Here there be dragons...

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

Day Five: Show Day!

How did we get to the end of the week already???

My day started with a lesson, conveniently scheduled *before* camp started (admittedly I usually hate that lesson time, but occasionally it works to my benefit).  Athena was not terribly interested in flat work.  First not moving; then not stopping.  hahaha she's not terribly creative in her defiance but effective nonetheless.  But given enough determination we worked through it and had an awesome canter.

Then we did some work with a single trot fence; a ground line encouraging her to get deep to the fence and maintaining the trot making her really use her hocks.  Got up to about 3'6" -- at which point she started really overjumping which is her sign she's left her comfort zone.  But the plus side is, she *used* to do that at about 2', so pretty stoked at that :)   Clearly getting stronger.  

Then it got dropped down to about 3', but a back rail put in for a not-particularly-wide oxer.  Tried that at trot which was less lovely.  hahhaa ah well.   Then we got a gymnastic built and we just got to pop through that a few times and I was *really* happy with her.  She did it confidently and well several times.  Tried to tank me through once but the 2nd vertical solved that problem.  And other than that she was awesome.  Also working on fixing the left drift and getting her to push off evenly.  It was just one of those days where the pieces finally seemed to be coming together.  Sweet.

And speaking of pieces coming together -- for Spring Training it was show day!   I gave the girls a mini-lesson on Jack, Charlie and Louis in the morning, just to get warmed up :)   Then the rest of the stunningly beautiful day was spent on show prep.  Starting with bathing the horses -- first bath of the year.  Nick fresh in from rolling in the mud :)   Got both horses bathed and shiny -- a great sunny day project.   hahaha then the girls cleaned out their horse's stall so they wouldn't roll and undo the bath and left them with coolers on to vege for a bit and dry off while we had lunch.

After lunch the girls continued their grooming project -- clipping and trimming as necessary and starting to braid.  *Starting* to braid.  hahaha I didn't allow *quite* enough time to finish!   My original plan did - but then I had them ride in the am instead.  That's alright -- they got part way done; it's the new style!   They went outside and were completely responsible for their own dressage warmup.  I was happy to see much of what we worked on this week being incorporated :)   The dressage tests were really well ridden.  Both girls improved significantly over their first effort earlier this week.  Very kewl.

Then we relocated indoors for the jumping phase.  The course was the same one they rode on Thursday so they had a bit of an advantage over traditional competition -- but the fences were a little higher today and they both had the *same* advantage.  So all good.   They were given one fence to warmup over, just as they would in competition and when they were ready each rider had their turn.

Olivia had Nick going really forward so she went first.  Jumped nice and forward and  rode the difficult turn to fence four like a pro!  Unfortunately she got going a little TOO forward and overshot the turn to fence 11.   SO close!  But she kept it together and had the presence of mind to represent at a more organized pace and finished off the course beautifully!  

So then it was Chelsea's turn and she started out with a beautiful canter, but unfortunately bent the bending line from two to three a little too shallow and went past three.   She got really smart through and  reapproached in the trot and rode every other fence very square and accurately.

Ok so with two four-fault rounds, whoever won the dressage would win the day.   While the girls cooled out and put away their horses I went to add up the dressage tests.   Yeah.  Turns out my phone doesn't have a calculator on it.  Who knew?  >;-P   Ugh.   So back to grade-school arithmetic.  Add all the numbers up.  Do it again.  2nd time doesn't match the first, but I'm pretty sure it's correct.  One more try.  Seems right.   Go borrow DJ's more talented phone.  Yes addition is correct.  The problem?  They TIED.   Seriously.  On a dressage test with 15 movements, 4 subjective marks, and scored out of 200, they got the exact same number.   So we went with the top score on the collective marks -- which Chelsea earned.

hahaha so close competition and some fabulous riding.   And the amazing weather didn't hurt either!   Overall I was pretty thrilled with our first competition camp.  While I might've liked a *few* more campers -- if only to make the competition a little bigger *g - I have to say I really enjoyed just having the two.  Got a little spoiled being able to focus that degree of attention on each rider -- you can get some really kewl results when you get to do that!  And thankfully I had awesome riders who work exceptionally hard -- the week wouldn't've worked without that!

Also super important was Rebecca who came in as much as she *possibly* could this week to do all my usual work so I could work with the girls.  AND participated in many of the lessons which was awesome.  Huge thanks for all your help this week!   

And the week wouldn't have flowed nearly so well without lots of other help too!   Thanks to all involved!   Amy who took over the day Rebecca couldn't make it.   Aileen, Kirby (x 2 - cause she's just that amazing!), Brena, and Katlyn for doing night check during the week so I could go home.   Aileen and Rebecca also did double-duty as dressage scribes during the week.   You guys are awesome!  Thanks :)

Next camp  -- August!


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