Today Ozzie and I went to Wilton for a Novice run, Wilton was sposed to be a decent track and I had never been there so quite fancied going and giving it a go.
After getting up at a bright and early time of 5 am and leaving the yard at 6.30, leaving ourselves time to avoid Reigate Hill and the A217 closures by driving round the 'scenic' route to get on the motorway at junction 9. We had a really good run down to Wilton, getting there at 8.30, just as we had planned - its always good when a plan actually happens!! Mum grabbed us both a bacon roll whilst I walked the show jumping. It was a decent enough course (see photos) and a very long way round, but nicely built with areas to cause problems - mainly a 4 / 5 strided distance from an oxer to a style. The cross country was lovely, really well built with a fair few questions and some nice big and bold fences - I couldn't wait to get out there! My favourite fence had to be the palisade in front of two steps down and then a left handed curve to and arrowhead. However the arrowhead was not your standard arrowhead, it had been made to look like a cows head!! (See the picture at the end!)
We finished walking the course with an hour to spare before I wanted to get on for my dressage, so mum went and gave him a 'calming' laser treatment (he shook with excitement the whole way through!) Whilst I watched some people show jump - who were making it look very easy, which is always nice but definately puts the pressure on! Eventually the time came to get on for my dressage, and I was very apprehensive as there were horses galloping past the lorry every two minutes and Ozzie definately wanted to get out there! In the warm up Ozzie wasn't too tense, but for some reason decided his chin should touch his chest and tried his best to show how strong he could look without actually being at all strong! He is quite good at it! In the arena he was lovely, the general trend of work is so much better, he stays soft through transitions and on the whole is staying much more relaxed. He did add in numerous mistakes - just to keep the judge on her toes, by jogging his walk - he nearly walked it all, and doing 3 transitions into left lead canter .. If you didnt think it could be done, it definately can!! After all that he ended up with a 37 to my complete shock, after 3 1/2 years I am getting somewhere with his dressage.
Onto the showjumping. We didn't do too much in the warm up as he was jumping really well, although he was slightly angry at the fact I had my stronger bit in, and yes I had brakes! In we went and he was jumping fantastically, cleared the first 9 fences, and came to the last which was a long 2 strided double, instead of letting him fiddle 3 strides, I pushed for 2 strides and he had the out of the double down - silly jockey! After all Ozzies hard work in the jumping he then trod on a wasps nest hidden in the grass and got stung - he shot off and I very nearly came off - but managed to stay on, despite turning 180 degrees pretty quickly, we checked him over, and couldn't see any lumps or reactions to the stings so we got ready and went to the cross country!
Well he was much admired in the warm up, and flew round the cross country with ease. At fence 8 there was a corner to a skinny, well it may aswell have been 20 foot wide as he had no intention to do anything but jump it! When he is in that mode cross country there is no stopping him! Down the two steps and over the skinny cow before you could say 'beef'. I then (having remembered to start my watch this week) glanced at my watch and realised I had made up way too much time already, so just kept it as steady as I could. With 2 fences to jump I still had 50 seconds on the clock, so I wiggled round and took the longest route I could, I finished 13 seconds inside the optimum. We finished 18th, but even on our dressage score we would have only been 15th, so a really good outing and a lovely event, I would really recommend it - but not as a first time novice as it is technical enough!