Here there be dragons...

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

GRS goes to Wits End HT

The girls were superstars at Wits End today!  So much fun!

I have to say I'm really enjoying showing with these girls -- 6am load in the pouring rain and they were still smiling and eager to go :)   Fortunately after driving through some crazy fog, we ended up on the other side with weather that threatened to be evil, but never really followed through.

If you've never been to Wits End -- the property is *very* hilly and huge.  This makes for enough hiking that they actually provide a shuttle from parking to the showjump/dressage areas!  hahaha not that I ever actually managed to *catch* said shuttle of course - but I did see it a few times!

There had been some confusion as neither girl had been on the start times list -- but when I called they acknowledged they had the entries and that there would be several changes.  Fortunately for us, they got added in at the *end* of the division instead of the beginning *g*

So dressage w/u went well.  Both Jack and Lissy were still slightly asleep, but in a w/u ring far more chaotic than either rider has participated in before - both partnerships were reasonably successful.  Jack was definitely being lazy-Jack, but that's not a bad thing.  Dressage itself was a 5 min walk into the valley.  Fortunately their ride times were back to back, so both girls headed down together so neither horse would be alone.

I only caught portions of Chelsea's test as I was warming Rowan up, but the portions I saw would put it at her best test yet -- so I was really happy with that!  Rowan's test was a little...  Guarded.  hahaha it was the kind of dr ring made out of wood planks as opposed to little white chains and I think Rowan was over-correcting out of concern about exiting the arena.  Oops :)   But they did stay well within the ring - restricting themselves to the ever-so-competitive 15mx35m ring - and put in a reasonable test.  Yeah!

Handed off the horses to make the 20min trek back to the trailers for a tack change while we walked stadium.  A nice smooth fair course -- the fences had been lowered to account for the slightly slippery footing.  The only catch was fence 2 -- it was slightly evil.  Early in the course, away from home, downhill, with super-scary filler.  Would be interesting to see how that one went.  There was also a skinny which you don't see too often in PE.

Hiked it back to the trailers to finish switching tack and give Lissy some studs and then straight back to the show-jump warmup.  I would say the best jump warm-up either rider's had yet!  Both did a great job getting their horses into a steady rhythm and in front of their legs.  Fortunately it was significantly less chaotic than dr w/u had been making it a little easier on the nerves.  Esp for my girls who are just too polite and so often miss their turns to somebody with fewer ring manners.  hahaha

Chelsea's round was first and she did a fantastic job!  Honestly - rode like a pro.  Definitely her best attempt yet.  Nice rhythm -- no flying at fences this time :)  And appropriate choices of when to trot and when to canter as well as a positive ride to every fence.  Ended up clean and on time.  Awesome job!

And Jack's least favourite phase is stadium...  He's still really not sure about all these scary coloured fences -- making Rowan's job very challenging sometimes.   It was made even more challenging by the VERY SCARY intermediate xc fence that forms part of the fence line -- right before fence one.  hahaha he was so busy shying at that, he hardly clued in to the fact he was supposed to jump something till he was right on it -- but Rowan got him pointed in the right direction and over successfully.   Unfortunately he was still fairly shaken from the giant xc monster and not exactly flowing confidently forward when they turned to approach the terrifying fence two.  Oh dear.  Jack stopped -- probably 10 strides out.  And Rowan did her job, inching him closer and closer till eventually he got to the fence.  About 3' out, when he'd had lots of time to study it, they did a circle to get some momentum back and cleared it by a mile :)   Sadly the delay resulted in serious time faults and a rail would come down later, but all in all Rowan made a solid effort to get baby-Jack around a course he was scared of.

We had about two hours between stadium and xc, so sending the horses back to be untacked (thanks soooo much to Steph for coming to help out and to all the parents who participated :) we headed off the other direction to walk xc.

Had fun on the XC walk as we met up with a few other groups who, being map-less, were very lost *g*  The course itself looked like tons of fun.  It was maxed out but fair and had a fun gallop uphill :)

XC warm-up showed us that Jack has figured out how the game is played.  Instead of the super-lazy horse we'd seen earlier, suddenly he was super-high and bouncy.  hmmmm exciting.  hahaha To the point that the announcer commented about the "old pro" who "obviously knew what was coming".  hahaha sure - old pro on his third show, why not :)  Chelsea and Lissy's warm-up was their traditional brilliance.
Power trot!
So we made the hike down to the start box just as the 30 second countdown was starting for Lissy.  Tack-check was the fastest ever :)  hahaha then they were off!  And Jack wanted very much to go with them!   Lissy jumped fences one and two and then was out of sight while Rowan was riding Jack in bouncy circles during her two-minute countdown.  But when it came time for him to go he settled in just like the old pro the starter thought he was -- calm forward trot to the first fence and by the time we saw him next (up about jump 5) they had a beautiful forward canter going.   At the same time we could see Lissy coming home and jumping the last two.  Woohoo!
Last fence on course!
She made it back grinning and patting her pony.  Asking how it went we learned they'd had one stop but otherwise tons of fun.  Lissy was pretty tired and quite happy to hang out and graze while we waited for Jack to come back.  Jack was still bouncing when he crossed the finish line and Rowan was grinning ear to ear and proud to announce they'd been clear.  Woohoo!!!
Jumping the "hedgehog"
We led the horses on the long walk back to the trailers where they were untacked and had a bath.  Lissy was clearly pretty tired, but Jack was even still feeling pretty full of himself :)   When scores were posted we were thrilled to discover Chelsea and Lissy had earned 7th and Rowan and Jack had earned 8th!  WOOHOO!!!

Awesome job ladies!


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