Sunday, 5 September 2010

Turnberry BE90 Regional Final - Sun 5th Sept

So… last BE report from Hopalong and me for this year. :(  We were off to Turnberry on Sunday to take part in the BE90RF in an attempt to qualify for Badminton.  I had been dreaming of an elusive top 4 finish for about 2 weeks previous but was very resigned to the fact that it wasn’t likely to happen.  However, I had done my best with dressage practice through the week, spent all of Saturday cleaning and polishing tack/pony (if only marks were being awarded for shininess of both!) and went with the intention of giving it my best shot.

The parking steward took one look at us “paupers” with the diddy trailer and directed us to parking spot pretty much at the entrance to the event which happened to be the wrong end of a flipping runway from the action.  It took a good 10mins each way to hike to/from comp areas and trailer!  Just as well my friend Nic was coming along later to help with turnaround between SJ and XC as we only had 35mins between them and that would be taken up getting from SJ to trailer and back to XC again, never mind allowing for tack/clothing change and colour coordination. ;)

For stressage, I tried some lavender/bergamot/chamomile on Hopalong’s muzzle all through the morning to try chill her out.  I also added in an extra 15min warm up time to do plenty mooching about in between stints of proper warm up work to see if this would work.  I figured as it was a step down in level her fitness should cope with a little extra dressage warm up.

She warmed up quite nicely and Turnberry has a lovely big, flat warm up area for the dressage so we had plenty space which was great.  We were last in our section to go and had to follow a friend, Irene and her lovely boy Sam, who are quite the dressage divas!  It was blowing a gale and Hopalong was not loving having to go into the wind, but we pulled off what felt like a nice enough test, at least some of it in an outline and not too many fights about it.  Ended up on 38 with the leader on 30.5 and 16th/21.  So pretty much assured of no Badminton ticket.  But still pleased with an improvement on previous outings and maybe in a normal section that would have seen us nearer the top half.

Sadly, we had a major timing clash with a XC section that Bob had to take photos of and so there is no photographic evidence of us doing one of our best tests of the year- blimmin’ typical!  He’s now trying to say maybe he’s a dressage jinx and should stay away, but I think that’s just an excuse to avoid having to watch me do dressage?! So I’m afraid you’ll just have to believe me that she felt nicer than normal and the photos would have been nicer than normal!

As we were so many miles away, I headed up to SJ for alloted time to find them running late.  Grrr.  Had a fair bit of hanging around and nearly gave Bob a heart attack when he noticed me sneaking into ring early and he was too busy blethering… then snuck out again as we were just giving a nappy horse a lead in (I tried asking for 5 mark deduction on dressage score for this gesture of goodwill, but they just laughed?! ).

Warmed up nicely and then found a totally different horse when we went into the ring (properly this time!) to jump!  She just switched on and got so buzzy I couldn’t get her back to trot to change canter lead before first fence!  It made for a bit of a sticky round as I felt I was having to fight to keep any sort of rythymn and not end up getting too flast and fast to the scary fally downy poles.  Was all going fine until no.7 where it felt like an ok stride, but she just caught it behind.  Very annoying as we can jump unaff DC SJ all day long and yet our BE SJ has gone horribly wrong this season.  Managed to chip an extra stride in to the first part of the 1-stride double at the penultimate fence, so then had 2 strides in the middle (yet kept them both up and in the vid she almost makes it look like it should be 2 strides she’s so neat!) and over the last to finish on the 4 faults.

Fence 1- concentrating much?!

Fence 3

Fence 5

My friend Philly was kind enough to video for me, so for your entertainment, here’s the round from fence 3 onwards.  You can’t really see clearly what went wrong at no.7 (green/yellow upright) but looks like we got a nice stride (not miles away or under the bottom).

So mega quick turnaround (thanks to Nic for mostly sorting Hopalong’s colour co-ordination while I got changed!) and up to XC.  We were to chase around after Irene and Sam!  Hopalong warmed up very keen- jumping the warm up fence and then zooming off looking for another one, very cute and funny!  Set off and over the log, rolltop and barrel with flowers at 1-3 lovely then good gallop into the next field and over the table at 4, zoomed off to 5ab;

Grossick Pro Pics then click along the next 4.

Then to the water and house 6ab. She had a wee look at the water, but a wee kick and a “don’t be so silly” and we splashed through;
And out over the house;

We then went up over the rail with flowers under at 7, turned down the hill over rail with straw bales at 8 and zoomed over the steeplchase at 9.  Up the hill then step at 10, along a line of fences across the top of the field rail with flowers, log and barrels 11-13, then zoomed down the hill to palisade spread fence at 14.

Popped through the rail to ditch at 15ab fine and then double of hedges at 16/17.  When walking course, I’d walked it as 2 strides but joked with Bob “so that will be 3 Hopalong strides” as she likes adding in rather than taking out.  True enough, she popped in very neatly over the first one and so got the three strides in.

No. 16 (more concentrating!);

No. 17;

Gave Philly (videographer!) a giggle as I shouted to Bob “see, told you it was 3 Hopalong strides…” as we went past.  To which he challenged us to a race… we won! ;)

Some Grossick hedge shots (plus next 4)

Over the sloping gate at 18 and then onto the skinny/corner at 19.

Grossick corner photos (plus next 3)
We then zoomed off towards the last two fences- a wee shot from Bob as we headed back to start/finish field;
Over the log pile at 20 and a proper yee-ha fabulous jump over the roll top with brush at the last to finish clear and 16s inside the time.  :D

So we finished up 13th out of the 21.  Would have only been 11th (same score as 10th place but 1s faster XC!) without the pole down.  Was good fun and she felt great XC, so much fun.  So no Hopalong at Badminton sadly, but a good fun last BE for the year.

Again, fab video from Philly.  I love how happy she looks in this- ears up and looking for the next fence.  I had been asking Nic early how to tell if they enjoy it, but from watching the vid I think she does? :)