When I brought Dixie out for dressage the warmup was a zoo. There were lots and lots of young kids on ponies/horses who simply were not paying attention and it was crowded as a warmup could be. Dixie handled himself like a pro but it made cantering difficult just because he is not the worlds most balanced horse in the canter yet. We headed off to the ring and he was relaxed and had a really great test for where he is right now. I was super super pleased he allowed me to ride him into the corners, he was bending, on the aids and for the most part working in a frame. He scored a 41 with comments of being unsteady in the bridle (he is at this time) but nice horse.
I would be lying if I said I was not worried about stadium. Dixie is a horse that I have taken a lot of time with simply because he has a heart of gold but was not the most confident horse about the jumps. He has really come along so far and gained trust and confidence so I thought we were ready for BN but was worried he would just find the spooky stadium to much. He warmed up well but he cracks me up because when he is scared he can not canter. He is looking at everything around him and his body just does not cooperate yet. No big deal!
There was not a single fence that was not filled in one way or another which is both good and bad. Good because the horses do need to learn to handle all of it but bad because you are expecting BN to be a confidence booster.
Let’s see if I can describe the stadium.
Fence 1- big gate filled in front with flowers
fence 2- max height vertical with yellow gate, small white barrels and and flowers in front
fence 3- an x-rail with a vertical running through the middle of it. Visually the horses were confused.
fence 4- plain purple vertical with flowers in front.
Fence 5- big oxer heading across the diagonal with gates in front of it.
fence 6- vertical with small rolltops in front of it
fence 7- another bix oxer with big brown walls in front and then flowers.
fence 8- another oxer with red brick walls in front of it and flowers
fence 9- a vertical built with one side higher than the other
fence 10- oxer with gates in front and flowers.
Everything maxed and lots of oxers. I loved the flow of the course and there was enough room to sort things out. I thought my boys handled it well but others did not fair quite as well.
We head in and my plan is just to trot and try the canter if things are going well. Take my time and support him and wait. He is slow coming off the ground and it is really easy to get ahead of him. Fence 1 was a vertical with lots of flowers. He was just so cute because I could feel the wheels turning in his head..hmmm this looks scary but I think I can..I think I can. He does his scared step over the jump in a trot stride. As we go he gains confidence and jumps so well. Very soft and relaxed and willing to give it a shot. We did have a stop at a rolltop fence simply because he jumped big over the oxer and I was a bit unorganized and was not quick enough to give him the support he needed. I tried some cantering but he kept breaking back to the trot. I do not want to chase him and get him frazzled so I think trotting is just fine. He really showed how far he had come.
fence 1- stone wall with a high side and low side. Low side around 2’6″ with sand in front and trees on either side. Very busy looking
fence 2- coop with straw and pumpkins in front. Solid with lots of visual distractions
fence 3- oxer box filled with flowers..lots of flowers
fence 4- box filled with brush sticking out everywhere
fence 5- you crossed the road and then went way down a hill and dropped down over a log
fence 6- down another hill and over a bench
fence 7- water
fence 8- a house in the woods
fence 9- a bank
fence 10- a ramp going down the hill- a big fence
fence 11- last fence a double log sorta like an oxer?
X-country was again going to be challenging. The first three fences were some of the biggest…how about a soft first fence people??? He was super scared of the first fence and stopped there. We squeaked over it but as we went along we got in a better rhythm and I was even able to canter some fences. He went right through the water and handled the rest way better than I thought he would. We had an awesome gallop at the end of the course and he really thought he was hot shit when we got done.
I was thrilled with how it went. It is hard to describe him but he is such a willing horse and so behaved. He just never puts one foot wrong and even when he refuses he is so honest about it you can not fault him. It was a great event for him overall!