So Kitty (As You Wish WF), Mom and I scooted off bright and early this morning in the steady rain to go compete at Flora Lea in Medford, NJ. I will freely admit to having a bit of butterflies as it has been over 12 years since my last outing at a recognized event - ironically enough, on Kitty's dam Volante at Flora Lea in the spring of 1997...but without wandering down memory lane any farther -
The day was a HUGE success! The footing was definitely muddy and deep in many places, there was intermittent rain and many riders having difficulties...Kitty is the consummate professional to show! Our training focus for the last 45 days has been on knocking all the rust off of my jumping skills (thank goodness for Sally Cousins' patient instruction and fine training with Kitty), so our dressage test has to be improved, no question. That being said, Kitty and I are slowly building a good partnership in our dressage performance and there were a few 7's in the body of the test. So there is room for improvement but that is what the future is for!
The stadium course was causing many riders to have 4-20 time faults and there were several refusals and plenty of rails falling. To help keep our focus, Kitty and I would go for a stroll around the warm up in order to keep my mind on how Sally would have told me to ride the course - and it really worked beautifully! We had a clean round (very stylish & smooth in my opinion - not that I am biased or anything) with no time faults. The footing was certainly tricky and again I have to give a lot of thanks for Sally's constant emphasis on preparing for each obstacle and insisting on being fair in what I ask of Kitty. :)
Cross country was a blast!!! (now remember I am a dressage rider!!!!) The optimum time was 4 minutes 45 seconds with speed penalties for finishing in less than 3:42. Kitty and I were pretty conservative in our gallops due to the footing and came in at 4:11, so I am really pleased with how we covered the course. We had alot of really beautiful fences and she is a confident and easy ride...hmmmm, just 1 more Novice at Waredaca and then we will move up to Training. :) I couldn't stop smiling and will now openly admit that eventing is really, really FUN! (especially when you are sitting on a really nice horse!!!)
So we placed 3rd overall finishing on our dressage score and I am so proud of Kitty. She tries so hard to listen to my instructions and is a joy over fences. My undying gratitude goes out to Sally for all her patience and skill in building my confidence...considering how long it has been and how very little interest I had in doing this 'other' sport...she is awesome! (no other way to put it)
Oh and thanks should also go out to mom as she has allowed me to steal Kitty from Sally! It is a real treat to have such a lovely horse to compete. Without the strong support of my parents and Sally, I certainly wouldn't be basking in the glow of a really good day outside of the standard 20m x 60m ring. At times I am reminded of Kitty's dam and other times it is her sire...breeding on the farm with horses you've competed really does make the next generation quite exciting and fascinating all at the same time. :)