Well, we’re back in Tryon this weekend! This time, I already had my braider set and ready to go, but we still managed to not pull into the show grounds until 10:00, in spite of my greatest efforts to get there about 6 hours earlier. Better late than never, right? Anyway, we unpacked, went to the hotel, and crashed by midnight.
On Friday we were signed up for three classes; the 15-17 eq over fences, a 1.0 Training Jumper, and a 1.10 Training Jumper. The day started with the 1.0 meter class, around 9:00. To put it tactfully, it was not exactly pretty. Because the 1.15 Training Jumper was in between the 1.0 meter and the 1.10 meter, we ended up doing our eq class next. It was a lot better than the 1.0 meter round, but still not great.
Truthfully, I was a little nervous about the thought of doing the 1.10 on Ramsey. But, by the time the class finally rolled around, I was so tired from getting no more than 5 hours of sleep the night before, I was completely at ease. I just informed my dad-trainer that if I fell asleep and fell off, he should let me lay in the ring for a bit to catch some z’s.
We ended up having an awesome round. We had one rail because I got Rams a bit deep and he couldn’t quite get his legs out of the way, but he was perfect other than that. And, because we were the fastest four-faulters (oops, not the plan), we got 6th out of a pretty big field. I was proud of him, especially for his first ever round at 1.10 meter.
On Saturday, we signed up for the WIHS Jumper and Hunter Phases. The jumper phase was first thing in the morning in the Grand Prix ring, bright and early at 7:30. This time, because of the successful trip in the 1.10 Training yesterday, we were pretty sure we were ready for the class. But, there were a few things that could affect that. Firstly, it was the first class of the day, instead of the last. Secondly, Ramsey hadn’t had his full breakfast, which makes him cranky. And third, there was a liverpool.
Despited his annoyance at only getting a handful of grain, he warmed-up well and I went into the ring knowing I had to ride him hard, but still confident we would get around. We walked into the ring, picked up our canter, and make a big circle while waiting for the buzzer in order to establish our pace (which Ramsey is sometimes very resistant to). After the buzzer sounded, and we began the turn to the timers, I could tell he was not moving off my leg. In anticipation of a possible issue at the first fence, I gave him a hard smack on the shoulder with my crop, in hopes of him realizing that stopping was a no-no.
Well, it didn’t work. We came through the turn, approached the jump, passed the timers, and, about two strides in front of the jump, he stopped, in spite of my spurs and crop. He definitely got a smack on the booty for that.
So, frustrated, I circled him and cropped and spurred him all the way over the fence. I wish I could say it smoothed out after that, but it didn’t. Luckily, we had no more stops, not even at the liverpool, but it was not a pretty course by any means. Combined with our four faults for the stop, and the multiple time faults we received for circling, we got a whopping score of 4. Yes, that’s right, 4. Not 40. Not even 14. 4. We got a score of 4.
Now, upon hearing this score, I could not help but laugh. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a 4 being awarded. It’s comical. Laughable. Hilarious. The best part is, though, we still beat the girl who stopped out. Booyah. You guys should be jealous of our success.
So, needless to say, upon exciting the ring, we immediately signed up for a 1.10 Child/Adult Jumper class for schooling. This round, too, was not pretty. But, in spite of having 20 faults in rails and scratching my boots after Ramsey drug my leg along a standard, it served its training purposes.
After that class, we literally had to walk straight from the gate to the warm-up ring for the WIHS Hunter Phase. After the two jumper classes, Ramsey was definitely “up,” so we cantered a few laps to get our nice, consistent hunter canter back. Then we hopped over a few jumps and headed into the ring.
Aside from having to ride aggressively to the first fence and Ramsey spooking at the flowers on the last jump, and adding a stride because of it (not ugly, just not pretty), it was a really good round, especially in comparison to the rest of the rounds today. So, we went from getting a 4 in the jumper phase to getting a 69 in the hunter phase. Obviously, it still isn’t a great score, but I was really happy with how Ramsey improved and I was pretty happy with how I rode.
I’m hopeful that tomorrow will be even better and that he will continue to improve as we continue to show him. There are aspects to this entire situation that are very frustrating. It’s disappointing, sometimes, to know I would have had a great round if I were on a seasoned horse. But, this is the hand I’ve been dealt. I’m very fortunate in a lot of ways and, while it may sometimes be hard, that’s what I need to focus on. And, overall, I could not possibly be more proud of Ramsey. It’s hard to believe that six months ago he had just started jumping, two weeks ago his did his first 3’3″ courses, and now he is showing in the Big Eq. Even though he’s not being perfect, he has really stepped up to the plate for me. Fingers crossed for a good round in the Maclay!