Saturday, August 2, 2008

Apple Knoll H.T.

Apple Knoll has seen me with many firsts:
I did my first event ever there years ago,
it was the first event Billy finished at Beginner Novice,
and was the first event that I got a ribbon at with Billy a year later...
And this time around was to be no different...

As we were driving up to Apple Knoll I had realized that Wesman would be the 6th horse I've ridden at an event at Apple Knoll- it made me feel wicked old!

We arrived with plenty of time to walk the course and set up camp before Dressage began. We were parked out back in a fairly secluded location that most would have loved, but Dad's tent would not be seen by everyone and was therefor a tad disappointed.
I walked the cross country course as soon as we got there. To be perfectly honest I could have done a better job with some more detailed planning but I truly didn't think we would make it that far based upon our past experiences... But the course look solid. Nothing was maxed out, nothing terribly technical, and best of all no water. It was a good course, there wasn't much to think about, the terrain seemed to aid towards the preparation to most of the obstacles perfectly... but before we could think of cross country we had to endure a dressage test.
(Real quick check out the braided forelock!)
Warm up was up in the ring at the top of the hill, while the rings were set in the large sand ring at the bottom of the hill- right away ruining my plan to not walk following warm up and just go straight to the ring. I figured when I begin my warm up Wes loosens up but after a walk break he gets really tense- so why walk? But we had to walk down a fairly steep hill, cross a paved road, and turn the corner in order to find the dressage ring... not really my plan.
(one of few good moments in the test)
Needless to say our dressage test wasn't the best. Wesman was very tense the whole time and I could for the life of me loosen him up... His canter work was pretty good and some of the trot work after cantering was better, but its hard to recover when there aren't very many movements in the test. We scored in the low 40's which was good enough for 12th place... out of 14. HOWEVER the 1st place score was no more than 6 points lower than mine...

We had very little time between Dressage and Stadium. Just enough time for Mom to take Wes for a walk to cool out while I changed and got all the jumping tack together. We were expected to go to Cross Country directly after Stadium meaning vests and all in the ring!

Our stadium course over all was good. There was one jump that didn't work out right and we had a rail- I didn't see a distance so failed to make any decision-TOTALLY THE RIGHT THING TO DO! But we moved up a couple places before heading out to Cross Country.

Lets take a moment to talk about how we made it to cross country. We weren't eliminated yet!

So we went out to cross country warm up. There wasn't much to do since we just came from stadium, but I ran through the check list and headed to the start box. I couldn't tell you the last time I went to the start box. It was awesome. 5...4...3...2...1...Have a great ride! And we were off!! At the trot! The first jump was TINY. Shared with beginner novice- so I opted to trot it and give Wes some more time to check out what was going on...
Following the particularly slow first jump it was smooooooooth sailing over every obstacle all the way to the finish flags with out a single penalty!

Not only did we finish cross country for the first time but we were double clear! This was awesome!!

But wait, it gets better!

After lunch with a few old friends I headed back to the show office to pick up my Dressage Test and decided to take a peak at the score board on my way back. I had found then that I was in 10th place... Ribbons started at 8th and with my double clear cross country I figured I had a pretty good chance at moving up a few more spots. We had move up 6 spots since Dressage and finished in 6th!

Ok so recap....
We finished the event- for the first time.
We went clear on cross country- for the first time.
We got a ribbon- for the first time.

Apple Knoll=fav!

We're trying to get into Kent and see if we can hold on to this awesome momentum!!

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