I felt like I needed to work with Katie as my show jumping at Southern Pines was not the best. I usually feel really comfortable with that phase, but instead I had one rail and one whole jump down. I didn’t hold my position over the liverpool— I looked down and lost count of where I was in the line. Poor Wyatt, he was trying to listen to me but I think I just confused him! Katie is a real stickler for flat work so the beginning of my lessons were filled with exercises to make sure I was able to shorten and lengthen Wyatt’s stride and move him off my leg. In both lessons we had to do trot leg yield to canter, then leg yield in the canter for the flying change. In the second lesson, we held the counter canter and did a simple change through the trot so that our horses were always waiting for us to tell them what to do. On the first day’s jumping, we did a simple four-stride line followed by a wide five and a wide six or a more direct four or five. The object was to have the ability to do both easily, whether in the beginning of course or at the end. The second day we were plagued by bad weather, but were lucky to get permission to use Peter Barry’s covered ring. We worked on trot gymnastics; a placement rail to a vertical, 18 feet to an oxer, 21 feet to another oxer, and then the reverse, so that so that the distance went from long to short. This exercise was especially good for Wyatt, confirming his ability to trot in slow and still be in front of my leg, jump out over the oxer and then come back still in front of leg as the distances were decreased. Riding with Katie was a great review for me and was incredibly helpful. Plus, it was really nice to see her and have some time to meet with her in the evening.
So back to Southern Pines and my Intermediate move-up. In spite of the show jumping, Wyatt was great in the dressage and felt I did the best yet on cross-country since my accident. It felt so good to jump around Intermediate again! I was really proud of both Meghan and Kendyl, too. Meghan ended up winning and Kendyl was second in a really tough Intermediate division. Both girls should be so proud of themselves—they can really ride, have great horses and they’ve worked really hard.
We drove back to Virginia on Thursday so we could get ready for Helen to do the Intermediate at Morven. I planned to do a combined test with Wyatt plus take my young horses, Palm Crescent and Kemmerlin. I got them in thanks to the great secretary at Morven, Shannon Pedlar. The nice thing about Morven is that Helen qualified to do a two-star so she’s still on track to try and get to Young Riders this summer. Fingers crossed! She had the best event yet at the Intermediate level and I’m really proud of all the changes she’s been able to make with her riding—Fairhill two-star, here she comes!
My horse were all good at Morven. Wyatt was fine in the dressage though I’m ready for it to be better. I feel like I keep getting the same score, but he feels so good, I think he should score higher. I’m not saying the judges should score me better, but that I need to figure out how to get more sevens, eights and nines and not so many sixes. The show jumping was much improved and that was my whole purpose for going. It was nice to get in the ring and have a fluid round.
Kemmerlin, poor thing, was plagued by bad weather at Morven like so many horses were that weekend. I think I was on and off him about six times, and he went down the center line with rain pelting him in the face. With that being said, he was pretty nice to ride in all three phases, apart from a little mis-communication at the third fence on cross-country when I wanted to wait and he wanted to go. He waited with one leg and then went ahead and hurled himself over the jump, landing on his knees with the reins over his head and caught by just one ear. We did bolt across the field in the wrong direction for about 200 yards, but luckily I got my reins back, pulled up and turned back onto the course. After that, he was so much smarter and more pleasant to ride, though I think I used another of my nine lives!
Palm Crescent was a pleasure to ride, and we had nicer weather on Sunday, though he was pretty spooky in the indoor for dressage. I don’t know that he had ever been in one. After that he was perfect in show jumping and on cross-country.
I had the day off on Monday but ended up teaching some lessons, going over stuff for our horse trials, getting unpacked from the winter in Aiken, and planning a new course to be built in the ring… plus got everything packed and ready to go down to the Fork. Both Meghan and I are going and Kendyl is staying home to concentrate on school and ride the horses here. Anisa is coming up from school because both JR and Anisa’s horse, Tigger, are back in flat work—how exciting is that? Wish us luck and I’ll tell you all about the event when we get home.