Anna and I made the long trek to Baird, Texas (near Abilene) for the Corona Del Sol Horse Trials. We have re-named this event Corona de la Lluvia, as it never stopped raining the entire time. It was quite strange to get in the truck that morning at home in the mountains and get out of the truck later that afternoon surrounded by cacti, Texas themed XC fences, and scrub-brush.
Despite the calm and fun atmosphere, Stromboli went into full-scale dressage melt-down before his test and turned into a monster-truck doing power-slide donuts. I was determined to persevere through his tension, and with a routine of ride, lunge, ride, lunge, ride, break (hose off, de-mud), and ultimately entering the dressage ring with only a walking second-ride warm-up, we actually put in one of our best tests yet. Sadly, the dressage judge did not agree, and we received a 42.9, putting us in last place (although only 10 points from first!). Thought I was disappointed with the score, I actually was quite proud of him for being able to get through the initial tension, and I know a score in the low 40's is vastly preferable to the 50's we have received in the past. We had some really strong trot work with good lengthenings, but still haven't quite nailed the left lead canter transition and the stretching trot and walk movements.
Comanche also put in a very improved dressage test to earn a 42.
The weather made for some slick conditions in all 3-phases, especially show jumping which was run in increasing levels (Starter --> PT) creating some sticky Texas sludge by the time Stromboli had to do his course. Anna and Comanche had a nice double-clear round and quickly headed out onto the XC course.
Due to the really bad warm-up conditions, I elected to only jump Stromboli over three fences and mostly just walk on the dirt-road before stadium. The reins were slipping through my hands badly and I entered the stadium ring just praying to make it through the course without a lost shoe or injury. Stromboli really pulled out his best behavior and was WONDERFUL! We had a slip before fence 7 and tapped the rail down, but I have no doubt he easily would have been able to pull out a nice double clear in some better conditions. Ultimately no one in my division was able to manage a double clear and we moved up to 6th going into XC.
I'll let the photos speak for themselves, but Corona Del Sol had a course that was definitely unlike anything we have done before. One of the most challenging and fun fences was a skinny upright gate with two strides to a down-bank. We also had a water-complex with A-B-C elements, a skinny Texas flag fence combination to an up-bank, and a variety of maxed out tables. I came through the finish flags with 20+ seconds to spare and a huge cheesy grin on my face. The course felt like logs on the ground and Stromboli had energy and scope to spare the entire time. Our double-clear XC trip moved us up to third place, qualifying for the Area V Training Championships!
Stops and time were also plentiful in Anna and Comanche's BN division, and though they had a run-out at fence 2 for 20 penalties, they still ended the weekend in 6th place! The weather was really bad, but this was a very fun event with some super nice people!
The 2014 season is officially underway! We started at Feather Creek in Norman, OK. As was expected, the weather was TERRIBLE, but that didn't stop the horses. We brought Stromboli to run his second Novice and Comanche to run the Beginner Novice, his first event ever and Anna's first event in many many years.
After a long and tough winter of mostly riding on the roads due to incredibly awful snow/rain/sleet/snow/mud and a lot of thinking (though lack of practice) about how to best ride Stromboli's weakest phase, the dreaded dressage, I was incredibly proud to ride an orderly and respectful test. When I saw my score of 37, I nearly cried! Despite the thunder and rain during our stadium, Stromboli pulled off an expected double-clear for both jump phases and we finished on our dressage score to earn a 4th. Anna added one rail to her dressage score and ended in 7th place in the SRBN division.
Adventures eventing as a semi-pro in the mid-south.