Kate and Rebecca came in on Friday afternoon, and Anna and Helen arrived that evening after we'd checked in, course walked, and retired to Susan's for a BBQ with Julie. The BBQ was a riot. I got to meet Sharon, Amy's old instructor and one of Wofford's most avid students, and Susan, Juni, Amy and she had me rolling on the floor with old stories of the golden days of eventing. Megan and Hub were there, as well as Stacy and Carol. It was a great get-together- that is the group of people that keeps me inspired to move forward and UP in eventing. Susan promised to give me the chance to attend a Wofford clinic at some point in the not-too-distant future. Ari and I will have to get our game faces on for that!!
As for the show- it rained and rained and rained and rained some more, so cleanliness was not high on my list of things for Saturday morning. I got Brandy up and braided and then we headed out. Our dressage warmup was great. I mean, really- great. I wasn't sure I had the right horse, in fact.
I got called "on deck" and picked up the trot. It was gorgeous- I trotted right into the ring and kept that trot the whole way around the arena- we got the whistle to go in and made the turn down centerline- she kept the trot. And the whole way through the test she was quiet, round and submissive. She was SO prompt on her canter transitions, no hesitation about leads- no running, no pulling down- I mean, I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I made it through the test, halted (square, no less), saluted and gave her the biggest scritches and love and pets she could have ever imagined.
(Photos by Leslie Vancil)
I walked out of the ring with mouth gaping open to lots of congrats by everyone who'd been around to see her go. She managed a 36.3 on her test- with lots of 6's and 7's and just one 5. Amazing. She had a 48 at KY Classique, a little less than two months ago.
Stadium was slop- Brandy warmed up well despite mayhem in the warmup and several words of warning about the course. She went in and clocked around the first half, no problem. We didn't get enough forward momentum comping into the 8ab combination and had a pretty comical "ohcrap" moment. You'll notice the look on my face-
Which resulted in an "omg-goodgirlyoudidn'thavetosavemybuttandyoudid"-
Which then resulted in me botching the turn to 9- another "omggoodgirl" and the resulting loss of shoulders/power steering to 10 and another butt-saver by the jumping wonder. I came out of the ring laughing, again, and Brandy's cheering section told her how good she was for saving me- repeatedly.
Video by Stacy:
I was stuck warming up for XC on my own, since Amy was about ten minutes before me. We warmed up well in the arena with the exception of obnoxious people milling around in front of the ring steward, so when I came cantering through, she yelled "PLEASE CALL IF YOU'RE PASSING!" to which I proceeded to call EVERY. SINGLE. MOVE. I. MADE. for the next five minutes with a pointed look in her direction.
We went down to jump the natural in the little warmup area and she stopped the first time. EEK! Another training hollered at me while I was tsking her in front of it- nothing excessive, just making sure she knew it was unacceptable- and I gave her the look of death. When I came around and represented, she goes "There! You got it that time!" Really? A scathing "Yeah. Thanks." With a pointed eye roll shut her up. I heard over the loudspeaker than Megan had a stop at 1, and Kate had three stops and retired. I went up to watch Amy's go and saw her have three stops at the first two fences- my stomach was dropping lower and lower. I just wanted to scratch and go home.
But no, I dragged myself out to the start box, trotted through the gap on the countdown and promised myself to give Brandy the best, smartest ride I could give her. I trotted a wide approach to the first fence and gave her about 15 strides to the first fence. She locked on about three strides out, picked up the canter and we were off. Jump 2 was a little bit hairy, moving away from the electric atmosphere and all her friends and an airy three-log oxer. I swung wide again with a quiet, steady canter and held course- she thought about stopping and then popped over. I was chatting with her the whole way- mostly for myself, but she was listening. A long canter down a slick hill and back up to fence three- she backed off a little and then dragged me over it and down to 4- took it out of stride with a hoot and trotted through the mud to five. She locked on and I knew that SHE knew what the game was now. She dragged me over the coop, around to the pheasant feeder, over the new "little ditch", and over the lobster trap. She took a good look at the big stick, dragged me over it- and really pulled me to the step up. We had to trot the approach to it because of the crappy 90 degree turn in the slop which put us a little backwards to the 11ab log combo. She saved my tush into and out of it and then continued to drag me over the barrels, through the water, over the log, down to the rock and with a little slip around the turn- over the chevron at the end.
She was perfectly in balance galloping- I could give her a loose rein and she would just cruise along. I would have liked her to be a little more rideable up to the fences. She was a little more dependent on me at KY, but one would expect that for the second go, I guess. She was feeling a little cocky, but I'll take it. I suggested that maybe we should keep Brandy around for Jess to show this summer, and I'd really like to get a Novice under her belt. I think one more solid BN and some schooling and I'd feel comfortable for a move up. If we can keep the dressage rolling, I think we'll be in good shape. Otherwise, I hope she finds a great home soon. I have the ideal person for her in my head- hopefully that person will materialize.
Panther Springs had a pretty great weekend, overall: Stacy took 1st in her training division, Letha got first in Novice, followed by Amy C, and Megan not too far behind. I ended up in second, finishing on my dressage (for the first time ever, in fact!), and Amanda Hara, would have been first if not for a TE. Letha had a great go on Cody for her first HT, and Megan made it around on River, her greenie. Kelly landed in third and Julie did great at her first novice in 13 years. Not too bad, overall.