We competed at Carlton last Sunday. Carlton was one of the main reasons I joined BE, having done plenty of schooling round there when I was younger.
I found I wasn't quite as nervous about it as I was at Little Downham, mainly because I knew what to expect. Although I did feel slightly unprepared due to some footy issues and it being so hot (horse gets very lazy in the heat)
The day itself started ok, but it wasn't long before we were driving through quite a lot of rain, with one child complaining of feeling sick. Luckily my husband was there to be my sat nav though (my sense of direction is so poor we frequently end up hopelessly lost)
The set up at Carlton was fab. It had a friendly, family type feel with lots of little things going on. There was so much for the spectators and family members - dog show, birds of prey, excellent viewing (with straw bale seating) and a ping pong table.
Also the sponsors of my class Country and Stable of Olney had provided lovely little goody bags for each competitor.
Thanks to a really enlightening dressage lesson (turns out straightness is key!) We managed to get our best dressage score yet. Despite it feeling shocking and myself getting us totally lost. I suppose having your rider sat straight does make it easier to do all sorts of things, like tracking up, half decent transitions etc... Was pleased she didn't feel like loosing her footing at any time, despite the hard ground and recent downpour. Oh yes, and the cows in very close proximity (she doesn't like cows!)
Feeling a bit crap after getting lost in my test I headed off to walk the xc course in my two hour wait between dressage and showjumping.
The course was perfect. A really great mix of twisty little bits which needed a bit of concentration and accuracy, and some cracking galloping stretches complete with nice jumps and hedges (we really do love a good hedge)
Feeling slightly happier I headed back to the trailer to get ready for the sj.
We struggled in the warm up. I had knocked my confidence in the dressage, and then subsequently all my oomph had just gone and I was really struggling with my nerves. I found that every time I turned into a jump I would have to suddenly take a pull because someone had cut me up, or a helper was fiddling with the jump, or someone else had demolished it. In the end I just went in. Jumped the first two well, then just forgot how to ride. It's all down to how wonderful my little horse was that we only had one jump down. I deserved to have had many more faults.
Feeling rather flat we went off to the xc warm up. Decided that we would just school round quietly, use the day for experience and hopefully do better next time.
The first jump we popped nicely, then she had to be persuaded away from the floral novice fence, and over our little hay feeder instead. Jumped big over number 3, then decided that if I was going to go round like a granny then she had better take matters into her own hands!
She then flew! We had a sticky moment over a skinny log where we got the striding wrong and then nearly ended up in the crop field beyond, but apart from that we had a cracking round. Needn't have worried about the fitness, despite being exhausted after the finish, I didn't have to push her at all, and she recovered very quickly, and doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects from the hard ground.
In the end we finished with a 37 dressage, 4 faults sj and then a clear but with 15 time faults xc. Not bad really for our second BE.
Unfortunately my happy bubble was burst on the way home when someone's cat ran under my wheel. Not something you could even imagine happening really, but rather a traumatic end to the day. Oh and the sick feeling child was spectacularly sick at bedtime.
Next up we have Great Witchingham in about 2 weeks. Need to do some more straightness work, bit of sj practice and learn the bloody test! (its in a long arena - I'm screwed)