So after 2 weeks of intense working out (2x/day) and riding (Coco got 1 week off and then we did 2 galloping rides & 3 dressage/hacks the next week), it was time for another test. This time, it was the Mid-America Combined Training Association's One-Day event at Heritage Park in Olathe, KS. We entered the BN division so that we could see how we might fare against similar competition at the MCPC Longview HT on May 9-11, next week.
Chris brought her horse, Stuey, to this show! It was going to be their first show this year and they had a phenomenal cross country school the day before, jumping all the starter fences with confidence and grace! I watched her dressage and he looked pretty good. He was a little strong and spooky, but nothing too bad. It was their second outdoor ride this year and their first judged test this year.
Our dressage went fairly well. Coco was very anxious about the boxcars that were sitting near the dressage ring. Apparently boxcars eat horses, but only when they're in the dressage arena. They were perfectly fine when we were going around the outside of the ring before our test and when we walked past them as soon as we got to the park. But when you're in the ring, everything changes! He was kind of a crazy man when I first got on, just very excited and checking everything out and generally ignoring me, but he wasn't terrible. As we continued to warm up, he started to really relax and come down in his neck and start listening to me. During our test, he brought his head up and kept his eye on the boxcars whenever we were in that corner of the ring, but he mostly stayed relaxed and listening to me. He was a little tense as we went from our free walk to medium walk (typical... if anyone has recommendations to improve this, I'm definitely open to suggestions), but other than that, it was a really nice test. We walked out of the ring and were met with congratulatory praises from my trainer (Chris). When we got our test back, it was awesome, we had 8's for the entrance and final halt and salute and all 7-8s for our rider marks to score a 27.25. Not too shabby! It put us in 5th place after dressage.
Coco relaxed a bit while we walked cross country. The course was pretty straightforward. Nothing too far off anything that we usually did at the Heritage Park HT in October.
When I got back on, he was a little crazy again. He knew what was next, for sure, and he loves his job. We spent about 10-15 minutes walking around the warm up area working on being calm. Then we did our typical warm up (2-2-2s) around the warm up area while the starter horses were finishing up their courses. Chris was anxious about the stadium jumps, thinking that they had been set too high for a starter division. She lost a little bit of confidence when she did her warm up and was dropping him before the fences. She decided to scratch, but she let Sam ride Stuey for the stadium course in hopes to train him and see how he would do with the height and pressure. He did really good. He jumped a few jumps like a deer, but overall, he seemed to enjoy his job. Coco's round was pretty good. The first couple jumps were kind of sticky (my fault. I get nervous and don't let him have the speed he needs to get over the jumps), but as we gained confidence and impulsion, he started doing a lot better. We went double clear.
Time for XC! But first... water!!! I chugged about half of my Nalgene bottle! And we were off (after a tiny protest from Coco who didn't want to leave his buddies). The course was a breeze and Coco thought he was a real live race horse. He was FLYING!!! I was going with it though, because it was fun! Coco didn't look at anything and took all the jumps like he was a champ and I was actually maintaining my galloping position without being sore or out of breath (yay!!). We got 3 jumps from home and still had a minute before speed fault time, so we had to trot an excessive amount before finishing up the course. We came in about 15 seconds over speed fault. What a champ! We maintained our position in the pack and ended up in 5th place and with lots of confidence going into the Longview event next weekend.
This week will be filled with working out (and maintaining a healthy diet) for me and rest & relaxation for Coco. He clearly knows and loves his job, I just need to be fit enough to be able to keep up with him. If Longview goes well (and ideally, if we can qualify for AECs), we might move up to novice for Queeny, but we shall see. Right now, I'm going to try to live in the moment doing all I can to have fun (and do well) at the events and enjoy the time I get to spend with such a phenomenal friend of mine, my pony, Mr. Coco Bean!