Elkton, MD
Oct 17, 2008

Yesterday was another beautifully hot and humid day, although we did get a sprinkle here and there to temporarily cool it down.  Finian came out to warm-up in fine form, and was spot on for everything I asked of him, quiet, relaxed, but still prompt and attentive.  But when we trotted into the main ring to circle our arena, I felt that horrible feeling of the horse getting taller and tighter, with every muscle in his body coiled up and ready to spring off in one very disobedient moment.  It was all I could do to walk him around the ring and keep myself dead calm.  When the judge blew the whistle and I picked back up the trot he was a little more focused, but still very on the muscle.  The whole first part of the test was fairly good, and as well as we could do on the day.  He maintained the extended walk well, and most of the medium walk, but the tension was just too much and he jigged a few strides before the canter transition.  We were so close.  Then he got really playful in the medium canter, changed leads and shook his head around, before getting back to business.  The remainder of his canter work was pretty good, and overall the test was respectable.  I couldn’t help but be disappointed for knowing what could have been, but at the end of the day, he is just younger and less experienced than most of the horses out there.  We were given a 53.1 and are sitting in 6th for the moment, but there are many more, wonderful horses on the schedule today, so expect that position to move.  Regardless of where we end up going into cross country, it will still be a very competitive score, and well within striking distance of the top.

Today I’ve got much course walking to do, and a jump school to get Finn back in the groove, while Kristi and Weslee still have to ride dressage.  The course is beautiful, though certainly not easy, and the footing is possibly the best I’ve ever seen.  I’m eager to get out there and try our hand against the big guys.

Thank you everyone for all the good luck wishes.  We can hear the rooting from the other coast.