A victory is a victory

So we went to a local unrecognized HT on Sat and once again I am over the moon in love with Uno.  We only did GAG - knowing that it would be easy so I could work on feeling confident.  We also went without my trainer, so it was a real test of what my brain would do.  Spoiler alert my brain was not great.

This is a long-standing but lightly attended show.  The jumping is always very soft on height, and the XC is always more terrain questions than jump questions.  There were 13 people running in our division so they split it into 2 classes.  It rained pretty hard and GAG was last in the day (we were actually the last rider of the day).  Pro's we didn't have to leave home until 10:45; Con's the ground was not the best.

For dressage Uno was LIT!!!  Hubby was actually really helpful and reminded me to ride square corners and move his shoulders until he softens.  The test itself was actually pretty good!  We got 7s and 7.5s for most movements, minus the one circle where he thought a puddle was going to eat him and would not hold his bend because if he took his eyes off the puddle WE WOULD DIE!!!  Then an 8!!!! for our free walk and a 7.5 for the medium walk after!!!!!  Please celebrate this - Uno is the king of thinking that any change in contact means he should trot. I am particularly pleased with this.  Then the score that kept us out of the 20s - a 5 for our final center line because I missed the turn onto the center line COMPLETELY... oops.  Our final score was a 31.

Then we walked cross country.  The GAG runs the Maiden course, but only has 7 mandatory fences.  My goal was to go out and jump as much as I could.  There were a few I planned to skip that I jumped, one I planned to skip that I skipped, and one that I planned to jump that scared the shit out of me on the horse that I skipped.  The highlights were faux up and down banks, slithering down a very steep mud hill, a winding course through the woods that meant that a lot of the jumps appeared around corners with only a few strides to line up. Then a steep climb out of the woods with a tiny tiger trap on an angle on the hill.  Then a few jumps in the top field, then a jump coming down a hill on a tree line.   There were 15 jumps in total.  I planned to jump at least 10 but made "just in case" plans.

Then onto the stadium.  I watched the Maiden go and I really thought that all but one jump looked ok - the one that scared me was an oxer, but it was the only one that I was scared of on the course.  There was a warm-up oxer that looked huge and terrifying. The GAG was cross rails - so it was not really a test of anything except my brain.  Could I let go in front of the jump?

Answer: mostly.

I jumped the first 2 great then just held the whole way to fence 3... and got a super awkward jump.  Instead of flailing, I am really proud that I made to choice to trot if I felt like holding.  It is better to trot forward than to canter holding.  Uno just calmly did everything - except stop after crossing through the finishing gate. He knew XC was next and was totally happy to just keep cantering.

As we were queuing at the start gate a girl fell in the top field and we had to wait out catching a loose horse.  This was a blessing because Uno finally relaxed.  Around cross country he was perfect.  I kept the same mental game of trotting forward instead of cantering while holding.  The last 5 jumps on the course really felt great and he was absolutely a star.  

They mixed up our time with another rider so we were originally given 19-time penalties, and we dropped from first to 3rd.  Then we realized what had happened (the other rider was parked next to us), I texted the office, but I really did not care about the ribbon. We finished on our dressage score and WON.  

Most importantly, Uno celebrated by breaking down the dry lot fence and letting everyone out at 4 in the morning!


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