Which brings us to cross country schooling!
Before I left on my trip to Nicaragua, I signed us up for a derby... at Novice. Not to mention that we had only jumped once in the past year or two, and that we hadn't jumped cross country in several years. Let's just do Novice since we haven't even jumped xc that big! (where's that sarcasm font when you need it)
The night before we went cross country schooling, I schooled Jetta a couple times over a jump in our own arena, just to make sure she could still jump. She did really great and I kept jacking the jump up until it was roughly 3' and she was foot perfect, minus being a bit zoomy about it.
The next day we hauled to Inavale and schooled everything I could get the courage to do. It all looked HUGE. I don't know what it is, but a 3' stadium jump looks like no big deal, but a 2'11" xc jump looks massive and impossible to clear.
|Acting like she doesn't care|
But we seriously had the best cross country experience to date and I think it was one of my absolute favorite rides on Jetta. I have been thinking for a long time that maybe Jetta doesn't want to event. She doesn't particularly seem to enjoy cross country and we pretty much only have one completion at an event ever... She loves stadium and tolerates dressage so maybe those are things that we should stick with. But after our ride that day, I really think it's just confidence building and more experience that we need to be successful. We seriously did a couple Training level jumps and I didn't die!
|We jumped that log into the water!|
|Other side of the log|
We had lots of refusals, but not one of those was a dirty stop and I felt them coming all a mile away. She just needed to look at the fence and then she'd jump it. The only real issue we had was with the big bank jump down after coming out of the water, but after practicing on the little bank a couple times it was no big deal. We did a really fun bending line from a blue barn coop to an up bank, to a bigger blue barn coop. We even did this Training level hanging log jump into the water. I was blown away that Jetta would do it for me! Jetta was a little bit of a snow plow after the jumps and she did try to get away from me twice, but I never felt like I was super out of control, just that I needed to remember to sit up and half halt after the jump.
|Bank we finally conquered|
I was feeling a lot better after cross country schooling and looking forward to the show. Since I don't have any media from the show really, I'll just do a giant post about it too!
|Can't believe we jumped this|
Dressage went fairly well first thing in the morning. Jetta was a bit amped up because we tried warming up in the indoor arena while they were cleaning stall and all the four wheelers and loud noises was making her spooky so I gave up. I was expecting her to be a lot hotter during our test so I rode too conservatively. I knew we'd get comments about getting Jetta more forward from behind and over her back, but I was just happy that I didn't have a tense little fireball on my hands like our last dressage show!
I was pretty happy with our score. We got a 30.9 placing us in second place. Comments were as expected, mostly 7's with an 8 for our free walk (Jetta's favorite). Mostly about getting more bend, steadier connection and a freer back.
Cross country I was so incredibly nervous for. I walked the course and we had mostly schooled everything on there, with a couple exceptions. The down bank was the very large one which we had only schooled the small and medium ones. The trakehner was the medium sized one and we had only ever schooled the small one (also, I find them terrifying in all sizes), and the 10AB combination was a downhill combo with the first fence being a stadium fence and the second was a ditch we'd never schooled.
|Trakehner of death|
Overall though, it seemed pretty doable. I was nervous for the trakehner so I mentally allowed myself one refusal for it.
The first 9 fences went BEAUTIFULLY. She did refuse the trakehner, but she jumped it on the second try, so I was really happy. I thought "It's all downhill from here, the rest are easy!" Fail.
|We tackled this big down bank easily!|
Apparently ditches are really terrifying things and are not to be trusted. I'm not sure what it was exactly, but that ditch was a horse eating monster and we had two refusals and were eliminated. I think it was a combo of being a new jump, being the second element of a combo, and being a downhill jump that all just threw a wrench in things. I was really bummed. They let us continue so I went around the ditch to one of the big blue houses that we've jumped before... and refusal. She jumped it the second time though, so we continued to a big roll top that we had jumped before... and refusal. After we cleared it the second time I just said we were done and left. I think that was what I was most disappointed about. After our amazing confidence building schooling round, we just completely lost all confidence over that ditch. That really bummed me out.
But in the grand scheme of things, Jetta still tried really hard. She was super good about not snow plowing and didn't try to get away from me, she came back perfectly every time I asked her to, which was a huge win. I watched the three riders before me - 2 got eliminated for refusals and one was a rider pull because her horse managed to get his shoe halfway off in the middle of the course. So at least we weren't alone! It was just a bummer because I really wanted that little ribbon! There's always next time of course.
I'm hoping to get some professional pictures, but we'll see. I feel terrible saying this, but I really don't like the photographer that's there. Plus this year he's charging $20 just to look at the proofs. Which, if it was someone I liked and I had complete confidence that they'd have some awesome pictures of us I'd do it in a heartbeat, but I'm not usually impressed with his pictures, so we'll see. I'm always grateful to have a photographer at an event and I know it takes a ton of work to take and edit and post those pictures, so I'm happy to pay for them... if they're actually good pictures. Fingers crossed!