I was so excited to get to ALW I was like a kid at Christmas, waking up at 6am with those little excited butterflies in my tummy fluttering away. I'd done all my preparation and felt ready to put everything into practise and had my chimp semi under control (or at least he was quiet for the moment). We arrived with plenty of time to walk the course, have a look around and get ready. My lovely YO had plaited and quarter marked Buddy so he was looking mega smart and I was ready to show him off.
|Looking smart in his 'The Herbal Horse' kit|
Off to show jumping and B was feeling rather sharp as I walked down to the warm up. I hate SJ warm ups and so I know I get tense and B was really playing on it so I started jumping quite quickly after going in. He was feeling bright over the cross pole and I had it my head 'shimmy, fanny, leg' after my lesson with G but I really struggle to let go when B charges the last stride and with the stress of competition I held instead of shimmied and he was just crashing through all the poles. He respected the oxer I popped so I went in hoping that the fillers would back him off a bit in the ring.
SJ round: https://youtu.be/Xq-VN3Yfv70
We ended up having two poles as he was just fighting me. They were my poles as I just didn't ride well enough.. I was defensive into the first (no idea why as he was so onward bound), he charged to the second, we had a nice jump over 3 and 4 (as I actually rode) then got close to 5 and took the pole with his front legs. Watching the video I let my reins get far too long, I should have shortened them several times round the course but I didn't and so they got long, he got long and that's why we had the last. Annoying as they are my poles but I think I might also need to have a look at the bitting again.
|Galloping towards the last|
I wasn't especially happy with my performance as I knew I could have ridden better and we wouldn't have had the run outs at 14ab but I couldn't have done anything about the first one. I know I still don't ride as well at a competition so that will come with time but I also need to have a look at the bitting again as I think I need to either put two reins on the Pelham or find something else and as I struggle with one set of reins (!) I think I'll really struggle with two right now. I am delighted though that he is really starting to look for his fences (usually from the next class up) and is thoroughly enjoying his XC now so that's my positive from the day. Realistically I think he finds this all a bit too small and too easy and he is probably ready to step up but I'm not completely comfortable taking that next step as I will need to be totally positive, help him out a bit more and as I haven't ridden competitively at 100 level for 15 years it feels like a big step for me and where things become a bit more serious.
|Buddy's just read his upcoming schedule!|