Thursday, September 18, 2008

Five Points & Recent Happenings

We have recently returned from the Carolina Horse Park. We had somemwhat of a rough weekend, but not one that was without learning experiences. Once again, I thought that our dressage was not as good as it could have been, Octavian felt a bit tense in the neck in the canter and not as soft and supple as he has been recently. I was thrilled to find that my dressage score was a 37 once again. We were 10th out of 21 after dressage in another open division.
I was really excited about the cross country course. It was another big, yet forward course with some challenging combinations. I had some concerns about the mushroom and corner on course (there's a theme here, corners and skinnies are our difficult fences). The course ended up riding very well. We were clear over both the mushroom and the corner, but unfortunately had a stop at the bank at 13ab. We were to jump up a bank, and then there was a bounce to a log on top. There was an option, however I felt that the bank was similiar to the one at Difficult Run, which was also a bounce bank, and therefore did not feel like we needed to take the option. I was wrong! I was really wanting to go clear, especially since this is our last cross country run before Morven, but Octavian was perfect over everything else so I can complain too teribbly much.
Sunday morning Octavian looked good and his legs were cool and tight. We warmed up well for stadium on Sunday, but when we were in the ring everything fell apart. Octavian was backing off to every fence and was not feeling like himself. We had a stop at the second fence in the in and out. I retired after our stop. Octavian is usually very enthusiastic and his antics were not characteristic of him.
The vet will be coming out on the 23rd to correct his passport (it was rejected...we triple checked but still made a few mistakes) and will be checking him over then to make sure that everything is all right. This week Octavian feels back to himself and does not seem to sore or stiff. If the report is clean from the vet, we will be heading out to Plain Dealing to have a lesson with Monday the Sunday before Morven, and then will be off to Morven the following Thursday.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Difficult Run & Loudoun

Octavian and I have had a busy couple of months. We headed off to Difficult Run at the end of last month. We had what felt like our best dressage test yet, but scored a 44.1. The judge's comments were very constructive, and although I feel like the score was harsh, in the long run it's a good thing because we were able to learn more from being scored harshly. Saturday afternoon I was able to walk the stadium and cross country course with Molly. Although I had seen the course before, it was nice to hear again how I should ride each fence. Although the staff and organizers of DRPC did a wonderful job working on the footing, it was still very hard due to the lack of rain. I was a little worried and had already decided that I would not be riding for time the next day.

We had a double clear stadium round on Sunday. Octavian still felt midly excited, but he did a good job of keeping his attention on me. The cross country course was once again a lot of fun. The course at Difficult Run is very forward and gallopy. Octavian started out being a bit sticky, but torward the end of the course we had found our rhthym. We ended up with 5th place finish out of a division of 18. I was very pleased as it was also an open division. I was relieved that we had followed Molly's advice and gone around a course that we had been around before to get back into the swing of things.

The next wekeend at Loudoun was very exciting. We were stabled at Morven Park, and it was nice to see the facility before October. On Saturday, we had dressage and stadium at the Oatlands. Our dressage test was not quite as good as our test at Difficult Run, but it was much improved from tests that we had done earlier in the season. Our shoulder-ins were not very good, and we had one hiccup doing one of our lengthenings, but overall it was not a bad test. I was only able to walk half of the stadium course that morning, but the course looked like fun. We did not have a bad round. I felt like I made a few mistakes that Octavian had to deal with and saved us in a few places. He was a little sticky after the first fence. He got rolling going down the hill to fence 2, and then we had a difficult uphill turn to the next fence. I did not see the distance correctly and we rubbed the rail, which fell when we were about 3 strides away. It turned out that our dressage test was better than I thought, we ended up with a 37 and were tied for 6th. Our rail in stadium dropped us down a few places.

We had cross country on Sunday. The course seemed big, but looked like it would be nice and gallopy. There were several combinations on the course. There was a chevron at the third fence, and a corner at the 9th. These two fences were my biggest worries. The chevron rode well, but unfortunately I rode a bad line to the corner and we had a runout. The rest of the course, however, rode beautifully and I was really happy with Octavian.