That’s code for: McKenna Oxenden and the wonderpony Dorito have officially completed their first training level event. McKenna recaps her breakthrough weekend.
WE DID IT!!! That’s right, I am a training level event rider!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t have asked for a better, more educational weekend!
Let’s start with dressage:
My warm-up went well. I found that the warm-up time went by fairly quickly but Dorito warmed up nicely and proceeded to put in what I thought was one of our best tests to date. It was very consistent and had a steady rhythm. I was thrilled with it–unfortunately the judge didn’t feel the same way so we scored a 50.5, which I found a bit disappointing but it is what it is.
Thankfully Emily scampered back from her cross-country ride quick enough to warm me up for jumping, which was very nice!! I had a STELLAR warm-up. Everything was on the money. And then… I went into the ring. I stopped riding him forward to my fences and basically just forgot how to ride. It was not my prettiest round by far, nor the best riding-wise for me but unfortunately it’s rounds like this that teach you the most! I dropped several rails and ended up having a silly stop at the last, but I got through it!!
On to XC!!! Emily walked alllllll the way from show jumping to XC with me (and if you know Seneca, it’s a long walk!!) and helped me out a bit as I jumped a few XC fences and then I waited, and waited, until it was time to head over to the box!
My round was pretty perfect. I jumped the first fence and Dorito was a bit surprised. He was like, WAIT?! We actually get to jump XC this time?! You didn’t screw up?!!!? And I think he was pretty happy to be jumping those white-on-black numbers! Anyway, I channeled my inner Sinead and gave him a smack to remind him he was on course and it was all business from there. He made such great work of the course. He answered all the questions perfectly and barely looked at anything.
The XC course had lots of hard, big questions and most of the course was pretty twisty and turny. I think it helped that I made my mind not think about the XC course. I visualized it, learned and memorized it but I wouldn’t let myself overthink and start to worry. Sure, several of the fences were huge, and some of them were shared with prelim, but I didn’t think about it and it worked!
We ended up a bit slow, just around 20 seconds. I wasn’t going for time so I’m not too worried about it. Not to mention speed was set at 475mpm and I had no clue what optimum time was! But as I said, I was just picking a pace that suited what I needed.
All in all, I am SO, SO HAPPY!!! Was Seneca perfect? Not by far. But I was happy with my dressage test and my XC round was stellar. So show jumping remains my Achilles heel!
I’ve already been to a jumper show this week (which proved to be quite helpful–and we jumped clear on all three rounds!) and we are continuing to learn new tools for dressage. To Surefire we go!!!!
Also, a quick shout is owed to my lovely coach and boss, Emily, who placed 2nd with Raise Your Glass (Mick) at their first training level together!! And to fellow working student Lucy, who placed 2nd and 4th in the beginner novice respectively with two green horses! And last, but not least, to Camryn Long who finished 8th aboard Thunder Cap in my training division!
Good luck to everyone who is competing this weekend! I’ll catch you on the flip side!