Going into this last competition I realized I was going to have some extremely good horses and riders in my class because the Advanced/Intermediate division had been cancelled and all those horses were moved into the Open Intermediate class. In all honesty this aspect really didn’t phase me very much, BUT the fact that it’s been 6 years since I’ve ridden an Intermediate track and that Charly has NEVER run an Intermediate of any kind (let a lone one of the magnitude of that of Groton House) this all had me a little on edge!
Charly performed like never before in the dressage ring, going across the long diagonal in the “big” court, on turf, in his medium trot was quite possibly the most enchanting feeling I’ve ever had. I exited with the announcer commenting on what a lovely test Charly had, and the crowd (which was very large) all commenting on how great we looked, it was a great feeling. The judge gave us some very good homework and although fair was VERY tough. At the end of the day Charly was in 10th place out of the 29 in his class.
The cross country course was very well designed and very difficult. As you can see in the results it retired or eliminated about a third of the division. Lots of forest with steep gullies with BIG drops and banks, just by walking the course you could tell that time would be almost impossible to make. One of the best lessons I’ve learned from being out on the east coast is that each competition truly has it’s own importance, and that often means chosing to get a certain goal attained other than taking home a blue ribbon. I knew that if I was one of the fastest times I was sure to be in the top of the division; however I also knew that I needed a very confident run to qualify for the CIC ** that Charly and I would be running just two weeks after this show. I knew that Danny Warrington, my coach and former international steeplechase rider, would be running for time on his big fast TB who is well seasoned at Advanced; I also knew that “Dobbin” is an Advanced horse that has blown the socks off of his competition for the last few years. I also know that running fast and jumping down multiple BIG drops is really tough on their feet…all things considered I decided that this event was there for me and Charly to become confident at the Intermediate level. Charly completely impressed me with his braveness, never questioning a single fence; he also thought he was impressive by thinking he was cute and jumping me out of the tack in one of the big narrows at the top of a steep downhill…after that I learned to sit a bit tighter coming into the next drop! This was lucky as the water was tough; a big hedge at the top of a hill brought you down to a ramp into the first level of water, two strides across to another ramp (drop) into another level of water 3 or 4 strides across that to an up-bank out left handed turn to a huge table with a large drop on landing…then one fence to the finish.
At the end of XC I knew I had gone slow, and totally did not care as just jumped better and better as the course went. That day moved us up one placing to 9th.
As if the cross country didn’t involve enough terrain that show jumping brought more! It was held on a large grass field, all jumps set going either up or down hill and most off of a small turn. Charly walked in very professionally and as soon as I saluted he was off and on a mission 🙂 That horse can jump, I really think that is the best way to describe it! Before we went, rails were coming down left and right and I never once worried about him taking a rail, he just flew. I love going into show jumping with him, because you really feel like he understands how important it is to keep up the rails and he tries his heart out every course. After our round the rails kept coming down and allowed us to move into 5th place. I honestly couldn’t be happier with our horse, one of the girls in the barn kindly named him the “Eventing King”.