Well it felt as if we had just gotten home from Catalpa as we were heading on the road to another show. We could do the drive to Illinois with our eyes closed. Once again the weather was great and the horses traveled well. We arrived safe and sound to Wayne DuPage Horse Trials.
It was going to be a fun weekend I could tell as soon as we arrived. I had picked up a catch ride for Katy Bloomquist-Holub on her pony, yes literally a pony, Juliette, at her first Training Level event. Hannah had come off an awesome dressage lesson on Weds and we were ready to perform.
Maria had Pete at the show and this would be her last novice before we have her move up to training level at Trott Brook Horse Trials so we really wanted a positive, confident run.
Friday was dressage. Hannah was first to go, I decided to ride her in the double bride as we were riding Intermediate Test B which is held in the large arena, our favorite! She performed a beautiful test while her rider on the other hand was a little out of it. I had one error in our test, we were supposed to walk KBM and I accidentally walked KXM, we had to re-perform our movement but scored a 7 on it, which is great as we don't normally score well on our walks! We were in Arena 1 right next to the road and in one of our 3 loop canter serpentines, a truck decided to use it's air brakes and Hannah did not like that so much, spooked a little but came right back to work. Despite my mistake and the slight spook I felt as if we had really given it our best. Later in the day I found out that our score really reflected the hard work we had been putting in with my trainers Alison Sader Larsen and Ken Larsen. We were sat in first on a 24.6, the best score we have EVER earned. I was thrilled.
I then had a bigger challenge of making sure the pony would perform a decent dressage test. She definitely loves to jump, but does not enjoy the dressage so much. She gets bored. For the most part she was well behaved. Slightly jiggy in the walk and quick in her transitions but we earned a 39.5 which put us in 16th out of a division of 17...oh well, we went to jump around anyway!
Maria had a lovely test as usual on Pete, they scored a 35.8 which I thought was a little harsh but that sat them in 5th place in a Jr Novice division of 13. Again, we mainly wanted the both of them to have a great confident weekend before their big move up to training level.
Friday we walked the cross country courses. I thought the Intermediate course looked great and had some challenging questions on it. The question I was most worried about was the bounce banks down, bending line to a triple step skinny. Well my worries proved to be correct as we did end up having a run out on Saturday due to some inexperience at the Intermediate level. I circled her right around and she popped right on over it on our second attempt. We racked up some time with our run out but we still sat comfortably in 4th.
The Training Level course looked fun, because I had only been riding Prelim for the last four years it was refreshing to see something slightly smaller, especially because I was on a pony that I had only a few rides on and it was her first training. The course was a nice forward course, not too many combinations but some maxed out training fences for sure. The pony was full of piss and vinegar in the warm up but I knew she would settle in once we were out of the start box and heading out on course. I wasn't quite sure of how to run her because she was a pony, so of course generally she would have a smaller stride. I did a lot of preparation and really had to ride up to each fence but in between I let her run as fast as she wanted to, which was probably as fast as she could run. We jumped clean and came in well under the time. Our double clean moved us up into the 12th place position.
It was odd being done before noon on Saturday with two rides, so we enjoyed the company of friends until it was time to coach Maria and Pete. They warmed up well and I told her to get her rear in the tack and kick on to that first fence as he can be sticky out of the start box at times. Of course he was, she gave him one hell of a ride with three good smacks on his backside over the first fence. He was all business from there on out! Didn't even take a peak at the water and they came in double clean. We were all thrilled with our day and looking forward to show jumping on Sunday.
Sunday was great. Hannah warmed up well. Of course having moved up to Intermediate the show jumping courses still seem to look large! We had a great round and Hannah was clearing the jumps with room to spare. We had an unfortunate rail at fence 7 but completed the round within the time and held onto our 4th place position. I was thrilled.
The pony's training level jumps look large as well, especially sitting on her outside the ring. It comforted me that friend Jamie Marlewski had her even smaller pony, Bad Bad Leroy Brown, in my division. The pony, like Hannah, jumped the jumps with room to spare, and put in a double clean round to finish on her dressage score of a 39.5. We moved up from our 12th place position after the cross country to 6th place. It was quite an exciting weekend!
It was then time for Maria to jump Pete. We were aiming for a double clean show jumping round as Pete tends to become lazy with his feet, we really wanted to get in a double clean round before her training move up. We followed our plan, Maria rode very well and they came out of the ring having left all the rails in place! We were ecstatic. She finished in 4th place as well.
After a fun weekend, we had to load everything up in the pouring rain. Everything was drenched, we were tired and just wanted to get home. Nate took the wheel while I slept for a few hours and then we switched. We arrived home again with happy, healthy and sound horses.