This last weekend Traveler and I entered and competed in our first Training level Recognized Event ever - I had been nervous for weeks prior - I had no idea how it would go. It's quite a bump up from Novice to Training - the jumps are bigger, trickier and everything is more technical. We practiced and practiced and practiced - and finally I felt I had the right tools to be able to do it - but I had no idea if we could really pull it off. I bought a Hit Air exploding vest to wear over my jump vest, I had my studs for my shoes, everything I could think of - now I just had to do it. What do they say - Courage is being really afraid and saddling up anyway?
So we saddled up and headed into the dressage ring first thing Saturday morning. Steady little Traveler trotted into the ring and pulled it off! We had a great dressage test - a better score than we usually get in Novice and it put us right in the running with all the other horses. The judge even commented that we were a cute pair! I was so pleased. I was actually over the moon - one event down, two to go.
Next up later that afternoon was cross-country. I walked that course about 50 times before I rode it and I rode it all night in my sleep. Warm up was great - the timers counted us down and we were off. We sailed over every jump. We took the first fence like nobody's business and didn't look back.
(Warming up for X country. Don't let them see you sweat!)
Linda V. came and cheered us on and took some amazing photos of us in the water hazard. (Thanks Linda!) We hit the water hazard, down bank, up bank and then a second up bank and I grabbed mane and off we went.
(Here we are entering the water hazard from the down bank)
(Jumping up out of the water - the first up bank)
(Then it was 3 strides to the second up bank)
(And on to the next fence, thankfully that next was as an easy fence)
He did the trakenner, coffin and all the others flew by. The last fence was a picture frame. It was a training/prelim fence - Traveler asked me if I was sure this was our fence, I told him it was and we sailed over it and across the finish line.
(This was a fence to another down bank in two strides and then right turn to the trakenner.)
(Flying through the air like a super hurricane!)
(I told my husband I can "retire" now from eventing. All I have ever wanted was a great picture of us jumping through a picture frame.)
(Run, Traveler, run - we are done!) 18 fences - no problems. We did get some time faults - will work on our speed, but this time around I couldn't have been prouder of Traveler. My trainer now calls Traveler (after viewing some of our cross-country pix), the "80 Dollar Champion" after the book about that amazing jumping horse. She said you look at Traveler and you don't have any idea that he is this amazing little powerhouse of a horse. He gets a leg down and we are up and over with room to spare. She said that she believes we can qualify and compete at the Prelim level. I was shocked. Two events down - one more to go. Sunday morning (with Linda supporting us again and taking more great pix) we hit the stadium round. Through some amazing acts of jumping and determination Traveler and I had a double clean round - many of the horses in our division either pulled rails or had refusals. But not my Traveler - if you line him up to a fence, he will take it and pull those legs up and high.
(First fence of the two-stride set. We catch some good air!)
(Last fence and we are completely done!)
I absolutely can't believe we did it. I know this is a long blog - but it really is a dream come true. I never thought that Traveler and I would ever be considered an upper level eventing team. Half the time I still feel like an imposter - taking my little Curly up against these huge TBs. However, never underestimate the little guy. LOL We placed 7th out of 13 riders. Total of 35 fences - all clear.
And now we have to do it all again in 2 weeks......