YAY! I survived another Rolex thanks to my faithful steed Colombo. Not only did we survive and go clean, but we made it under the time by four seconds. Hurray. I first want to say that I LOVE Colombo. He is so smart. Ever since Rolex last year he and I have a great time out on cross country. I think Rolex 09 gave us both great confidence in each other and our ability to tackle advanced courses. I was very nervous as per usual. Had to visit the ladies room once before I went out for my course walk at 7:10am and twice while out on my course walk. Pretty bad, I know. It was spttiing a little rain, not too bad. I was wearing my new favourite shirt. A blue pin strip show shirt from Fits and a rain coat over top. I couldn’t decide if I was sweating from nerves or the long hikes up and down hills, so I had to carry my jacket
I really focused on my lines between fences in order to make the time without having to push Colombo too fast on the slightly slippery ground. When I got back to the barns I walked around the barns chatting to friends so that I would’t wind myself up too much. At 9:30am the cross country started with Boyd Martin on Neville Bartos. I watched him on the tv in the stabling office, along with many other competitors and staff. He made it look fast and easy…very inspiring. I watched a few more and then it was time for me to go get all my equipment on. I am using a new Charles Owen hat, it fits like a glove. Plus my airvest which I haven’t had very long so it’s still a novelty.
Pam takes care of all of Colombo’s equipment so I don’t have to worry about him. I got on at 10:30am, always feel better once your in the saddle, jumps look smaller from up there. Hacked down to the warm up and started walking him around. Once mum and Pam showed up I got them to grease his legs and hand me some chap stick and a drink. He felt very good in the warm up. They had a table, a skinny wide box as well as a few stadium fences. A horrible upright black gate that had grease on it from previous horses, so I decided to only jump it once at the end of warm up just to test my “guts” . walking around the start box at 2mins and countning down is the worst part. He flew out of the box nicely without pulling or getting too long. First fence felt really good. Second fence he came back to me so nicely after galloping so fast down hill early on in the course. Three we met on anice galloping stride. I had to collect the stride a little more then I wanted for the big bridge across the ditch, we still flew over no problems. Long run uphill to the angled rails in a two stride. He was very adjustable there. The water worried me a little because it was a very big verticle in with quite a drop into the water three strides to a ducks back four strides to another. He aced it!
Walnut table then carefully round the turn there because Boyd had mentioned to me it was a little slick there. Narrow cabins in three strides in a gully. He was very accurate. The big trakaner, then thru some open water, no problems. The coffin was next and I knew I had to ride my pants off to make this one happen. Attacked the big verticle in, down one stride, ditch one stride, up to a VERY narrow brush. I was very pleased with him after that fence and told him “you can do it boy come one” on the gallop away from that combo. Big open oxer nice easy fence to give him a break. Huge table, five strides to huge ditch and wall five srtides to huge table again. This was ridden mostly a five to a four on the inside track by many riders. I walked slightly left of center and it rode very smooth and quick for me…I really enjoyed that combination. Wood pile, again easy fence. Head of the lake here we come. Big log down hill in five, brush drop into water four short strides to a corner in the water. He was so adjustable in the water the four was easy. Out the other side towards a huge crowd then half circle right to a hanging log drop into water seven bending strides and out a narrow gap over a verticle brush on a sharp angle. Hw was so brave jumped right back into that water with batting an eyelid.
Long haul up hill to the angled squirels tails. It walks in a four but David had said as long as you are focused and determined and in the right place to help the horse anything can happen here. The five works as well. Well as it happened I met the first tail on a bit of a quiet stride and held my line and Mr. C did it in five. Hop over the sheep shelter and up another hill to the quarry. Now this one really had me worried. Big verticle in, bounce down a big step, bounce down another big step, seven strides including a slope up to a narrow tripple brush. I was worried about making sure he jumped the verticle clean…then I was worried the stairs might unseat me enough that I loose my focus…then I was worried I might take a tug or loose my rythem to the tripple hedge and have a glance off. Luckily non of the above happened and we rocked on thru there. Long gallop down hill to a wide wagon six strides to a huge right handed corner with hedge along the top edges of it. I have practised corners so much this year…and then rode at the Fork where it seemed every second fence was a corner…that I was bound and determined I was going to get over this one no problems. I flew in over the wagnon moved on for three strides and then set him up for the corner with a gentle tap on the right side and we were over. Big ditch and brush easy. Giants table easy. Bounce up a bank with a ditch as the ground lin,e over a rail on top and three bending strides right to a narrow cabin. He made that feel easy. Long run down hill to a huge cabin then get on your line for the hong kong angled hedges. I failed at these in Hong Kong in 2008…however I did redeem myself last year at Rolex over them…so with a bit of determination I knew I could get him thru there in two strides. I galloped him hard from there to the second last fence which was a hedge and up hill to the last…remember not to have “last fence-itis” Then we pushed on to the finish line and I knew I was at least three seconds under. What an amazing horse..I am such a lucky girl.
That was a long exciting day. The weather forecast was for fairly severe storms starting in the afternoon. As a result there were no breaks on course,
all the riders ran one after the other. The organisers got it just right, about half an hour after the last horse came in off course, the skies opened and in addition, the thunder and lightening began. This has been happening on and off ever since, as a result the Grand Prix show jumping in the main ring was cancelled tonight.
I saw Selena over the first fence and the angled rails. I thought I had taken some photos of her in the warm up and one over each fence I could reach from the warm up by running. Unfortunately, it would appear that in my excitment I put my finger right on the lens and only the photo of the angled rails remains. I am renowned for taking photos at both jog ups, with not a single photo of the competition. Today I did manage in my excitement to take a photo, but I have to admit that I HAD left my camera in the tack room and had to take the photo with my iphone. I am sorry if it is a bit grainy. I PROMISE to remember my camera tomorrow.
I was happy when Selena came back through the finish, it’s the longest eleven minutes you can imagine when she is out there. I was also happy that the thrills and spills came later in the day, otherwise I might not even have been able to watch the two fences I did!
When Ollie T had his horrid looking fall at fence six, we were all terribly worried back at the barns. There is nothing worse than hearing that one of us has been taken off in a helicopter. We knew he had been concious but that was really about all we knew. Later word came back to the barn that he was “cursing and wanted permission to ride the next day” Yippee!!! Let the party begin. We were out dancing in the rain….literally. We are all waiting to see if ironman Ollie makes it back to showjump tomorrow. It will be the icing on the cake if he does.
All in all the course ran well, 10 horses going clear within the time and FOUR of those were Canadians….WE ROCK.
Up at four tomorrow, for the 8am jog up. We left Mr. C. in fine form, eating, drinking, happy and proud of himself. He was great when we jogged him for the team vet in the evening and we are not anticipating problems with the jog….touch wood!