Dryandra PC ODE
We left Perth after work on Friday and arrived at the grounds in the dark to find it packed! School holidays meant that most of the competitors had arrived much earlier in the day so there was not very much room left for late arrivals. We squeezed ourselves in and got set up before having dinner, plaiting Coolie while drinking gin, and going to bed early.
Saturday was cold, wet and windy. Don't know where spring went, it was very much winter! Luckily the rain held off for my dressage test. I got on with plenty of time but I just could not get into the groove. Coolie felt fine but wasn't quite with me and I just didn't feel in the moment enough.
We went in to do our test and I swear the center line got longer the further we trotted into the arena. The whole test felt really meh, we weren't straight, Coolie was behind my leg, I didn't like any of my transitions. I basically hated the whole thing. Except a few bits. A few bits were ok. I came out VERY disappointed, but watching back it looked better than it felt. I refused to look at my sheet though and was fairly confident I would be sitting in third place.
I spent the rest of the morning pole picking as my duty, and trying to keep warm and dry. I was also keeping an eye on the AFL grand final since a Perth team was playing. It was a fairly easy morning and once I was done I walked the XC. The course was the same as we had done earlier this year, so I was happy and confident we would have a good run.
I helped some friends warm up for their show jumping, filmed others and generally hang out being supportive and offering help as required. Once my friends were done it was our turn. I went into the warm up with it firmly in my head that I needed to ride forward. I really thought I got it and Coolie was feeling fantastic over the jumps.
We went into the ring and had a really nice round, just taking a rail at 4A when I half halted where I should have just kept my leg on. I was thrilled with it right up to when Andrew told me I had time penalties for going too slow. I was devastated. Truly. It was not pretty. I had really thought I had managed to finally get things right so I was bitterly disappointed at once again letting myself and my horse down. I walked the XC course again to clear my head and drank wine, and by the time we had had dinner I was feeling slightly more positive.
Sunday dawned far warmer and the sun was shining on us, far more spring like. We spent an easy morning walking the horses and taking care of them before I got Coolie ready for XC. I was feeling calm and confident. I had no nerves and Coolie and I were feeling ready to tackle the course.
From the second we go to the start box and the started pronounced my name correctly (no one gets it right the first time!), I knew we would have a good round. Coolie was on his game the second we left the start box, and I felt his amazing sense of happiness and excitement as we galloped over each fence. I rode forward, supported Coolie and gave him the best ride we could. 6AB was a roll top to big log combination. It walked 3 massive strides so I wanted to be forward into it. Coolie got too deep to the roll top so we fitted in 4 strides, but cleared it fine and kept galloping around the course. Each jump felt easy, Coolie was 100% with me, and was enjoying it just as much as me. As we galloped around to the big box I hate so much he locked onto the 1* apex which made me laugh. He is feeling so confident and happy with his job.
We splashed into the water and jumped up the bank on the other side, cruised over a table and he came back easily to me over the 2 uprights at 13AB. We kicked on to the trakhener, and I let him gallop up to the apex, which he flew without a second thought. We kept moving up to the last few jumps on course, and I was particularly pleased when he backed himself off the second to last fence, I added a half halt and he jumped from the perfect spot, and then we were over the last fence and home safe.
We finished with a bit of time, I think I steadied him too much in a few places either because of the jumps or because the ground was a bit slippery. I definitely did not ride slowly!
We finished in third and won a bale of hay. I was very disappointed in my attitude on Saturday, instead of brushing things off I let them get to me, but luckily Sunday I was able to put aside my feelings and have a really good day. I left the weekend wishing I had had a go at 105, and now I feel really torn about upgrading.