We are now just 4 weeks away from the first event of the season, and are set to have just about all restrictions lifted here! It’s quite exciting, and the only thing we won’t be able to do is travel outside the state. Well, we can leave but coming back in will be the tricky part. WA has maintained no community transmission and all cases reported are being imported from other states or internationally as people return home.
So basically life is back to normal here for the most part and while I am sad we can't move around Australia freely, it is 100% for the best. It also means weekends are getting busier and we have more fun horse plans.
Off the Track WA often put on clinics for owners and I have been to several in the past. They are always great and cheap days out and I like going along. We had another one this past weekend and my coach was teaching at it. We don’t get to pick coaches, just select a time and ability kinda thing and get put into groups with similar levels and the coach is potluck. Anyway, I got a lesson with my coach and it was the last lesson of the day so we also arranged to go cross country right after.
The forecast for the weekend was wet. Proper, heavy rain, warnings for localised flooding. Beautiful riding weather! It rained the whole drive there, and I was resigned to getting very wet. It wouldn’t be fun but I won’t complain about rain, we need so much more of it. Anyway, we arrived and the rain cleared up and didn’t start again until we were nearly done, perfect!
There were two other riders in my group and so we started out trotting over poles then progressed to a single upright with placing poles on either side. The arena footing was super sloppy and Henry really needed me to support him to the fence. I was trying so hard to get the right pace and not interfere with him while also riding him forward to the fence and I was struggling so much! It was tough because I was trying to be soft and ride like I had in my lesson 2 days before but because I was in a new environment I wasn’t releasing enough and so I was being too soft but also holding. I wasn’t adjusting my riding style for the horse I had on the day, who was slightly less confident that he is in lessons normally. I also wasn’t compensating for the rider also riding differently because context affects us all!
From the single upright we built a course, landing and turning left to another upright then right over an oxer. We reversed the exercise and turned right after the upright in the middle and finished by doing all 4 jumps. I ended up finishing with a nice course where I rode forward, and got correct leads which was an improvement from the lesson overall, but it was a struggle for me.
It was super interesting to observe how the change of context really affected me as a rider, I wasn’t nearly as quick off the mark like I am riding on my own or in lessons, and it highlighted to me what I need to be more aware of in competitions, plus that I needed to ride the horse I have on the day.
I quickly changed Hens gear over and Headed down to XC, but thats a post for another day!