Friday, October 5, 2012

Bluegrass Pony Club "Not Very Scary" Mini Trial

I can't believe I forgot to post about this! 

On Friday, September 21st, a group of us from the barn drove down to Paris, Kentucky, to compete on Saturday in the title mini trial.  We ended up with 5 competitors, 5 horses, 1 little brother, 5 parents, 1 car, 2 truck-trailers, 1 truck-camper, 1 tent and 1 trainer.  Not sure if it was planned or not, but we were kind of stuck in the back of the barn.  Actually that makes it sound worse that it was.  It was fantastic.  They mostly had competitors either from that barn or ship in so there weren't many overnight stalls and I think we had a fantastic spot.  Nothing was very far away.

I'll spare the boring details and just say that the farm is gorgeous, we couldn't have asked for better weather and the competition went wonderfully!  I'm so glad we went and I was able to feel useful and help out quite a bit since Jen was still hobbling around. 

To recap the results:
  • Noah and Remi competed in the 18" division.  This is their first horse trial and they handled it beautifully.  Finished in 3rd.
  • Ashlyn and Star competed in the other 18" division.  Also their first event and they did great.  Star threw a couple things at Ashlyn and she made wonderful decisions.  Finished 5th.
  • Ella and Thumper were in the 2' division.  I wasn't able to watch their cross country but did warm them up.  They were VERY ready and from what I understand, got several compliments on her riding... though it was a bit faster than she needed to go.  They did great and finished 2nd.
  • Shelby and Sunday actually competed in both 2' divisions.  I was a little concerned about their fitness as the cross country measured at over 1800 meters and was a bit hilly, but they handled it great.  A first time error in stadium (circling between fences like you can on cross country) cost them a few points but didn't move their placing.  They finished 2nd in that division and won the other (by 5 points in front of Ella and Thumper!).
So that leaves how Noble and I did.  Dressage was in a grass ring that wasn't QUITE level.  He handled it fairly well.  A couple of baby moments later in the test and we finished tied for 4th with a 42.5.  Cross country was amazing for him!  I couldn't be happier.  He balked a bit at the first fence, but I kept him going and we hopped over it.  Got a little wiggly at fence 2AB (an x to a very small log) but after that he was straight and answered every question.  I measured the course but forgot to turn on my watch.  Oh well.  The division wasn't timed anyway.  In stadium, he was a superstar again and left all the rails up (again, no timing).  Unfortunately the scores from XC weren't posted before they handed out the final ribbons.  I was a bit shocked to NOT hear them announce us in the placings.  Talked to the TD (the lovely Carolyn Borgert) and it turns out they pinged us for a refusal at fence 1.  I would have argued it had the scores been posted before stadium, but at that point, the final ribbons were given, the fence judges had left, and its not like we needed a qualifying score from it or something so I dropped it.  The issue dropped us to a final score of 62.5 and in 9th place. 

I know I always preach and believe that a good run is a good run and that the order of priority should always be:
  1. Safety
  2. Fun
  3. Learn something
  4. Do better
  5. Finish
  6. Do well
In the strictest sence we did 5 of the 6, but really we did all 6.  I couldn't be happier with his performance.  I still don't believe we had a refusal at fence 1.  I was more disappointed than I should have been that we didn't place.  Yes the ribbons were cool, but really... they're just ribbons.  Anita and I have put in a lot of time with Noble and he's really getting it.  Guess I would have liked to have even a little something to show for it... to give back to Jen to thank her for the wonderful opportunity to work with such a nice pony.

But, that event is over.  It was a FANTASTIC learning experience and I think Noble really gained what he needed to -- experience.  We're going to find out too as I have sent in an entry for the 2'3" Starter Division at the Come Again Farm Fall Horse Trial next weekend.  We'll also be going alone as no one else from the barn can make it.  I debated a LOT about going to this event as there are several other things going on that weekend, including my 25 year high school reunion and a clinic just down the road.  In the end, I want to go to the event and I think doing another this close will give Noble the experience (and hopefully reinforce the good experience) that he needs.  We're eyeing the Walnut Creek Pony Club horse trial as well but it's not til November and if the weather turns bad, that will be it til spring.  So off we go!

PS. I know I keep saying I'll post pictures.  I promise I will.  I don't have many that I take so I have to rely on the generosity of others to take and share pictures so I can post them.  Some just made it up from the last few outtings so I'll try to get them up soon.

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