Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

I did that!

Upgraded Sienna to Entry level @ Cedar Run on Sunday. Short version: it was a great day, and it’s all about XC :) Long version… Read on:

I learned something at the show the other day... SuperGroom who's been coming w/ me for years, is evidently a minor deity. She's been holding out on me! But today she was responsible for everything from friendly courses, to turning the rain on and off at appropriate moments, to convincing the windshield wipers to co-operate! Pretty much any random thing and the response was "oh yeah, I did that." Completely flat, serious statement of fact. hahaha hey after an hour's sleep, these things are really funny. And well you should take credit for a job well done! Even if it wasn't necessarily you who did the job >;-P I'm pretty sure it's in The Rules as "take credit for flukes" :) she just took applying it to a whole new level! Now if only we could apply rule 1 as well or as consistently...

Alright so those of you who whine about getting up at the crack of dawn??? Well Nicole, Sienna and I were envying you yesterday! We'd already been up and going for several hours by the time dawn cracked (and we have pics to prove it! Soon :). With a 3:45 load time, my alarm clock went off @ 2:45. Yes that's am. There were groups of uni age types outside who were still up. There was a time, not so long ago, I would've been one of them :) After the reasonably long hike to Thornbury we were the first to arrive on site at about 6:20 (I was aiming for 6:30 so not bad :) I was beyond nervous about this one. I pretty well never get nervous about HTs so this was not a sensation I immediately recognized and once I did I was thoroughly *not* amused. I mean seriously it's ENTRY people -- we're a long way from the Olympics *g*

hahaha fortunately for me the nerves disappeared whenever I was actually ON the horse. Just made the in-between-phases time slightly less fun. On the plus side, I actually got to apply all the things I tell my students n it turns out they work *g* hahaha but what really works best for me is either socializing (who's surprised by this?) or finding someone more nervous than I and talking them out of it :) hahaha Neither of which are tips I generally give other people. *g*

Was a several minute hack over to dressage w/u which was good for Miss Sienna who got a chance to chill on the walk over. Have to admit it was good when a second horse got to w/u to keep her company though! Dr was on grass, which Si's never done before (how strange is that?!?! I run into the most unusual things trying to train an eventer out of a hunter barn -- never would that one have occurred to me till I was doing it). But being a superstar pony she really didn't care. She was NOT a big fan of the giant snakes (ummm those'd be hoses to the rest of us) that were beside the dr ring, but fortunately she got to meet them before the judge rang the bell so it was all good. Our test, while not competitive, was significantly better than the last one we did (admittedly that wouldn't take much, but still -- baby steps!) and it got much better as we went along so that's always a good sign. Judges comments were fair and appropriate to the level.

Stadium ring was HUGE -- they were only using half of it and it was *still* huge. hahaha Like riding on a putting green -- only issue is that as on a putting green, after several days of torrential rain, it had a squishy factor to it and was very slippery. Sienna was actually ok w/ it even w/o corks, but that could be cause we were in early. The attrition rate later in the afternoon due to slipping was pretty brutal.

Anyways, we were the first to go in our division, but they were alternating juniors w/ seniors/open so I was actually 2nd in the ring. In w/u at one point it was just the jr rider and I and her coach cranked the fences a hole or two beyond competition height. Now you have to understand at this point Sienna had never technically jumped competition height intentionally so I was slightly concerned about the first jump on course (*very* poor decision to bring a horse who wasn't ready, and I was fully prepared to scratch her if it was too much, but I know she can jump and she had already schooled the E cross so figured I'd decide then. Hadn't planned on her having a couple wks off right before the show!). Anyways -- girl's coach puts fences up so I figure let's try it and see. Well I'll tell ya, apparently Sienna was just waiting for something interesting to jump. Perfect form, in stride, confident, couldn't've been better. I was thrilled. So by this point the w/u oxer has grown significantly too. Ah why not? hahaha Si rounds the corner, picks it up, and just went for it. Again entirely focused, perfect form, no hesitation, beautiful. Make the world of her and I swear she did the equine version of shrugging her shoulders "yeah? And...?" So the TD shows up at this point and returns the w/u fences to their legal height *g* hahaha First rider goes in the ring and I jump Si over the now very friendly sized fence just so she has "this is easy" in mind when we go in the ring.

And in we go... Course was a totally fair E level course. Some of it seemed big -- but this would be cause we're used to PE *g* Only 3 of the fences were maxed and the only "scary" fence was very small and friendly. A *lot* of oxers though. Definitely did a double take when I saw that -- but really, you ride what's in front of you. No point stressing about it. hahaha 1st fence was good -- picture shows us an extra foot over it. hahaha and who's surprised by this? This will be a prob if she's still overjumping everything like that when we get to prelim! 2nd fence no problem. Rounded the corner to the 3rd and she focused on 4 (which was 6 strides passed 3). Stopped at 3 while looking @ 4. Cleared 3 on the 2nd try and then stopped at 4 for real. *sigh* Tried 4 again - this time proving she can jump maxed E at a trot. hahaha Flew over 5 which was a bit of an issue as it was a bending line, but we made it w/ a bit of assistance from Mr Crop and sheer determination ("I want to go XC! We can't go XC if we get eliminated. Therefore you WILL jump this on the first try"). 7 was a huge (well Entry huge :) oxer but directly towards home so really it rode like a speed bump hahaha and 8 was the "scary castle" which of course Sienna couldn't care less about so we were all good. It was a ride and a half getting her around that course, but since, unlike @ Checkmate, I was actually involved and riding properly this time we pulled it off. Even w/ the stops I was thrilled.

Go walk XC -- now you may remember, the primary reason for upgrading here was because she had jumped the course already right? Yeah -- of all the fences on course, she had jumped 2. And one was in a different location -- as we all know, if you move the jump that makes it a NEW jump. hahaha On the plus side, by this point pony was a little tired. On the down side, by this point pony was a little tired. hahaha tired pony is more sane but also more nappy. Mr. Crop was again brought into the discussion when she started to suck back about 3 strides out of the first fence -- and that was all the reminder necessary. The rest of the course -- I swear it could've been a hunter round. Perfect entry pace (for the non-eventers out there this'd be a reasonably strong canter) -- kept her rhythm all the way around. Got to every fence but one perfectly in stride and she forgave me for that one (there was a twitch of hesitation at the next, but nothing tragic). I certainly had to ride every fence and most of the strides in-between *g*, but it was still way way better than I could ever have dreamed. Have never had a baby XC run go so well before. The course itself -- mostly random logs as one would expect. A few brush fences, a stone wall, etc. AND there was optional water on the course -- was very happy about that. Of course we opted in and Sienna went through no problem. Ended up clear and on time. Wow. I was, and still am, absolutely thrilled. As far as fitness goes -- well she's a TB. hahaha respiration and pulse were back to normal w/in about a minute. She was *very* tired though. Basically spent the afternoon sleeping :) This, however, could also be because I woke her up at 3:00 in the morning! hahaha

So after XC we took care of Sienna and then took care of us (Nicole finally got to change the rubber boots for sunscreen -- ummm doesn't *that* make for an image and a half that's just way more fun if I don't explain) and we had some lunch (which was either really good or I was *really* hungry). At this point the adrenaline was wearing off and I was fading fast. Did not feel up to driving home, so N took Sienna off to watch some stadium and I curled up in the beast for a nap. hahaha great system. Didn't sleep for long, but the whole 20 min cat nap thing helped a ton. Felt way more alive after that!

Go look at scores "we'll be ready in about half an hour" -- ok, worth waiting half an hour or so so go find Nicole and Sienna -- who had apparently been making friends w/ everybody on the property *g* I understand why everybody was drawn to Zelli -- she was simply gorgeous. But what is it about my totally typical Chestnut TB mare that attracts them? I have no idea -- but she is a suck and loves the attention so it's all good. Then we watched the very scary rain clouds coming in and decided to retreat to the safety of the trailer. N hung out w/ Si while I went to see if they were ready for ribbons yet... Nope not so much-- but I noticed an odd thing -- my score for stad was 12 (discounting the mountain of time faults). Having not been near a rail, and only 2 stops I didn't understand how this had happened. So I went on a quest to find the TD (who I know reasonably well) and spent quite a while chatting w/ other random people while I was looking for her. She wasn't sure at first either but she told me she'd find out for me -- and then the rain hit. So she went off to do TD things and I went off to rescue Nicole who was stuck in the rain w/ my pony. Of course *this* is the time Sienna decides she is *not* getting on the trailer. Booo. But a girl from the next trailer over offered the aid of a bucket of treats (I love eventers -- always help each other out) and sure enough that did the trick. So w/ Sienna and Nicole safe and dry I went back to the secretary's area. TD was back there talking to somebody else but as soon as she saw me she waved me over -- had taken the time to look up what was going on. Turns out that since the rule had changed to 2nd stop your out in T and above, the 2nd stop in the low levels is now 8 faults instead of 4. I was completely oblivious to this -- when they brought the 2 stop rule in I was in T so cared more about that and I guess somehow missed the other detail. OTOH, she had to look it up too so I don't feel so bad :) Clearly not too many people question it though. Really appreciated that she took the time to answer my question though -- esp as it'd make no difference in standing (and I told her that) and she was of course busy. All this being said, they still weren't showing any sign of giving out ribbons so I went back to the trailer to hang out w/ Nicole and SuperPony.

So what do you do when it's raining and you have to kill time? Pull out the deck of cards! hahaha Yes I have a deck of cards in my show box. Made some comment about them having been there since I was in HS, to which N commented on the rather clean condition of them... Well yeah -- I started teaching @ 16 and haven't had time to sit down at a show since! This is an entirely new concept for me. And if Stephy had gotten in I wouldn't've been playing cards then either! hahaha anyways Sienna was on one side of the trailer, so Nicole and I pulled up our chairs (read trailer stops) around our card table (read mounting stool) and tried to figure out what to play. Keep in mind we'd both been up since ridiculously early on next to no sleep. End result was War. hahaha game of complete luck that requires no skill whatsoever (well except to stop Nicole from stealing my cards!!!) Haven't had that much fun on such a silly game in a very very long time. Esp as N kept making up new rules that continuously backfired on her. hahaha Sienna just looked at us like we were insane. She may have been right. Anyways the Hundred Years War eventually came to an end (bet that's not the way you remember reading about in school!) and I went off to see what the status on prizes was. They *still* weren't ready, but were much closer, and by this point I was determined to get my pretty ribbon, so I went and visited w/ Kellie for a bit (hanging out in the control booth is always entertaining :) until I heard the "ready to announce E results" comment and off I went. Only had one person try to recruit me to jump judge while I was there. hahaha ummmm no sorry... Not today *g*

Approximately 3h after my division finished XC, I finally got my pretty white ribbon and various prizes and could go home. Stopped for food on the way (wasn't nearly as good as lunch!) and was fine for the drive home till I dropped Nicole off. From there to the barn was brutal. Clearly she was keeping me awake! Unloaded and wrapped and parked trailer all in a fog and headed home... To discover no hot water! Argh. hahaha quick trip to a friend's house to borrow her shower and then home to sleeeeeeeppppp.

It was a LONG day but that 4min and 17sec XC run made it all worth it. hmmmm come to think of it, it's probably best if we don't put it in perspective like that. >;-P Gotta love eventers.

oh and ps -- the trailer's name is now Murray. But that's another story . . .


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