This weekend was my return to eventing since Ian was born 4 months ago. Podge and I have been working so hard on strength and balance for both of us and I was anxious to see if we could maintain the work we'd been doing at home in competition. Not to mention keeping my head on straight with a nearly 3 year old and a baby! Well, 1 out of 2 ain't bad........
We started Saturday morning as the first rider in the ring at 7:30 meaning we left the hotel by 5am attempting to keep both little ones asleep - no such luck. My mom entertained them as I got Podge braided and I headed up to the dressage. He started out just a little behind the leg and lazy in the warm-up. I got him moving forward and felt we had just the right amount of energy and he was feeling very light and supple - a great feat for Podge - just as they announced that there was a delay to start the dressage! I did my best to keep him tuned up but not wear him out over the next 15 minutes but the extra time really didn't help us. Of course, there were lots of times that I've needed the extra time and reminded myself that this is all part of the game. I feel fairly happy with his test. While the score didn't necessarily reflect the improvements we've made in our dressage, I felt I was able to push for higher marks than I have in the past and just wish we hadn't had that unfortunate delay so I could see what we really could have scored.
On to the cross country which was an absolute blast. I don't think I've smiled that much on XC in a long time. I felt confident about the course and he was manageable and fit. Not to mention, we had perfect weather. In fact, I was having so much fun that I forgot all about the turn after fence 14 as I continued on to the last fence - number 17. Now, I've been told that having kids makes your brain mushy. Add that to very little sleep over the last several months and I can convince myself that it was only a one-time screw-up. Atleast, I don't normally make the same stupid mistakes twice! I was still grinning all the way back to the barn even after the TD told me about my error.
They allowed me to ride stadium on Sunday morning and, again, was first into the ring. Podge felt a bit tired in warmup but was jumping great. I've never been able to compete him in a snaffle due to him getting very unbalanced and strong on his forehand but decided, since he'd been schooling so well at home, I had nothing to lose. The first fence - a big oxer - woke him up a bit but then the remainder of the course rode fairly well. We just had one rail coming out of a combination that I rode too strongly into. I'm still struggling a bit with this new, mostly uphill ride I'm getting and have to remember not to do too much to help him as he's naturally a scopey jumper and I'm so tall in the upper half of my body. I'm really thrilled with his performance especially after being out of competition since last October. This weekend gave me a good idea of what I need to work on for our next time out
Things have been hoppin' around the farm! First off, we are celebrating 10 years here at the farm and I hope to post some pictures of where things started and how they look today as soon as I can find the time. It's been a fantastic decade helping horses and riders develop as well as working toward some of my own goals. I often think about how fortunate I am to be able to do something that I love so much and make money at it. Especially now, with two small children, to have a job that allows me to work at home and have such special people that come for lessons and support my life as a mother and an instructor and horse trainer - it's really become such a family affair.
Podge has been working so well this season and I'm anxious to see if all our hard work is proven at our first 2012 event next weekend - Penny Oaks. I was disappointed to hear they got rid of their Preliminary division due to the hard ground this season but they have added a P/T division so we'll still get a chance to do the Prelim dressage and stadium and, hopefully, get a good confidence-building run on the Training course. Not such a bad idea after such a long break having not competed him since last fall before I had Ian. We'll be attending a schooling dressage show this weekend to make sure he remembers what to do in that small sandbox before we go to Indiana.
The filly, Tess, is growing by the day. I can't get over how big she is already at just over 3 months and she looks so athletic and muscular already that I can't wait until she's big enough to ride....although I know I have quite a bit of time until then! She's not a timid one at all. I let her follow Piccolo to and from the field and it's pretty common for her to trot through the arena and check out jumps and she even popped off the little bank the other day. I wish she was a little more reliant on her mother especially when I'm waiting for her to get in the field or stall but, admittedly, I love watching her show off her confident nature.
Lessons have been going really well and I have such an enjoyable group of students right now that are setting the bar so high this season! Just a reminder that I'll be attending Penny Oaks, Kentucky Classique, Jumpstart, and Team Challenge so if anyone wants to stable near me, put "Fairwind Stables" on your stabling form. I'll be available for coaching, course walks, etc - j