Tuesday, May 3, 2016

St. Augustine Springfest Horse Trials

As planned, Klein and I competed at St. Augustine last Sunday in the NR division.  This was an unrecognized event and was a prep for our next recognized.  Everywhere we have evented recognized so far (NM, AZ, GA) have all had their horse trials over two days.  Here the common theme seems be to have all three phases in one day.  We have done that before at a couple unrecognized in CO and FL, but it has been a little while, so this would be a good refresher as far as time management and strategy. 

Plus, St. Augustine used to run recognized HTs, so the course was a proper xc course for the level with plenty of room between fences, and a variety of fences and terrain.  The catch?  It was projected to pour all day.  No matter, we were going.  Good training opportunity, and it would be in the 50's, a far cry from the 31 degrees with rain and snow we wimped out on a few weeks ago for the clinic.

The weatherman was right for once.  It poured.  All.  Day.  I had pretty early ride times so Klein and I were on the road at 5am that morning.  It was raining when we left and it rained the entire time down there, during the event, and all the way home.  The FB page for the HT had posted a picture of everything set up on Saturday and said "See you tomorrow!  Raine or shine!"  We have actually never run on a soaked course before so it would be a good day for team building and navigating some sloppy xc.

Klein warmed up really nicely for dressage.  She felt great.  The little tricks Lainey aka 19th at Rolex aka clear on Rolex xc aka double clear in Rolex stadium this past weekend taught us have been put to use every ride since.  Klein was also adjusted by the chiropractor that Friday.

We ended up going early.  So you're saying I can go early and get out of the rain quicker?  And my horse just warmed up damn near perfect.  Yes please and thank you, we'll absolutely go early!  Klein couldn't have cared less about the down pour.

Dressage rings.

We went in and had a wonderful test.  I knew we were going to get a good score.  She just felt great.  As we walked out of the ring, a couple people stopped us to say how lovely she went.  I don't think they were expecting that from this big horse with a bunch of Thoroughbreds swirling around her in the warm up.

We didn't have long before stadium and xc.  We had just enough time to tack up and go to the warm up ring for both.  The stadium course was nothing too complicated.  They had some pretty cool jumps in there.  One had a brick wall under it with a roll top being the next fence after and one jump had barrels painted like Minions that was causing a few problems.  It was a decorative course and I always appreciate those. 


The Minion jump was the one with the blue barrels.  I wish I would have taken a closer picture of it, it was cute.

Klein warmed up for stadium like it was any other sunny day.  We were hearing it was slick landing from the roll top.  It was a bit slick in the ring overall but it actually was probably the smoothest stadium we've ever had.  I felt like I rode slightly protective in stadium at Plantation letting her take a deep spot or two.  There was no reason for that.  She doesn't need that, especially not at this level.  So I also wanted to use this HT as a practice to not do that, and I didn't, and we had a great round! 

We kept moving in the cold rain after stadium because we only had 15 mins until our xc time.  I didn't jump anything else after that, she just jumped a course, she was ready for xc.  I started sneaking toward the box hoping to have the chance to go early.  People were coming back saying how slick the course was. 

I told her it was just like any other sunny day and we were off.  In my mind, I was slightly concerned with her slipping on take off so I was riding a bit defensive and trying to be kind of conservative.  She was ready to take off, and I'd love to ride this course on a nice day when we can safely do that.

Here is the course (Their N course is blue with white numbers for some reason):

 We got a weird spot to this one, but there's no extra credit for being pretty about it as long as you make it over, right?! This was completely my fault.  I kind of wanted to get a feel for how it was going to be right in front of the jumps, and really I shouldn't have done that.  It's all grass right there, obviously.  I was one of the first ten riders on it so it wasn't tore up yet.  Hindsight... *sigh*


 We slowed down going down this so we didn't go skiing down it.

 After jumping this we ran along side of that hill and into the woods.

Super pretty course!  But this part was VERY slick.  I slowed her to a trot for a small part of this then we picked it up going back up the hill and she wanted to GO.  She was not understanding what the fuss was about.

 ...but it was SO pretty!

 Over this then down to the water.

 I did notice very deep hoof prints leading down into the water so I did slow her to a trot coming down into it.  One rider said her horse slipped and actually fell coming out of it but luckily she stayed on, they were both fine, and finished the course.



 Another easy, straight forward one.


Ok, so I'm not sure what happened here but I think Klein might have left on a half stride.  This is an easy fence, it's straight forward and I honestly am not sure what I did but we kind of slid over it.  I realized it was going bad and just threw my arms forward to give her her head and just told her to go and we got over it.  

 She felt just the slightest bit hesitant coming to this, probably because she was wondering what in the actual f just happened, but I just squeezed her and she didn't give it a second though.  I'm glad we had one more fence to go so that way we wouldn't end on an ugly note and she would have that reassurance that we're fine, don't worry about it, just keep on keepin' on.

As we walked after the finish someone said "That girl will do anything for you won't she??"  I said, "Yeah, when it comes down to it, because she knows I'd do the same for her."  That second to last fence was a bit embarrassing but it was purely a freak thing that I haven't given a second thought to.  We finished strong, and that was the most challenging xc for us because of how slippery it was.  Despite it being cold and wet, I'm really glad we got the opportunity to run in it because it gave us some great training.

My video editor is currently not cooperating, so I'll have to post helmet cam video later.
Proud of our teamwork again that day.

After I had Klein all taken care of, I went to return my pinney and check scores.  

 Klein mare be like..."If you don't stop with the pictures and take this tack off of me, put my cooler on, wrap me, give me a drink, let me eat some of this grass, and give me my granola bar..."  Actually I gave her extra granola bars and I would have given her the whole damn box of 96 if I could.

I hadn't seen our dressage yet.  It turns out we scored a 27.9 on that test (including a "nicely supple" comment) and we won our division.  She had a nine point lead from start to finish and finished on her dressage score. 

And I won a shirt.

 Soaked but happy to be home!


  1. NICELY SUPPLE?! You must have the first test in history to get that! Congrats on a super ride and awesome show! That course looks like a ton of fun, but damn, I would be hesitant about riding it in the rain. I'm so very, very glad I don't have to ride against you out here in Cali!

  2. Congrats. A lot of those jumps looked really cute. They have a good course/jump designer.

  3. Congrats on a great result! That looks like a really nice course (although, maybe better on a drier day?)

  4. Congratulations! My friend was at this same horse trial, she and her mare Myrtle placed first in their division as well.

  5. Congrats on the blue ribbon and shirt! Rainy days make me glad I show dressage where we can retreat into an indoor arena and attempt to not get soaked and cold.