Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hey, I heard you like the wild ones

Taking the winter off means that I'm still getting back into shape.  That's a bad thing to type when you've just finished the first two-phase of the season.  My abs, back, and shoulders are all protesting the amount of work that I've been doing.  Ow.

But on the positive side, Fiona had a great outing!  We zipped out to the Groton Pony Club two-phase, the same fairgrounds where we are spotted at least three times a year.  We were in the Beginner Novice division since my dear pony is still relearning how to steer.  But if nothing else, she looked super spiffy after a full day of grooming on Saturday.

The dressage judge loved her.  She got a 31.0, including a couple 8's for her trot work and an 8 in her collective marks for her gaits.  She even gave me a 7 for my rider's position, when I've been averaging a 6.  The test was calm and accurate and everything I wanted from the princess.  Sure, I still spontaneously turn into an alien as soon as I spot a judge and my nerves get to me, but at least now my mare can cover for her rider being an uptight ditz.

We went into stadium with orders to just have a civilized round.  We managed that for the most part.  She did get a long distance to one fence, which of course was followed by two tight turns, so the middle was a bit . . . hairy.  She hit the bit like a freight train and did not like it when I told her to slow her butt down for the ninety degree turn followed by a rollback (honestly, who does that to Beginner Novice riders?).  But she turned and jumped and was very good with just one rail after I told her to knock it off with the freight train act.  For the most part, she was quite civilized.  We didn't have any of the running sideways or refusal problems, so definitely a good run.  If she's going to score low thirties in dressage, we can deal with a rail.  She still got second place.

After the official stuff, we did some XC schooling.  We did all of the jumps, including the big tires that looked quite big to me.  Fiona was definitely being strong (hence the aching shoulders), but she's doing better.  She was able to canter to some fences rather than having to trot all of them and we had quite a few very nice jumps.  Even the scary ones are less scary.  Which is a sad statement, but hey, we take what we can get.

Her next outing is in May, when she'll be off to UNH with my trainer in the saddle.  I have school, so I can't do multi-day shows.  Hopefully, if the princess is good, she'll get to move back to Novice afterward.  I've got my fingers crossed.

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