Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Solidifying our Confidence at Advanced - 5th at Fairhill!

GRC photos from Morven Intermediate

 GRC photos from Fairhill Advanced

After returning home from Aiken, with the consult of Sally, I decided that it would be best for Zara to assure her confidence before continuing at the advanced level. We went to the Horse Trials at Morven park and had a great ride around the intermediate.
We then moved on to do the Fairhill Advanced, where I also got to scope out the CIC*** course. In the dressage Zara was certainly having a grumpy day, as despite having a very nice, relaxed warm up, she choked a bit on the canter entrance, making our trot work have more tension than we have in schooling. The canter work was improved, despite her attitude about the flying changes. The judge was kind enough to consider each movement separately, awarding Zara good marks on her walk work which we have been schooling a lot.
I walked cross country with Sally, and felt confident about the course. The ground was quite hard, but we decided to run and it rode softer than it walked the day before. Zara had a pretty great ride around the course, with only a few small areas that could have been improved. The main issue we had was a misunderstanding about the skinny cabin, through steep downhill road crossing, up to a longer cabin. We went in slow and smooth to the skinny cabin, but Zara decided that the very steep hill was a bank and leaped down into the road, unsettling me a bit. Luckily for me, she was already locked on and going to the cabin at the top of the next hill, so I set my hands wide, sat back and let her take me to it. What a smart mare! The next 2 jumps suffered from the bit of confusion, as we trotted the hanging log and then I pushed her back up into a strong step for the 2 roll tops through the water and out over the skinny. We took a straighter line than I had walked, but with the step and power I had at the time, it was a better choice for her to have a big confident step through them than a more collected bending line we had planned. Our neighbor in the barns, Susan Beebee commented, "you rode her socks off at that water!" The very next jump was the fish tank table, which was the cause of our troublesome experience in the CCI** last fall, and we conquered it perfectly. We finished with a clean round and about 5 time penalties.
Stadium the next day was a bit tough, especially with the hard ground in the warmup and in the ring. Many people were having rails, in fact, Sally was the only clean ride in my division. Zara warmed up well, but felt a little sticky in the ring. We had the first rail but went clean the rest of the way around to place us 5th in the division.

Next we will do MCTA Advanced.

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