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.