Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kent School H.T.

If nothing else Wesman is always a comedian.

Kent started like any other event we've been too. A small freak out that there isn't enough time followed directly by what seems to be the latest night in the barn ever only to wake up sooner than I fell asleep.We were on the road no later than 6:30am as was the plan. As soon as we were parked I hoped out, got my packet and headed straight to the cross country course. Apparently the signs to the cross country course were put up to entertain the staff- they sent me in a GIANT circle and I ended up back at the trailer. Someone had eventually told me that the course was across the street and off I went, diet coke and course map in hand, but to be perfectly honest I never use the latter.
Everything seemed fine on course. I was pleased to see many of the jumps were shared with training giving a little more height than Apple Knoll had provided but still with the same basic questions we had answered hundreds of times. The only water on course was a puddle in the woods perfectly placed so no one could see Wes quake as he stumbled through it like the big baby he really is. The terrain was hilly, but we'd done our homework and I wasn't the least bit worried as I headed back to prepare for Dressage.
We had the same test as we rode at Apple Knoll so I knew exactly what needed to be worked on- which was pretty much everything! My ring was running early and I was relieved to able to ride before my time since Wes warmed up perfectly in 20 minutes and I didn't want to lose everything in the extra 10 minutes. The medium walk following the free walk left much to be desired but the smirk on Judge Jack Leary's face following my salute lead me to believe that I had made up for it elsewhere. And I suppose I did. A score of 33 put us in second place heading to the next phase. Wesman's lowest score in a recognized event and highest placing thus far- not too shabby!

Beaming with confidence we cantered into the Stadium ring a few hours later... Rail down at jump one- should have prepared better- same turn as jump five at Apple Knoll... same problem but other than that everything seemed to be running smoothly. He did the combination with ease and soon I found myself making the turn to jump 10, the final fence. Aaaaand we stopped. Aaaaaand we went backwards. Wesman had legitimately backed himself into a corner. And there we sat. I kept reassuring the people around the ring that he does this all the time, I promised eventually he will move and everything would be fine. We Racked up time penalties left and right until finally he realized that if he wanted to leave the ring he was going to have to jump the final fence. Upon leaving the ring a woman mentioned that Wesman was "the strangest thing" she'd ever seen, and she proceeded to describe his strange form while backing and bucking. Apparently its hilarious.
So our lovely 33 turned to a 113.7 as quickly as it had come- but the pressure was off for cross country which I suppose was better. After all we are certainly not to the point of expecting ribbons, still just hoping to finish.
Jump 10 should have told me it just wasn't our day, but still I went out to cross country like any other day. Same exact everything as Apple Knoll, right down to socks and underwear, perhaps they were lucky? Unfortunately our outfit was the only thing the same as Apple Knoll.
5...4...3...2...1...0... Good Luck!
A normal horse right about now would have his ears pricked towards the terribly inviting first jump excited about the venture ahead. Not Wesman. He much rather rejoin his new friends in warm up than go into the stupid little box only to jump stupid baby jumps out in a field. But he went in the start box after some serious thinking no doubt. He stepped forward and I thought everything was going to be fine...Did I mention the girl before got too nervous and asked me to go ahead of her? The rider before had fallen and the EMT went out to fetch her. I assured the girl that though Wesman could put up a good fight he has yet to get me off at a show...
Well, I now stand corrected!
After the first step out of the start box he took another then slowed down, halted, and proceeded backwards. Great. He went backwards and backwards and yet more backwards, leaving the galloping lane and first fence behind (ahead?), crossed over the finish line, crossed a small dirt road and found himself back in warm up. Are there rules about this? Can you go back to the warm up ring after you've officially started?
Well I did. I turned him away like Jerry had taught me and just RAN. Get him moving, in any direction, just go! That's what Jerry said to do, so that's what I did. I circled and steered back towards the start box, went right past it and was finally going forward in line to the first jump- this was going to work out, once we did the first jump everything else would be a piece of cake I told myself.
Well it wasn't. As soon as I found my line Wesman came to a complete sudden stop. I toppled over his head and landed on my feet, reins in hand, facing him, glaring at him. He glared back. How dare I steal thunder of his temper tantrum by falling off. I thanked the women doing the start box, the ring steward for warm up and headed back to the trailer... Eliminated, again.
The little girl at the trailer next to us was competing at novice for the first time and had no shortage of questions for me throughout the day. She asked me how cross country went and all I could think to say was "I guess we have more homework to do".
I untacked, and headed to the show office to get my dressage test as mom took Wes for some grazing. There's no use being mad at him.
When I got back to the trailer the only thing that wasn't all packed up was Wes. I loaded him up and we went home empty handed.

I thought things we're finally turning around for us.
I hope Jerry's well enough to teach again-- we need some work!

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