Waiting all day to go xc is really hard on the nerves. Plus I had had to do that the day before for sj! It reminded me of the time I had two at Rolex and rode the second horse very late in the day.
So I distract myself by walking the course early in the morning. It was a bit better with the cloud cover, not so hot as the day before. Of course as the last ten horses went xc the sun came out.
We went to cheer on Fanny for her 1* sj round. Then mid morning they served an excellent meal in the VIP tent. FOOOOD, always a good distraction. They even have wifi there so we looked up Blenheim results. Shout out to Kim S for winning!
Luckily my cheering section came from Maryland to distract me after brunch. Thank you to Lauren and Erica for chatting with me for a bit before I had to get down to business. Lauren made Woody his favourite treats with mints on top, lucky boy. They also brought a “moo thing” as we call them. A toy one! Woody has developed a real fear of cows over the past few years. He is getting a little better about them but not by much. It’s the only thing that terrifies him. I threatened him at Great Meadows that I was going to buy him a real pet cow if he didn’t start trying harder in sj. LOL So they brought him a toy one because he HAD improved his sj immensely but we still had one rail. Fortunately for Woody it has a squeaker in the middle (a “moo-er”) so Bizzy fell in love with it first and took care of it for Woody????
Finally it was time to get on and head up to warm up. There were only a few in the warm up and things seemed to be a little out of order. We shot out the box like a bullet out of a gun. Had a great first fence, which is unusual for me. Sometimes I have to collect too much at the first. I knew #2 would be toughto jump at a gallop as it was off a sweeping left turn and quite upright in front headed down hill when they are full of running. We didn’t get the perfect take off so I heard him tap it with a foot. We blasted down the hill to a lovely #3.
#4 wasn’t quite out of stride but not too deep a distance. #5 ABC was the first time I really had to sit up and organize. We got slow and long (always a struggle with Woody to collect and speed up the hind legs) so we had a bit of a lofty big jump over A. That made the right turn in five strides have a bit more bend then I intended. Having said that I’m not sure we would have fit the five strides in had I not????
The two strides between B & C (angled cabins) was easy. Jetted down the hill to a lovely jump over #6 and a pretty good distance to #7 off a sharp right turn downhill. He has become so much more adjustable that he set up well for #8 AB the foundation jump. Skinny cabin on the top of a steep slope down through the stone pullers back up a steep slope to and angled skinny cabin out. He was foot perfect there.
#9 a stump with brush on the back side needed a bit of respect plus the sharp left turn to #10 AB a big enough log drop into water left in four strides to a fountain jump. Here I was committed to the four strides because Woody has a lovely big step and every extra stride is an extra second. I landed turning right and putting the pedal to the metal.
Down hill to a lovely steeplechase type coop #11 and then up hill to a very tall vertical at the lip of a down hill #12.
At the bottom of the hill and slightly offline to the right was #13 a skinny angled hedge on a big ditch. I raced down the hill then set Woody up the last strides by showing him exactly where we needed to go and he was super brave and honest. #14AB were two angled hedges one stride apart then a long super fun gallop slightly down hill along side the road where we went hell bent for leather. Weeee!
I caught a bit more of a flyer then I meant to over the oxer #15 but he was brilliant. Headed back up hill to #16AB a two stride of corners. I came back a little too much for these but kicked on outta there. I did a bit of a chocolate chip (as Kaycee would say) at the next table #17 before headed right down hill to two angled roll tops two strides apart into water #18 & #19.
I watched Buck do a really right turn up against the ropes here to the coffin. So I did as well and Woody answered me beautifully through here. That was #20ABC quite a big upright (airy) on the lip of the slope down in one stride, ditch, two nippy strides and fly out over the narrow wedge out.
Now here’s where the course starts to pull up Hill to a large wood pile #21 sharp turn left down hill like a roller coaster to the elephant trap #22 (a huge oxer with an equally big ditch under it). I jumped both of those out of stride and boy was it fun! Then Woody went on another fun gallop, this time up hill. This was a good test of his fitness to see where we’re at for Fair Hill. He felt full of running and all I had to do was cheer him on and pump the reins to him.
Into the woods at the top of that first hill to #23 a vertical in the shade. Here I wanted to give him a quick breath and let his eyes adjust. Here’s where his adjustability came into play again and he was very smart over the vertical down into the hollow on a lovely galloping six strides to #24 a wide stone wall with brush on top. Then we whipped up the last hill through a sneaky gap closest to the ropes and a great distance to the last fence #25 (which also doesn’t always happen for me) with time to spare on a happy healthy Woody.
He is a cross country machine. What a horse!
I high fived Buck for his first time winning Plantation a hometown event for him. Then I hugged Jennie and said, “I’m in great company and you guys better watch out I’m gonna learn how to show jump soon!”
The vet said Woody came through the finish well and he always recovers well because he’s so chill in the vet box.
Thanks to Fanny, Erica, Lauren and of course AM for helping me with him in the vet box.
Awards after were fun because the Rumbles were able to stay for them. We took Woody back to Chesterland to ice him and magnetic blanket before heading home around 7:30 p.m. arriving home at 3:00 a.m. He traveled well in the cooler temps and with his friends.
Thanks so all our fans, supporters and sponsors. Thank you Plantation field for yet another fantastic event!