Pretty sure this is my new favorite pic ever.
A week ago last Sunday Klein and I competed at the recognized Horse Park of New Jersey Horse Trials 2 in the Novice Rider division. Rain threatened the event all week and even the morning we were supposed to be loading up it was pouring so hard I could barely see the road in front of our house. All three of the ponies were standing up under the barn watching their pastures flood. Thankfully it stopped just in time for me to run out and lower my trailer on my truck, give Klein another quick bath, load her, feed Mochs and Wes, and be on my way.
Klein and I got there with plenty of time before our dressage ride at 11:13. She had been a bit of a handful in her loose ring again the week prior so I put her in her Boucher for dressage. My plan worked and she felt great. I had already planned to have a longer warm up for dressage than normal to make sure I had her attention but she didn't need it. We went about fifteen minutes early too. If we can go early, we go. Rain was threatening us that afternoon again so if it was going to be anything like that morning, I wanted to get as much done at the event as we could before it potentially got nasty.
The rings were sloppy from all the rain that week and that morning. Though sloppy it wasn't bad to ride in. Klein felt great and put in a very nice test. I felt confident with it. There was no drifting of the haunches on our final turn up the center line and I rode with my whip this time so she was a bit more forward. No pictures again, unfortunately. The Other Half was gone for work again so it was just Klein and I until a couple friends got there later that afternoon to hang out with us.
Klein baby not particularly thrilled she had to stop snacking on her alf to go do some dressage.
Klein scored a 32.50 on that test. I honestly felt like she did better than that, but a 32.50 isn't terrible either, so we were happy with that. I need to go back and look closely at the test but I know there were a lot of 7's and some 8's on there. The scribe for our ring was in the office when I picked my test up and said she just loved Klein and really appreciated seeing something different in the ring besides the 183,485,302,384,210 TBs that are at every event. You'll never catch me in that club. She also remarked how light Klein is on her feet and how despite the sloppy rings, Klein didn't go in there splashing around.
Stadium was supposed to be at 1:26 but we moved our ride up to 1 because we were going to warm up with my instructor again and to make her crazy schedule easier we went early. Again, I was more than happy to go early all day in hopes we would beat the rain coming in that afternoon.
Klein warmed up a little behind the leg but woke up on the last warm up fence and when I felt that nice, round effort we headed for the in gate. Because of all the rain that week it was extremely humid. So I was trying to be a bit conservative with her energy because I knew the heat and humidity were less than pleasant conditions.
Stadium was just making a mess of every level that weekend. Every one was taking number four. Three to four was a bending line and you pretty much had to jump four on an angle. People were getting to it crooked and back legs kept tapping it. That fence even claimed BDJ that day. We had worked on squaring our turns lately to make sure we were straight on our approaches so it was the perfect time to put that to use.
We went in and Klein felt great. Everyone was also taking out number two, so I took note of that and made sure to sit up a little more than I thought I needed to make sure Klein was balanced to it.
Number six ended up claiming us. Both sides didn't even come out of the cups. It was annoying but the rest of the round was great and more improvements were evident in the quality of Klein's canter and our pace. A friend took video of our round so you guys can see how it went:
Cross country...oh cross country how Klein LOVES her xc. I was excited when I walked the course. it was clear that it was a step up in difficulty from the last horse trials, like it is supposed to be. I am really loving the Horse Park of NJ. We had bigger/wider fences early in the course, the bank and drop was now also on the front end of the course as well.
As usual, as soon as Klein saw the xc fences when we were walking to the warm up her ears shot up. In the warm up, suddenly it wasn't so hot and humid. She was SO READY. She didn't want to listen to half halts and she came to the warm up fences a bit sloppy but they also had starter size fences for warm up this time too and that didn't help. There wasn't even a starter level running that weekend so I'm not sure why they had the tiny stuff for warm up. The proper Novice warm up fences were just a few hundred feet away and could have easily been used. Actually I think Training was warming up with them earlier that day.
Anyway, Klein didn't need any warm up. I jumped her twice and cantered down to the starting box. We went early for xc too. After stadium we had an hour until our xc ride time but we just went straight over there and the warm up guy was like "You ready? You want to go in two riders?" Um yes please! Must. Beat. Rain. Storm.
Here was our course:
The Jersey Shore. We actually entered to the left of this. We had to go through the water, up on the bank in the middle and down through the water on the other side.
This picture doesn't quite show just how down hill it was to this one.
Ha, can you tell this was set on kind of an angle??
You'll hear me again after the ditch because she acted like it wasn't even there and I kind of half laughed. The wine barrel jump right after the ditch was catching some horses off guard. It was an immediate right turn uphill to the barrel jump that was in a shady spot. The horse and rider before us stopped at it actually. Klein couldn't have cared less and the photographer actually got a really nice picture of us over it. We got to it perfectly. I'll probably end up buying that pic too.
Klein baby off the other side of the bank.
Heading to the barrels from the ditch.
My girl just doing what she does.
We were double clear with plenty of time to spare. Klein galloped right to everything. She was just awesome. Like usual, I wish I could have went right back to the startbox and went again.
Here is the helmet cam:
And here are a few other clips from around the course:
And Klein baby coming up to and over fence 9 (click to play):
With our rail, our final score was 36.50 and we finished 3rd out of 18 starters. Another fun day out with my horse of a lifetime!
P.S. As we were leaving I saw the dark storm clouds in the distance and about fifteen minutes after we left the horse park it let LOOSE on the horse park! A wall of water hit the last half of the BN divisions! The pictures are crazy! We got out of there just in time!