Gidgegannup CNC 1 - Coolie

Gidgegannup is a huge event in Perth. It offers grades from 45cm to 2*, with pony club classes and EA classes. Because it is so big, and there are so many people that enter, it is split over 2 weekends. The first weekend is 95 to 2*, and the second weekend is 45 to 80. This means I have a horse both weekends!

This weekend was Coolies weekend so he was my main focus during the week. After last weekends training, he had Monday off and Dakota was ridden. Tuesday was flat work, Wednesday we had a jump where he was a bit of a prune and didn't enjoy being made to work hard! I wash his mane and tail so he looked respectable for the weekend. Thursday Dakota was ridden again and Friday the farrier came out and I rode Coolie, incorporating poles into our flatwork session. He worked really nicely on Friday, consistent into the contact and I came away with a good feeling.

I plaited him up and put him to bed looking like a show pony with his hood and paddock boots on!

Saturday we were up early for dressage at 9.30. They were running early, so I was rushed into the second warm up area next to the arenas before I had started warming up. I think this worked in our favour, as although we had to dodge a lot of other riders, he stayed calm and worked nicely, and we didn't have to go to far to get to our arena.

Looking a bit more like a dressage pony
Our test was one of our best ones this year. He was obedient and felt nice, just a bit behind the leg. I was very please he didn't get tense and was expecting about 62%. My coach, who was TD for the 95, also said it looked good!

I watched my friend Lauren's test and then took Coolie home. All we had to do was dressage... so relaxed! OH and I did some gardening, before I went back to Gidge to watch Lauren's show jumping, and walk the XC.

We walked this one lots
The XC looked super, with a few challenges but over all an encouraging course. My main aim was to not get nervous and have fun, something I have been really struggling with on Coolie this year. after walking the course, there was nothing I was worried about. I just had to get through show jumping!

After a lovely day of sun on Saturday, Sunday was rainy and windy! We got to Gidge early again, SJ was at 8.30 and I had to walk the course. It was freezing! I tacked up, there was still some blue sky around. I warmed up, coolie felt great. Still blue sky.

Waiting to go into the arena, next to the marshal.. marshal said 'oh looks like it might hold off!'.. nope! As soon as I went in to salute the judge it started to rain. Coolie and I had a great round. He was adjustable and bold, just having one rail because we got in too close. I was extra pleased as I didn't feel at all nervous after my fall at Dryandra! Now I was looking forward to XC.

Spreads are our friends
The weather proceeded to get worse as the morning wore on. Lauren had XC before me, and by the time she was in the start box the rain was horizontal. The ground was getting pretty slippery in places and I was very glad it was not me riding in that! Lauren had a great round, with just one stop at the water.

Next up it was my turn. I power walked back to the float to get Coolie tacked up. It was raining still, and we were all very wet. I hopped on as the rain eased and had my fingers crossed it would stay that way!

I warmed up in a now very sloppy warm up arena. The ground around the first fence was very wet, and proving to cause a few issues. I planned to jump one side of the fence where it was less churned up.

We were called to the start box and after a brief chat to the started (yes, they did have heated seats in the car!), we were off. Number one, I aimed to the left, out of the muck and had no troubles. 2 was a spread, and 3 an upright, no worries with these.  Between 2 and 3 Coolie was off, turbo charged! 4ab was 2 uprights on a 3 or 4 stride curved line. When I walked the course no matter how I walked it I couldn't get it to stride right. So I decided to jump middle to middle in a collected canter. Coolie was still trying to engage his turbo after 3, but I sat up and half halted through the turn, he came back and collected, popping A, a lovely turn with 4 strides to B.

5 was an apex.. Coolies least favourite. He's not scared, but I don't think he reads them very well. Silly me was not as organised as I should have been and  an overly smart pony who knew that slammed the breaks and and ducked out to the left last minute. I was very cross and represented, this time he jumped without a problem! Grrr I should have known!
The offending jump

6 was an oxer, that was not a problem. 7, 8 and 9ab was the water complex. 7 was a log before the water, with a 3 stride curved line to 8, a drop into the water. 9ab was the bank out of the water, 4 strides to a roll top. I was determined he was going in first time. I steadied him on the turn to 7, was organised mid flight for the turn, had him around my leg, leg on forward to the drop and off we popped easy as! He tripped coming up the bank at 9, and I wasn't organised for the roll top but he didn't need me and jumped without a problem.

The log before the water, I'm already focused on the drop
Straight into the water

We galloped off up the hill (so much for my 'we'll just take it steady') to 10 a trakhenher. 11 was  a chair and 12 was a table. He was feeling so confident and happy I wondered why I ever doubted him. 13 was a skinny log, 14 a huge desk and 15 a fruit box. We tackled these with no issues what so ever. He felt amazing. 16 was the coffin, an upright, 4 strides to a trakhener, 1 stride to an upright. I brought him back and we nailed it, galloping off to the final fence. We finished yup with the one stop and some time due to the stop, but I didn't care! it was a great round and we both felt fantastic. I hadn't been nervous at all!

Over the desk
Next week I get to do it all again with Dakota, bring it on!

XC is the best


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