Didn't ride yesterday due to downright miserable weather. I discovered today that it was a slightly bad idea, because Bella was really fresh. As in, difficult to ride fresh, which is saying something because usually Bella's easy enough to ride.
Anyway, first show of the summer! I intended to jump the 80 and 90cm horse classes, but in the end pulled out of the 90 because the 80cm consisted of two round, first one fences 1-10, second, 1-7, which is seventeen fences, it was a pretty spread out course, and fence 6 was a triple, so actually that's 21 fences overall. Bella was sweating a lot by the end, but it was mainly because she wasted so much energy spooking, prancing about and generally being a typical TB.
She seemed pretty sharp when we arrived, and initally, was going quietly in the warmup but as she started to waken up more she became more forward to the point where she would try to break into a trot when I walked and a canter when I trotted, and when I asked her to canter she just grabbed the bit and tanked. I ride her in a snaffle at home but a dutch gag at shows because once she gets into a jumping ring it's as if she is connected to a switch that someone has turned to high voltage. I hate the gag but it's the only thing I can hold her in, because when she wants to be strong she is, and even more so now that all her neck muscle has built up from lunging.
Once she realised she couldn't tank and take off, she started spooking and making a fuss out of everything, but actually, when I could get her through this and make her concentrate it turned out to my advantage because her "prancey canter" that she does when she'e excited makes for a lovely jumping round.
When we got into the ring and started to canter she was going pretty fast, and I couldn't let her go as she wanted or she would have gone flat out and demolished the course, but I have to be careful holding her back or she just gets irritated and will not jump. I managed to keep a medium-fastish sort of canter for the first ten fences, and we had a lovely clear first round. I think I let myself get overconfident after this and let my concentration slip a little for the second part, because it was visible less controlled, the turns were a bit dogdy, and we had four faults. The course had a lot of strange turns in it, as well as two dog legs. In the first dog leg of the second round, after the first fence, I forgot - don't ask how - to take her out wide until I was right up at the fence, then I rather idiotically tried to pull her out when I didn't have enough space to come back in, and I rode straight past the fence. It was totally my fault, and I could practically feel Bella's confusion, she kind of slowed down as if to say, "Hey, why did you tell me not to jump that?"
So, since it was my fault, I was really pleased with Bella, especially considering that it was out first time out to jump - also out first time to jump a full course - since the beginning of March. The only problem I did have was that she was a pain to warm up due to all the dancing about but that's just down to freshness and excitement.
There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humour and the other is patience.
- John Lyons