The only thing I regret about Full Gallop’s January HT is that I have almost no media. Especially considering we kicked butt and took names. But between me allowing my wonderful husband to skip the show and the rain, well… pictures were hard to come by.
After having such beautiful weather for our XC schooling on Friday and our Ride a Test on Saturday, it was a little disappointing to watch the rain clouds come in for Sunday. But come they did and it started raining steadily by the time we were pulling into Full Gallop. Thankfully we didn’t have super early ride times for dressage and were able to relax a little bit. Gus was not thrilled about waiting on the trailer but I wasn’t thrilled about having a completely soaked horse before we even rode.
I don’t want to jinx it, but I think we are finally starting to get a hold of this whole dressage thing. If you count the ride a test we did on Saturday, we had two beautiful, quiet, and obedient tests. Gus maybe wasn’t brilliant or overly bold but they led to my best test yet. We got three 8s including one for our entry and one for our halt. I was thrilled when I got the scores. I was expecting to score somewhere in the 34 range but instead we got a 31! I may have let out a little squeal. If we can just clean up a few more things (like the canter) I could definitely be scoring in the high 20s.
After dressage it was time for our XC walk. I already knew there was a ditch on course and I was nervous. Until Pine Top, I’ve never had a real problem with ditches. Down banks? Yes. Oh lordy, yes. But honestly, I never thought we were ditchy which is why I just cantered straight towards the ditch in Pine Top’s warm-up and expected Gus to soar over. He didn’t and I ended up on the ground. That issue carried forward into our XC schooling on Friday and, while I got over everything, I was just a little bit nervous. LT told me to lean back, leg on, and let him trot it. I said okay and tried not to think about it too hard.
The rest of the course was fairly straight forward and not terribly big. At least it didn’t feel big since we had been jumping training size fences just a few days ago. The only other thing besides the ditch that I had to take a second glance at was the corner option for jump 14. We had the option of a fairly straight forward corner or a big upright bench thing. LT had us walk the corner. Gus and I have done all of one corner. Granted, we had no issue, but still… ONE corner! But since there was a very real possibility that we wouldn’t even get that far, I really wasn’t worried.
But first was stadium.
I was really happy with this stadium round. It wasn’t hunter pretty by any means but I felt like it wasn’t scary crazy either. Instead of getting crazy to the fences I was able to ride with more leg and more adjustability. There’s still a lot to work on with my posture but I think it’s starting to come together. The best part about it all was that we left all the bars up this time.
It’s the little things right?
We went straight to XC where I had time to jump a handful of fences before we headed out on course. LT wanted me riding really forward to the fences as Gus was still a little backed off. But once we were out on XC, Gus kicked into another gear. He was flying.
Gus ate up the ground and jumped boldly over everything. He did peak at the ditch but didn’t hesitate. By the time we hit the water, I knew we were going to come home clean and on time. It was just one of those rides. Even the corner felt like we jumped those all the time (though I’ll admit I didn’t get a good life and we ended up jumping the widest part of the fence). I don’t think I could have been happier crossing the finish line.
This was the perfect start to our 2018 season and it was just what we needed as a confidence boost after Pine Top. As a bonus, we finished on our dressage score and came in third out of eleven.