I always love VHT because it is so close to home! Despite that fact, we still got there after dark and I didn't get to walk the course with Molly, but the plan was to walk it and then talk to her about it. The course was relatively nice, it didn't seem to have anything too difficult. My biggest worry was the corner on course, which came after the barrels, down a steep hill, and required a right turn to the corner. Molly's instructions were to just make sure that I had him together going into the corner, even if it meant going to the bottom of the hill and nearly stopping before turning.
Dressage went okay for us, Octavian was acting distracted in warm up. The new warm up ring at the horse center is a huge improvement, I think Octavian was just surprised at the fact that he could peek over the fence and see the other dressage arena, so he did that a lot. Eventually he settled down though. We managed somehow not to be too distracted in arena 'C' (I always have to ride in that arena, the one by the woods, where you can also see the other dressage ring down the hill). We did however have another brief tantrum, right at C, I asked for a little more bend and he swung his haunches in, I corrected it and going into our lengthening we had a couple of canter strides in the corner, but we managed to recover to do the rest of our lengthening. The rest of the test wasn't bad, our canter was much improved which is a big deal because Octavian has such a difficult canter! As always, I wasn't sure what our score would be.
Octavian felt asbolutely wonderful warming up for cross country. At Difficult Run, Molly had suggested that I get him moving off of my leg by doing gallop-canter transitions. Those really seemed to help a lot, and I used them again while warming up for cross country. Octavian felt wonderful on course, he was listening so well it seemed like he could read my mind. On top of it all, we were having a lot of fun! I was still a litle worried about the corner, but thankfully Octavian was willing to listen. After the barrels, he was strong going down the hill, so I did head toward the trees and really collect him before turning torward the corner. The rest of the course went really well. I knew that I was going to have a few time penalties, but again that wasn't a big priority for us at the time.
I had only jumped in the coliseum once before, in the fall, and our round had not been all that great. I was naturally a little nervous about the coliseum. I walked my stadium course with Molly, who also helped us warm up before going in. She kept telling me to gallop, which I didn't understand completely at the time (but did it anyway), I could have kept more impulsion in my stadium course, but we only had one rail, a vertical at an offset to the ingate. We also had a few sticky spots, but toward the middle of the course they started to improve. We also ended up with 3 time penalties, our first time ever getting time penalties in stadium, however the time seemed really hard to make.
Once again, I was pretty happy coming away from the weekend and was becoming really excited about the new bond I was forming with Octavian. We were really starting to build new trust for each other in all phases. We had our sights set on Rubicon.