On to the competition!! Earlier Tuesday we did a jump school with our Coach Sarah Mittlieder. (also provided by AR!) She was wonderful and although we only had the standard warm up fences to school over it went well and we all felt good at the end of the school. Wednesday I and a few others had individual dressage school with her. So those days passed quickly, add in a hack, some shopping, some visiting and by Wednesday evening, finally a walk around the XC course that was tantalizing us from across the road for the last two days! What was it like? It was like a full on Championship course, not for the faint of heart!
Some of the divisions started Dressage on Thursday morning. I think 4 arenas? I was in Arena 3. Judge at C and E. I thought warm up went well, It was warmish and I was careful not to over heat or over work Mick, I kept close eye on my wrist watch and thought I had timed it all just right. In we went. I thought it went nicely, except coming around from C to H to go across diagonal at canter to trot at X Mick switched out behind tried to fix it, got worse, settled for a trot way before X and figured that was that, on to the next canter depart. So I was overall pleased. Judge not so much, but it is what it is and the fact that some others had noted the judges in ring 3 were “grumpy”, with a score of 38 it wasn't the worst score of the day. My Teamie, Kelsey Horn had a stunning 26, Lou and Jolie were both in the low 30's and the Tipsy Training Trollops were in first place after the dressage phase.
Welcome Party Thursday evening. Dinner and drinks with a DJ playing music and a photo booth for goofy dress up pictures.
Friday there was a lot going on. Training level started out the XC across the road, Novice and BN did their dressage tests. By the afternoon when the upper levels started their XC the lightening storms set in. Competition was stopped, everyone in the barns, NOW! After an hour they started up again only to have another electrical storm, with full on rain blow thru and competition was ended for the day. A meeting was held, idea's abound on how to proceed with the scheduling of getting the competition back on track. We have thunder storms here in the Pac NW but nothing like these!!
But back to my XC! 10:30 it was much cooler than yesterday, many clouds so no full on sun in our eyes. Sent to the start box and told starter not to count me down.... Mick can't handle it! Just a minute (which I got right when I arrived) 30, 15, 10, 5 and please use the numbers in a sentence!! Mick kept it together, we trotted into the back of the box and cantered out the front. One was a ramp, 2 a big feeder thing with the odd groundline, it jumped well enough. Sweep left to a nice open rail oxer with nice brush. 4 was a smallish ramp on a short up hill approach with a bending line to barrels then a forward 4 strides to a monster feeder/table sort of thing. Gallop up hill to 6 a bigass table with jagged white lines on the front, apparently the Rockies in the snow! Mick just wasn't getting this one, usually he tows me to the fence so I am not used to kicking and urging and really I didn't realize until too late that he wasn't reading it correctly and we ended up sliding by the edge. Circled back and now he realized it was indeed a jumpable fence he took me too it and over we went. Had to set up a bit for 7 a skinny ramp, then bending to 8a/b a big rail oxer, one stride to a huge down bank. Piece of cake. Bend around to the right over a nice galloping ramp, on to 10 which was a big log into water, off a tight turn which helps slow one down! Up hill sweeping left turn to a big trakener, always loved flying those things!! 12a/b was another dicey combo, the big ramp/rolltop in was begging to be galloped but don't do it!! Sharp bending, downhill, 4 strides to another ramp on the edge of a hill that was a long drop down then keep galloping down not quite Man from Snowy River proportions but close and oh, pull up and balance for #13 cuz it was an absolute upright gate! I might have over done the balance thing for 13, we jumped the gate nicely, but bending 3 strides into water, 4 strides in water and a big hanging log for 13b. Mick stalled out going into the water and I just couldn't get the rpm's back up and he just stopped by the time we got to the log. Dang. Looked around, made a snap decision on the route for the circle out and re-approach. Got Mick into a good forward canter, into the water and over the log, not pretty, but done. On to a long gallop (Mick's favorite!) 14 was another huge table that was taken as another gallop stride. 15 was an odd, very small rails, you needed to turn to it fairly sharply from the line taken away from 14 so that helped slow down, didn't need to trip over it! Almost home, another rampy thing, 4 forward strides to a corner. Careful gallop away as the footing got a bit tricky here then on to the Elephant Trap, man that was some bright new shiny wood!! Apparently not as confusing as the Rocky Mountains on 6 and he was over it without trouble. One more monster table, a park bench and the finish line!!WooHoo!!! We finished. The veterinarian was on duty far enough away from the finish that you were trotting, she took Mick in in one look and nodded us away. Yes, Mick was in fine shape, I however was er, “sucking dirty pond water” as I've heard my condition referred to! The research I did ahead of time indicated that the horses would acclimate to the elevation in 3-5 days, so we were there in plenty of time for Mick to do that. Humans take upwards of 2 weeks. Although really I recovered rapidly after I pulled up.
I was able to score a decent warm shower in the afternoon, my previous shower in a different building, several days before had been if not ice cold, cold enough to take your breath away when you needed to rinse off! So I was clean for the Adult Rider Party in the VIP area on the berm between two of the rings. More drinks, more food, more good times with fellow adult riders. We all wore our matching shirts. The Tipsy Trollops had taken a bit of a hit on XC day. Kelsey's mare had colicked overnight and had to withdraw. (as far as I know she will be fine) Lou and Jolie had good clean rides XC but my score was rather dismal, we were still a team however and we were still in it!
Saturday started early for some, they were running XC at 7:30 to make up for it being called the day before, other folk were still on the dressage phase! I think they got all caught up by the end of the day, even though another lightening storm passed thru in the afternoon and they had to call it again for a few hours!
My Stadium round was scheduled for about 11:30. Even though at this point I was DFL I was in it, (many never made it this far, XC ate a few folks) this was the AEC's and Mick got braided! I was warming up and things weren't going all that well for us. Couldn't get Mick in the bridle, couldn't get the correct canter because of that. In hindsight I had too much bit for the day and won't make that mistake again! Did not have any help in the warm up so I struggled through trying to make it better myself. I had watched some of the rounds in the Training Amateur division so I had an idea about how the course was riding. When I first walked it it had seemed easy enough, however it was deceptive, there was a lot going on in there! We were first in the ring in the Training Rider division. Mick raced around, it was not the correct canter and he was launching at the fences managing to “jump me out of the tack” on a couple of them, fortunately he is good at catching me on the other side. That was the case over 9b, he had jumped into the two stride way to big and we ran out of room for the vertical, he jumped it, snapped his back! I kept my head up, he caught me on the other side and since at this point I am “on the buckle” the only reason he made the bending 5 stride line to #10 was because I was looking at it! Attempted some kind of half halt but didn't help, he jumped it and took out the rail.
We finished! My teammate, Jolie was on Noah at the outgate and was cheering me on and gave me the high five and we whooped it up for finishing our team. She actually saved me. She prevented me from being sad and mad at the horrible round I had just produced, she cheered me up and made me realize how happy I was, I had finished, and finished strong at the Adult Team Championship at the AEC's. Jolie was 5th and Lou was 6th they were both in the Amateur division. Our team finished in 5th place. The Tipsy Training Trollops Finished!
But it is not over yet. There are horses all over the park doing all three phases. Amazing how well it all ran, given the changes that had to take place due to the weather. And there was still one more Party to attend!! The Competitors Party. Drinks and Shrimp and Salmon and Prime Rib!!! Yowser!!
Sunday was quiet for me. Mick and I had a nice hack on the trail loop that was accessed from the Park. XC and Stadium was still being held. My travel mate, Lorilee had had a lovely dressage test, a clean XC go and I got back in time to watch her do her Stadium round and it was lovely, well minus a “senior moment”. She still ended up with the 6th place prize, which was substantial!
We were packed and on the road before 3pm and made it back into Ogden Fairgrounds by midnight. A quick few hours sleep and on the road for home by 6am. It was a long way to Issaquah, but think we made better time going home and arrived shortly after 8pm.
Thank you to Area Vll AR's for helping make that happen. I waited my whole life to ride on a Team and I did it and we finished. Thank you everyone!!!