Hmmmm... interesting weekend actually...
Went down Friday night and rode in the sand arena as wanted him to be as acclimatised as possible. Was silly for 20 minutes and then bingo, he all of a sudden settled and started to work quite nicely.
Saturday morning dawned, weather was crap, day consisted of pretty much constant drizzle. Tacked up & rode to the sand arena to warm up and he was just beautiful to ride, lovely and soft and straight and was listening & was even soft across the top of his poll, which is always the last place to soften on him. Went over to ride up the bank to the grass arena's and he didn't want to go up there, get up the arena and then he decides to be an acrobatic idiot in front of the spectators. We even got a few giggles as I was just saying "Don't even THINK about it" when he promptly launched & leapt into the air. Did a 4 foot plant in front of the judges car, where we then promptly had our bell rang. He pulled out an amazing lengthened trot going down the long side away from the judges car & I just knew the test was going to go to custard LOL
He powered up the centreline, however managed to stay really straight, so that was a good start. Unfortunately he just got more and more energetic as the test went on and by the time came to canter, he did his elevated canter on both reins, and every single step, instead of his normal "left rein only & only the second step after transition"
Pulled him out of canter as early as possible on each rein, however I do have to say he did some really nice trot work and a lovely free rein walk (no idea how he was so relaxed when he was a such a shyite for everything else!!) After our test, I went and worked him in the sand arena again for 10 minutes. Funnily enough, he was straight back to being super nice & polite. In fact a friend who didn't realise we hadn't gone, even commented, "Gosh he's going super, I bet you hope your test is soon!" LOL oh well, never mind, its the second time he's gotten a bit tense at the grass arena's at WEC, wonder if he remembers the jet boat from last time?
Went back to the truck and changed gear for the SJing as just wanted to get it over & done with and try & get him back in his warm covers before the weather got too much worse. Thank goodness for studs, footing was pretty grotty, so jumped hard up the right side of all the practice jumps to try and get a clean track in. Went into the ring and decided with all the yuck corners that perhaps our Show Hunter "expertise" could possibly put us in good stead. Turns out it really helped, except for a small slip coming into jump 6 which resulted in our one and only rail.
Got both of us dried and changed into warm clothing before we could freeze any further.
Lucky I have all my rugs in the truck, it was so cold down there that I ended up with the woollen show rug on my bed with hot water bottle and he was wearing everything else!
Cross Country day - luckily the weather cleared up for it, as was quite an interesting track, making the most of the little steep hills. We had to do a sharp turn onto a steep short downhill to a ditch in front of a log upright. It was just like a palisade but without the solid back wall, quite weird being able to see straight through LOL I had my whip out and legs on and everything and unfortunately we had a stop there, I can honestly, hand on heart, say that it wasn't for lack of riding on my part, we even slid in to the ditch as I was so committed. After he finishing shaking & overreacting about the jump, I turned a tight circle, gave him a good smack half a stride out & he leapt over it like it was going to burn him. Had to sit up & get him controlled again as 6 strides later was a drop fence on the edge of a very steep hill. He hesitated momentarily before leaping over it, I'm sure the butt paddling he got going in to helped as well LOL
He went the rest of the way around the course clear, including jumping the big log into the water and doing all the harder options, straight through the bounce etc. Very proud of my boy by the end, he is just turning into such a machine, I am really looking forward to giving pre novice a good crack next season!!
Photos from the weekend here: http://www.takethemoment.co.nz/photos/v/events/TeRapa/Mattingley_N7324.JPG.html