Another outing to tick off our list this weekend!
We went out to a trailblazer qualifier at a local equestrian venue, where I decided I would put Bob in at the higher heights after his positive performance the week before.
A bit of a stressful morning before getting ready for the show (think this is becoming a trend!) as somehow I had managed to lose the immobiliser part of my key for the horse box, frantic and panicked searching of my car, bag, the yard, field and round the horse box – but nowhere in sight. A frenzied early morning wakeup call to the other half asking him to search every bag he could find whilst I tore my hair out searching all over the yard and car again. Luckily I got the call to say it had been in one of my other bags when it snapped off – Phew! Big sigh of relief on that one! Crisis averted, fob collected and off to fuel up the vehicle before getting the bumbling giant in to groom. He had been a bit flighty with the others in the field due to the wind but was good coming down to the yard. I started the normally grooming routine and was pleased to see where I had pre-empted the mud and put oil on his coat, the mud just fell away yay. Then I got to the legs – uh oh – a big cut down the inside of the left hind cannon bone, and a nick above the coronet band – caused by his careless careering round the field in the wind!
Luckily I managed to clean it (with a few kicks at my arms) and get some barrier cream on it, he wasn’t sore and there was no bleeding or swelling so we decided it was good to go for the show. He loaded first time which was great – he’s getting good at this now considering a year ago he would take up to 40 minutes of battling with me! We arrived and managed to park on the grass which was good as he had time to settle and have a munch, giving us a chance to sort things before tacking up. We had a while to wait for our class but it did him good as he got more experience of the environment and the warm up arena – which I am pleased to say he behaved brilliantly in – we even managed some good canter circles and trot in outline fully controlled!! He also behaved brilliantly when they brought the tractor down to harrow the arena – not flinching once. Soon it was our turn to go in and he was raring to go, he was very fast but again he listened and slowed when asked, clearing all the jumps with lots of air, and pleasing to me was one of only 7 horses through to the jump off as he achieved a clear. He definitely gave the judges a good show as on leaving the arena he got his own round of applause from them haha! The jump off was next and we were third to go, I think he had become a bit frazzled by this point as people were geeing up their horses in preparation, so by the time we went in speed was not an issue but consistency was. We managed a few lovely jumps but had a few poles due to a disagreement on speed – something we need to work on but all in all I was pleased with him and he still achieved 7th.
We were also in the next height which we had only ever jumped once about a year before – and I have to say he jumped even better! One of the jumps apparently he jumped absolutely massively, or so I was told by a few people – I can’t remember which one but I did feel him propel us both upwards. I had been a bit nervous about the round but luckily thanks to him had nothing to fear. A slightly slower round but good jumping again and clear! The jump off however went the same way as the previous one – speed issues costing us poles so this is something I want to address in our lesson next week, but on the plus side the fences were higher and it’s the highest we have jumped out. He still managed a fourth place though which was great and we did our first ever lap of honour (at other venues we have gone too they seemed to stop doing them) – I was initially going to not do it but felt he needed to get used to it – and what did he do.. behaved very well! I kept him a bit back from the others and he trotted and cantered well, a bit quick to catch up with the others but never once out of control! It has been a fab start to the year for him and our goal of affiliating is getting closer!