So over the weekend I took Amir to his first ODE. He's 4.5 years and we just went to a local one 10 minutes down the road. I put him in training level which was a maximum height of 60cm.
Dressage needs a lot of work, but we've only just started working on it and with a lack of somewhere with good footing to ride, it becomes a little difficult. It was his first time in a sand arena and the sand was new and rather deep. He got a little frustrated and wasn't very forward moving like he normally is. The only comments we got were "above bit" and "not moving forward". Well, it's training level for a reason guys! It's the lowest level there was. Hate the judges that want the horse "on the bit" in every level. Ah well, dressage had us placed 15th out of 22 riders.
Show jumping was interesting. There was 9 jumps, with one combination. Out of those 9 jumps, there was ONE that he didn't try to hesitate and spook at. So everyone watching was pretty entertained with me yelling at him and using "angry mum voice" to get him through the course. All the jumps had crazy wings and scary fill under it. It was his 3rd time jumping a full course and the first time with that amount of scary stuff. I was really happy to only end up with one refusal. There were a lot of people eliminated so we were then coming 9th out of 12 riders.
Cross country was the only phase I was really worried about because he'd never been on a full course before. Only ever been able to practice one or two jumps and they were all naturals. Not sure if many people are aware, but in January Australia had some major flooding in Queensland where I'm from and all the local courses were destroyed. This one was only finished being rebuilt about a week before the event.
I'd never actually done the xc phase properly before. I usually just went out and had fun and be ****ed with the optimum time. So my friend had me go out with her and measure the course properly and lent me her watch. So I was just hoping to get through the course without him killing me.
He was just AMAZING. Every minute was right on my markers. He was a little hesitant with the jump stewards around the course and coming up to the first 4 or 5 jumps, but he settled in nicely and he event went straight through the water jump without thinking twice!
Pretty sure that I was more exhausted after the course than he was... But he just loved it. We ended up finishing 6th overall
I'm just so proud of him and wanted to share my excitement with some like minded people. I think that I'll be doing more than my usual one or two ODE's a year now... I may be traveling a little to go to a few more and maybe even get up to official classes so I can try to qualify for states in the next few years.
The only bad thing about the weekend - there were NO pro photographers on site for it!!
But here is a photo of my special little one with his pretty ribbon so my rambling wasn't a total waste lol