Flashback Friday

Another Friday, another week done! This weekend we have more horse plans but today's post is from Alcoa Horse Trials in September 2016. 
This was the last event Dakota did, and she rocked it. I am eternally grateful I have a Rider Video of the whole thing, and when I rewatched it it bought tears to my eyes. She made it look so easy and she was so professional about it. At the time I knew she was special but looking back I don't think I knew how special. 

Link to the video here

We have been quietly working towards Fairbridge, after show jumping and XC training the other week. I took Dakota to pony club to have a play in the water jump after I was done coaching for the day. We worked on getting her to take off closer to the bank out of the water, as she has a tendancy to take a long spot!

Fairbridge is so pretty!
 Saturday we were up bright and early to head down to Fairbridge. I wanted to try warming Dakota up for a good 45-60 minutes to see if it would help settle her and get her less tense.

We arrived, finished plaiting her and then I hopped straight on to warm her up near where we were parked away from the busy warm up arena. After 15 minutes she felt good, so I headed out to the warm up and the arenas, with 45 minutes up my sleeve. It was very busy and it made her tense. She listened though and after about half an hour of transitions, circles and lateral movements, she suddenly relaxed and started working properly.
She is too cute!
I had one rider before me and then headed over. The judge asked me to do a few laps while she made tea, which suited me fine. It allowed Dakota to settle and relax a smidge more.

The test was the best we have done yet. I felt her working and engaging and she was fairly consistent in the contact. I knew it wouldn't score well (and it didn't, still disappointed!) but I was happy with the big improvement from Wooroloo.
Tidy with plenty of scope
Next up was show jumping. With over 100 competitors in the 80 classes, and the 95 arena right next to the 80, the warm up was a little hectic to say the least! It made it very hard to check she was listening and to fix any rushing. I kept it short and just walked around until it was our turn.

The first few fences were a bit rushed, but she settled into a rhythm and I allowed her to travel, just re-balancing in the corners and keeping my leg on. She felt awesome to jump clear!

Pretty pony in a pretty feild
I walked the XC course and wasn't overly worried about anything. She has seen most things at this grade now so it's just a matter of giving her confidence.

Half way round
Sunday we had a sleep in (on a comp weekend?!) and headed off around lunch. After a quick catch up with friends and the weather starting to come in (typical!) I tacked up and headed over to the warm up. It was pretty full on again and put D on edge. I got her listening and jumped a few logs on angles and then kept out the way. She was feeling quite worked up by the time we got to the start box, but she stood calmly while we were counted down.

Off the drop
Off we went, D focused immediately on her job. I allowed her to travel and she flew around happily allowing me to make adjustments. She felt confident over the course making short work of all the questions and came in under time and hardly puffing! Overall the weekend was one of personal bests.

Into the water


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