Saturday, 21 August 2010

Drumclog BE100 - Sat 21st Aug

This was the first running of this event and a pleasant surpise of a wee pack of Likit treats and a car sticker in addition to the standard programme in exchange for the £10 start fee, a good way to impress on your 1st running of a BE event I reckon. ;)

However, the layout maybe wasn't ideal for stressy horse types as to get to dressage you had to follow corridor past the back of the tradestands (and generators), past the SJ and XC start/finish! I got Hopalong to the dressage warm up without her diverting via the XC though! ;)  We started warming up and she was going nicely enough. Not a huge warm up area compared to other events and when I spotted a nice, flat looking area no one else was using thought I'd be smart and use it... turns out no one was using it as it was a bog- Hopalong not impressed!  A few minutes later one of the judges made a similar mistake except her 4WD wasn't as powerful as mine and she ended up needing a tow out by a Defender!

Went over to arena for our test and... well, the less said the better! Gone was the nice, relaxed Hopalong of last week (was the only upside to the warm weather and sluggish H last weekend! ) and we had a 4min fight around the arena, stiff, resistant and not great.  Bob didn't even pretend to disagree and I was fully expecting a "5" on the front of the score.  Our score ended up being 40 - so somehow it beat the previous week's score by 0.5 yet was worse by miles?!  So although not a horrific score, it left us in the usual 4/5 from bottom place.

Some photos as evidence of the horribleness!
 We were happily mooching along the corridor back to the trailer when suddenly Hopalong leapt and bolted forward (with another couple of competitors and two PC score collectors on ponies in tow!) which was rather scary with pedestrians also in the corridor!  Think it was maybe something to do with electricity mast thing at the side of it and heard stories of this happening at other times through the day.  Also the exact same spot that this happened to my friend a couple of weeks ago where she fell off and broke ribs.  Very odd.

AGES until jumping meant I could course walk to my hearts content while Hopalong happily munched in the trailer and said hello to a few friends who came past while I was away.  Managed to befriend a few fence judges on the way round!  Course looked fine, nothing huge or scary with a few skinnies to test concentration/accuracy and biggest headscratch being some fairly hard areas of track and a very slippy/twisty approach to drop fence hidden off a corner.

Eventually SJ time rolled around.  Dragged Hopalong away from her haynet and wandered down (back past scary electricity mast with no drama this time) to warm up.  I had my keen Hopalong back again, yay!  She warmed up nicely with some encouragement (and help!) from a friend.  It seemed SJ was causing a few stops/plenty poles down and related distance from 4 to 5 seemed to be riding long with folk chipping in 6 strides.  I hadn't had a chance to walk the course so decided I'd need to kick on there since short strides can be our speciality!

First fence seemed to appear on a very funny angle off the corner but over this and no.2 fine.

 No.3 looked big but I think it was just on short poles so an optical illusion!  It had a horribly cut up take off spot so had to ride quite strong to this as Princess H doesn't like mud. ;)  Round to 4, got a nice stride and kicked on for 5 like it was XC... turns out this was a little OTT and we got to no.5 very easily and far too fast/flat so booted it out properly on the way up. Grrrr to jockey.  (you can just make out the front rail on it's way down in the below picture even though it looks like we've given it plenty of air, just caught it on the way up)

Got it all back together for no.6 then totally over rode no.7 which seemed to fall every other round that I'd watched, so got a little deep, but clever pingy pony sorted that out fine. Downhill to no.8;

Then round the corner to double at no.9;

So finished on the 4 faults which were totally my fault and pleased she felt miles better than last weekend.

Some more help from my pal Victoria to swap over to XC gear then off. She set off over the first brush fence fine and got a nice jump over decent sized roll top at no.2. No.3 was a small Helsinki step up the hill which we angled a little then fine over no.4;

Over the chair at no.5;

And palisade at no.6;

Then on to the half coffin, over the big roll top in ok but she backed off the ditch a little and so got three strides instead of two, but popped over fine.  Galloped up the hill, got far too close to the steeplechase fence so was forced to brush through (I heard the noise and everything!) so there is a first time for Hopalong brushing through brush! ) then downhill over log and skinny tyres nicely.

Steadied up for very hard track and slippy corner down towards the drop fence, then kicked on for direct route off drop down the hill (looked much bigger than it was as it was landing on a downhill slope) and had a steady canter along another stretch of quite hard ground along track with Hopalong trying to eye up the intro fence along the way.  Popped over the skinny roll top and cantered through the water splash no bother.

Round a very sharp uphill corner and back onto proper grass, got a lovely jump over a decent sized table, then down to gate to roll top combo, angled the first part and should have kicked on for long 4 strides, instead I let her back off and chip in a 5th one- really need to learn to ride for a more forward stride as I've been a little defensive in this respect recently.  Over the sheep feeder shortly after and down the hill to the corner.

Can't exactly recall what we did wrong here- not sure whether I over rode or under rode it. Either way, we got a horrible, far-too-close stride to it but luckily it was pretty small and pony is very honest when I kick so we scrambled over clear, but not pretty. I can do corners perfectly in training, yet seem to panic about them in competition. Yet normal skinnies don't bother me?! :(

Apologised to Hopalong and splashed through the 2nd water splash then round the corner and off the wee step into the main water, splashed through fine, both agreed on a long angled stride up the wee step out (Les Smith would have shot me for that one- "never look for a long stride on a step up"!) then a few strides to the bright saltire palisade which she jumped nicely.

Couldn't see the next fence due to a hill being in the way, but turned right, kicked on and found it!
Then onto a brush fence between trees- again, really needed to kick on for nicer longer stride here but let her get in close (Supertog says she brushed through this, maybe she'd learnt from earlier?!)

Then kicked on over last fence- house- and home clear.  Ended up with 9.6 time pens but with only 4 in my section inside the time (out of 31 who completed XC) and the fair amount of hard section that I steadied for I'm not too bothered by this.  Just really pleased that she was much more forward, less sticky and less spooky compared to last outing at Scone.

We ended up 22nd, so well away from the frillies but not surprising given the big section, our rubbish dressage and a fair number of horses in it who've been running at novice!

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