Swan River Show Jumping

 So my last post was clearly premature, or maybe I jinxed myself? On Thursday we have a branch fall down in the paddock, and from the hoof prints showed that Henry was standing quite close by. He obviously spooked and ran away, into the fence and has cut up his off hind. So first aid applied, we had lots of heat and swelling, some cuts were quite deep but nothing that required immediate vet attention. i cleaned it up, bandaged legs and gave him 5mL of Bute before putting them both to bed.

Friday morning things were about the same, so I rang the vet and took him in. It was looking a lot better by the time we got to the vet, and the vet agreed with my current treatment plan. We got more Bute and antibiotics, told we had been very lucky and sent home with instructions to keep it clean and keep him moving. We need to keep the swelling down and on top of the infection, but he will be just fine. Frustrating but there you are! 

Onto better news! Today Coolie and I went to our first comp of the year, Show Jumping at Kings Meadow a local polo grounds.  Heights started from 80, so I entered a round at 80 and one at 90. Not ideal for the first show of the year, and Coolies first comp in a year but he's being going better than ever and we have done it all before I figured I would see how he went but we should be just fine.

It was an early start, but thankfully the grounds are a short 15 minute drive away and Coolie and I arrived with plenty of time to get our bearings and go and see SJ hubby who was officialling all day. I hadn't been there before but had driven past plenty of times, it was a lovely place to be thats for sure! 

I was about halfway through the first class so I could take my time getting ready after walking the course. The course looked good, lots of space, inviting lines and jumps, a few places to shave time off. We were doing Special 2 Phase classes, the first phase is about 6 fences where you go clear within the time and the second phase is all about speed!

Lots of people were riding slow, no one was taking the lines I had walked but my main aim was to have a fun round and to leave the jumps up! I hopped on with lots of time to walk around the ground to get Coolie moving before heading to the warm up. He felt great, responsive and ready to go. I made sure to angle a few fences in the warm up to tune us up before we headed in.

Typical of Coolie, as soon as we went in he was READY. He pranced and spooked until we heard the buzzer and then he was all business. I picked up a forward canter and came to the first fence, we maintained the rhythm, I counted and we were over clear. The round flowed, Coolie felt settled and game and he moved up to each fence confidently. We were clear over the first 5 jumps and so I kept him steady to 6, the start of the speed phase before asking him to move up. Coolie thought that was the perfect thing, we established a speedier rhythm and zoomed over the next 6 fences, taking inside lines, angles, jumping like true show jumpers. We met each fence off a good stride, there was no chipping and no fighting and we ended the round clear!

Andrew messaged me as we got back to the float to say we were sitting in first, with about half the class left to go. It was a nervous wait! I kew we had done a brilliant job, and would be thrilled no matter what but 1st place would be the icing on the cake! Finally every one was done, and I knew we would be hard to beat. I re-tacked Coolie for presentations and Andrew messaged to say the final results were done and we had won! I teared up I gotta say.

We went into the ring for presentations and I had a big grin! we got a very fancy ribbon, a voucher and prize money, all before 8.30am!

I quickly handed Coolie to Andrew to gold while I walked the 90 course, and tried not to think about how much bigger the jumps looked. I had told myself that if I wasn't confident I didn't have to do it. I'd walk the course and see how I felt. It looked very nice, so I decided to warm up. I asked to be moved up the draw because i had to race off after my round, so I ended up riding second.

Coolie and I quickly jumped each warm up fence, then went into the ring. I made sure to establish a strong, forward canter because the jumps were a decent size and off we went. I don't think Coolie noticed the jumps were any bigger, he flew everything, feeling amazing, like you would never know he was 18. 

I didn't ask him for for canter in the second part of the round, we were already going a good pace and I didn't want to risk him jumping flat. instead we took tighter lines and angled fences, putting in another clear, fast round. 

Again I was sitting in first, but there was another 30 or so riders to go after me. I maintained that position until the last 7 riders, where I slipped down to third by fractions of a second! I was being updated by Andrew as I had raced off right after my round, getting home to treat Henrys leg before heading to an appointment at 12. Not bad for a days show jumping!

Overall, it was a brilliant day, that far exceeded my expectations. I had so much fun, Coolie was a total badass and is jumping so well at the moment. There are areas we need to work on, and Coolie needs to get a bit stronger, but to come out and do his first 90 round in more than 2 years and to place was very cool. Plus he had 2 riders on board! I still feel like I am riding better than ever and the improvement that makes in Coolie is huge, he's almost like a different horse!


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