I would appear to have gone to sleep, and really, that about sums it up as far as Solo is concerned. Solo was getting prepped and ready for his night at the Royal Winter Fair when we got a letter from them asking us not to take two horses. It was an option when Selena was originally invited to enter the competition but I guess they changed their minds. Heron Hill’s Wilhelmina’s owner was SO looking forward to seeing ‘Ena’ in the ring that we felt we could not possibly leave her at home. Maybe Solo will have his chance to shine at the RWF next year, fingers crossed.
Of course as the worrier of the family, I was worried about both horses but I needn’t have bothered, our SIX year old mare took it all in stride and acted as though loud music and cheering crowds were all in a day’s work. In actual fact, we had practised…. We built a course in the indoor arena that included a ‘pretend’ corner made out of poles and a skinny with turns and gallops. Then we cranked up the tunes. We are lucky enough at Hawkridge to have a really amazing sound system in the indoor arena with huge speakers in the roof. So when I say we “cranked up the tunes”, I really mean it. Then we who were in the peanut gallery, moved around, stomped on the wood and waived our arms about while the horses were passing us or jumping towards or away from us. To be honest, after one amazed stare, the horses were completely convinced we had lost our minds and tactfully pretended nothing was amiss. As for the music…. I think they liked it.
I do have a bit of a gripe tho. How come when the jumpers are in the ring you can hear a pin drop, when the hunters are in the ring over tiny little knock down fences, nobody is allowed to breathe out loud, but when the eventers are in the ring jumping fixed fences the crowd is incited to make as much noise as possible? The lights swing and the music is rocking, I don’t understand why our horses are considered to be able to cope and perform at their best in that! It is, in my opinion, somewhat dangerous, and I wonder if in the future some horse will be put off just enough by the crowd shouting and yelling, to ‘miss’ badly. I think many of the knock downs, especially on the first night can be directly attributed to the noise fluctuations, especially in Waylon’s first round.
Anyway, nuff of that, Solo didn’t get to go this year so he has languished at home. He is on a sort of holiday. Solo doesn’t ‘do’ holidays that well, he is a busy sort of a person and likes to work, argue, go places, do things – sitting in the field is agony after about two days. We work him three or four times a day. Some lunging, some ponying and now he does a month of dressage with me before he leaves for Ocala at the end of December. The first four horses have already left but it was felt that Solo would benefit from staying at home and plodding around the indoor arena practising his dancing steps. Since he has finished on his dressage score for most of the year, it’s his dressage score we need to improve. He does raised poles a lot. It makes him use his hocks and gives more suspension to his stride. He is a lovely mover but needs to keep himself in full elevation to shine in amongst some lovely lofty warmblood types.
So, off he will go to Ocala, hopefully with his dressage somewhat more disciplened…(faint hope clause)…and upgrade to Intermediate in 2010. ULP!