Here there be dragons...

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

Athena's first HT

(shamelessly stolen from Here there be dragons...)

SO much fun with my pony today :)   Whoever knew Entry could be so entertaining?

Mum and Sasha came too!
Once again we had a very early start -- my alarm went off at 3:30.  After falling asleep shortly after 2:30.   Ummm both those times would be am.  Times that really shouldn't come twice a day!

But such is the life of an eventer so we sucked it up and off we went.  Got there with about the perfect amount of time.  I was able to check in and walk stadium before heading off to dressage.





Athena warmed up beautifully and put in a really solid test.  I wouldn't class it as spectacular -- there was nothing really brilliant about it, but there was no disaster either.  Was just a good, solid, entry level test.  And I was really happy with her :)




Pats for the pony ;)

So I went for a quick walk around cross, while my supergroom Steph took care of my horse.   The course  seemed ridiculously simple.  Had to keep reminding myself that entry is *supposed* to be simple >;-P   And then I had lots of time to watch stadium and socialize before riding.  And let's be honest - sometimes said socializing is a fun part of the day :)   Again, only possible thanks to Steph :)  I'm so spoiled!

Eventually it was time to jump.  The course was super easy and inviting.  Maxed for entry, which I was happy to see.  But compared to what we see at home that's still pretty tiny... hahaha  That being said, our last stadium round was SO atrociously bad (well by my standards anyways - we *did* technically get around; it was just ugly) that I had a few butterflies bouncing around in the warmup.    That last course she was very sticky and backed off, so I decided we were going in in attack mode.   The course was in the new and improved giant-sized sandring, so there was tons of space and all big turns to get going if you so chose.  And I chose.  She was sticky in w/u, so I revved her into the mode I would usually use in a xc w/u.  And she started jumping better.  Sweet.  Butterflies whipped into formation and sent flying.

Now you have to understand -- attack mode is not my preferred style of riding.  I generally go for overly controlled and balanced.  hahaha but you do the job that needs to be done right?  And she needed that kind of ride.  So we powered our way in (with a slight detour to let her look at a jump I knew she wouldn't care for), saluted and away we went.

Attack mode - fence 1.  Excessive much?

And I have to say, it was the first stadium round in my entire life that I would class as fun.  Yeah, it's not exactly my favouite phase :)  hahaha but oh dear.  Let's just say we found attack mode.   And the line I walked in an 8, we rode in a 5. Yes, you read that right.  I have it on video.  hahaha.  This same line I saw a pony do in 12.  And it was an even balanced 5.   Which gives you an idea of speed and stride length *g*  Sheesh.   The fence I thought she'd hesitate at, she did.   But it set her back enough that we actually got the correct number of strides in that line.  She loved it though -- by the end she was focusing on a fence and taking me to it.  If the fences had been big, it wouldn't have worked.  But as a confidence builder it was great.   She very much misjudged the last fence, but with golden horseshoes on it somehow defied the laws of physics and stayed up.  The few people I knew there with cameras all informed me I did *not* make their jobs easy.  hahaha ah well - sorry about that.  But omg so. much. fun.   N she came out and completely relaxed.  I was so impressed.
Doing something right by the end :)

We had enough time to untack and give her a quick bath and a chance to relax before xc.  I was really happy to see her drinking; she's never done that before.   Changed my clothes, tried on the new air-vest and tacked her back up for xc before heading over to warmup.  I mostly walked around chatting with people -- we weren't going to need much warmup, and clearly my competitors felt the same.   Did a quick gallop to check how she felt on the grass and that attack mode was still installed and discovered she was fine on the grass and attack mode had intensified.  hahaha So. Much. Fun.   I might regret it in the next week or two, but for today, in the moment...  Woohoo :)

Grinning like a child over our first speed-bump

"Number 67, 2 minutes" -- threw a quick 'thanks!' over my shoulder, hopped over one more fence and headed over to the start box.  5 second countdown and we were off :)   Nice easy canter to the first fence, picking up speed to the second and then settling into a rhythm to the third.  Unfortunately for us, the rhythm was more of a training pace than an entry pace.  Oops!   But since she's also not very fit, any really long run where you would usually gallop, I'd bring her back to trot.  There was also one location with a ton of pedestrians on my course, so I felt the need to slow to avoid tragedy. hahaha  And conveniently the trot sets balanced the gallops leaving us with some time faults but not nearly the mountain I'd imagined!  But what I really loved?  When I pushed her in front of my leg and half-halted, she actually came back!  Imagine that!  I don't know if it might just've been that she was tired *g*  But she really sat up and balanced.  Some of that is on video too (thanks Stephy!) so I got to see that it wasn't just my wishful thinking.  Offers hope for higher levels.  Sweet!  And basically from the moment we left the start box till the moment we crossed the finish line, I was grinning like a 10yo kid on her first xc run.  hahaha sad but true.

Balanced pony :)  Woohoo!

So yeah -- there was nothing particularly challenging or interesting in today's ride.  It certainly wasn't a ride I'd want anybody judging my abilities by *g*   But what it was, and hasn't really been in a while, was just plain fun.

Awesome day.  Fun having my mum and my puppy there.  Totally spoiled by Steph.  Got to see and chat with lots of people I don't get to see nearly often enough.  And did I mention?

So. Much. Fun.

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