Last fall, I was eleminated at Difficult Run. The rolling irish bank had caught us off guard. The weekend after the fall horse trial, we had gone out and schooled the bank, which turned out to be lots of fun. I remember thinking that the course seemed big and daunting in August of 2007. We had three stops at the bank and were eleminated. So, coming back to Difficult Run was a little bit nerve racking. I felt more confident about our abilities this spring then I had in the fall, but I was just hoping we could use them well for this event.
We were having trouble warming up for dressage. Unfortunately the dressage ring is right by the cross country course, and Octavian was consistently glancing over at the jumps instead of concentrating. We went into the ring tense, but thankfully had no tantrums. Once again, I was not expecting a decent score at all, I wasn't pleased with our ride, we had made lots of improvements at home in weekly dressage lessons with Gabriele Hooten, and I was a little dissapointed that we were instead too tense to put in the test that we were capable of.
I walked my course with Molly later that afternoon, and was pleasently surprised to find that the course seemed small to me and the combinations seemed straightforward. The course looked like a lot of fun with plenty of chances to develop a really nice galloping rhthym. I wasn't too worried about anything, not even the irish bank. I was really looking forward to riding the course the next day. My dressage score turned out to be a 43, which was not as bad I was expecting.
The next day we warmed up for stadium, and I didn't feel as if Octavian was listening very well, once again, the warm up ring for stadium was by the cross country course which proved to be a distraction for us. Our stadium course did not go very well, I rode badly, panicked and asked for a couple of early spots which were quite ugly and resulted in 2 rails down. It was clear that our stadium needed work.
Octavian was feeling much better warming up for cross country. We had an amazing cross country round, he was listening super well, and the galloping did prove to be lots of fun. It was our first clear cross country round in a long time, and upon crossing the finish line I was absolutely thrilled. Octavian felt like a completely different horse! He didn't hesitate anywhere on course and seemed to have an absolute blast. We did have a few time penalties, but that didn't matter to me so much.
After this event, I was really starting to feel the effects of learning becoming more educated in all areas of my riding. It was a great feeling.