The ponies were due to come home after their back checks on Tuesday but I extended their stay to make it easier for me to compete at the weekend. I had a short lesson with just a few jumps on the Friday night which went well on the flat but we had rather too many runouts when it came to jumping which did not fill me with confidence!
We went show jumping on Saturday and when I got on Galahad was the most relaxed I have ever felt him when out at an event. I think he is getting used to it! Our first class was 60cm and Galahad flew round without even hesitating anywhere. He felt amazing.
The jump off also went really well and we cut two corners we wouldn’t have been able to cut a few months ago. We could have gone a bit faster but I was still very happy with the progress we had made. I wasn’t expecting to get placed – Galahad only has little legs after all – but we ended up fifth. Our first solo jumping rosette! Our only other jumping rosette was in a pairs class and was mainly due to my very speedy partner.
We next rode in the 65cm class. This time we had a little wobble in front of a (perfectly plain) fence when Galahad wanted to run out. I managed to get him over the fence but it meant we knocked it down. That was our only problem though and I was not really worried by the knockdown. The fact that he jumped the fence when he hadn’t wanted to was far more important.
Altogether it was a very successful day. I went home and rode Cookster out still wearing my show gear and just in shirt sleeves as it had been absolutely gorgeous all day. About half way round there was the most enormous clap of thunder and the heavens opened. We got completely drenched. Cookster was a little worried by the thunder but behaved very well indeed so I was pleased with him too.
Both ponies went out on Sunday as they were getting dropped off home on the way back. It was the first time Cookster has been anywhere other than home and my instructor’s yard but although he was noisy when they were separated he was very good. It was Galahad who tried to barge out of the lorry after Cookster!
This time we were doing an eventer’s challenge – a show jumping round followed immediately by cross country. Galahad had never been cross country before so I wasn’t at all sure how he would get on with all the scary jumps and we entered the 50cm class so we had a less testing start. We jumped clear round the showjumping with six time faults. The time was pretty tight though and I had less faults than the person before me so I was actually pleased with that.
The cross country went less well as we had four runouts. Two were at a wall which was quite intimidating and after the second I took the easier alternative. If we had been at home I would have persevered with the wall but a competition didn’t seem the place to do that! The other two runouts – one at a log and one at a double of roll tops – were a bit unnecessary really. I definitely needed to channel Galahad better to hold him to the line. However, he did seem to enjoy himself and he finished without running out of steam which had been another concern of mine. I was thrilled with him.
As I was doing such a small class everyone else was riding later in the day which meant that I had my own little team of grooms. My pony was tacked up (almost the wrong pony!) whilst I dressed and when I dismounted he was taken off me, untacked and washed down. It was like riding at Badminton!
There was also a small clear round jumping course in a corner of the lorry field which I decided to take Cookster round. I was a bit worried about my steering as he very much wanted to go back to Galahad in the lorry and he is so good at loading his right shoulder that I was having a hard time turning him left as we warmed up. However, once we got into the ring he went very nicely and the steering wasn’t an issue at all. We had two fences down but he didn’t even think about stopping. He isn’t nearly as coordinated as Galahad but he has had a lot less practise and I was very pleased with him. I have never had two ponies competing before – it made me feel quite professional!
I had an absolutely fantastic weekend filled with riding. I was pretty tired (and a bit sunburnt) by the end but it was definitely worth it!