We are on our way back to Ohio and I thought this might be a good time while Ryan was driving to catch up from the weekend. The kids are still pretty content during this drive but we opted to stop in northern Georgia instead of driving straight through like we did on the way down (might be some reluctance to return to colder temps!)
Rocking Horse was 99% successful. Piccolo put in what I felt was her best dressage test to date. She started out a little fresh with the cold weather that morning but settled quickly in warm-up after some walking and stretching. In the past, I've frequently felt that I was doing my best to ride through the tension but she has always scored fairly well at novice. Moving up to Training, she's expected to be more obedient. We have worked so much on her straightness and reaching more over her topline and she did exactly as I asked of her. Unfortunately, I had hoped the score would be a little better but the judge's comments were right on with where she is in her training.
The stadium course was very twisty and the horses really had to listen to the rider because they were constantly being pulled off the line from one fence to go to another. I watched quite a few riders do the course on Friday and noticed that the ones riding positive and forward had the best rounds. My tendency with Piccolo is to ride the "pretty horse" canter. She has a big stride and a tendency to get quick and flat to the jumps so I really had to establish the balance right on landing and then keep coming forward to the next jump. She was fantastic and didn't even take a second look at the Liverpool. I rode exactly as I planned (that never happens!) and we got a double clear. Now I just need to learn to breathe and trust it a little. :)
It's so disappointing when one little mistake can put such a damper on a fantastic weekend. She warmed up really well for cross country. When I asked for more, she gave it and when I asked her to come back, she was right there....all focus, no tension. Almost halfway through the course, we had a 2 stride bending line. I lost my line coming in and jumped a few feet left of where we needed to be. The second element wasn't that big but she jumped so big over the first and we shortened the distance so much that she didn't have a chance. I take full blame. I just seem to be in a XC slump the last couple of years and more often than not, it's silly things that could be easily corrected. I was really frustrated and angry with myself after that. She was a complete rock star the rest of the course....the big trakehner, the bank combination, the corner combination, and the water. It was not a soft course by any means and she was right there loving every minute of it.
I couldn't feel too sorry for myself for too long because Claire and I got to go to Disney World on Monday. It was such a magical day for my little princess (who, of course, had to wear her tiara all day) and I really enjoyed it too. We met up with Dorothy and her daughter, Juliette, who taught us the ins and outs of dealing with the crowds.
I plan to go to Spring Bay next and hope to keep up with some regular lessons once I get home. Being away from home and focusing on one horse for the last few weeks has been such an awakening how easy it is for life to be a distraction. I don't intend to change anything other than making sure that I'm focused and committed during my riding time.