminary and Novice levels at the Paradise Farm Horse Trials. We arrived in Aiken around 3 in the morning on Friday and slept a little before dressage for the girls that day. Despite the tiredness from the long drive, I had a great test on Zara and a decent test on Baby; the beautiful weather certainly helped to raise my spirits for the day, coming from snowy rainy Maryland! Zara got a 34.1, putting her 9th of 23 entries, and Baby got a 35.2, putting her 12th of 27 entries. Saturday was stadium for Baby and cross country for Zara - the morning started off early with a great clean round for Baby, and success continued with a fantastic clean ride for Zara, with just a few time penalties. Her ride was by far the best that she had put forth for me yet in cross country, as she really focused on the jumps and seemed very comfortable in a couple of the more challenging questions of the course, like the skinny to the coffin combination, roll top to corner, and through the table and 1 stride over brush into the water. The next day was cross country for Baby and stadium for Zara. Baby went first, showing her first show of the season green side, with one stop at a spooky dark with light stripes table jump, and a bad moment where she became preoccupied with a nearby jump instead of hers. Im not sure if her second problem should have been listed as a stop, since we were pretty far out from the fence and weren't even facing it (she was spooking at a biig unlabeled corner to the right of our jump, before we made the left turn towards her jump). Besides these moments, she went around the course pretty confidently, without glancing at anything else and making time. Since Zara's stadium was after, I didn't have a chance to get to scores to question the second refusal. Zaras stadium was brilliant and smooth, pulling no rails and making time; she made her third prelim of her career and first prelim of the season look like a piece of cake!! With her clean round, Zara finished 6th in a big, tough prelim division. Baby will be schooling once we are home before her next one!!

The next weekend in Aiken was March 4-6 at the Sporting Days Farm horse trials. Unfortunately Baby was left behind for this trip due to a minor lameness from a lost shoe on Thursday morning, but Zara traveled fine alone. This time we arrived with a whole day to get rested before competing on Saturday, however since Zara was in season already I knew dressage would have potential for disaster. Dressage on Saturday morning went as expected, a little rushed and a little tight. We received a 48.6, which I thought was a little harsh considering our test may have had tense moments, but also had some very good moments which received scores the same as our poorer moments. Oh well. In stadium, Zara needed a little extra help lifting her feet; the course had challenged many riders with a few rails here and there. Zara pulled the second jump, and after this I rode a little harder to keep her feet up. She ended up one second over time also. Her cross country ride went great, with no jump or time penalties, and a good, confident, strong ride over the course. She ended up placing 14th of 22. I am thinking after this weekend I may get her on depo and not have to worry about "bad mare days," since prior to this event her dressage had been much more relaxed and smooth.

Our next event will be back in area 2, starting with the Morven Park Spring horse trials on April 2. Hopefully, both of the mares will be up and running properly for that one!

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