Elkton, MD
Oct 18, 2008

Saturday morning was clear and very crisp, enough so that we put blankets on the horses between warm up and setting out on course.  Finian warmed up more relaxed and focused than he usually does, and maintained his cool all the way into the start box.  It was such a pleasant change from the adrenalin induced fits that we are typically overcome by.  My biggest concern about the course was an A/B combination at fence 6.  It was two corners on a downhill and I knew, being so early in the course, if he wasn’t settled in at that point, we would likely run past the B element.  When we did set out on course, he immediately found his rhythm and was jumping everything out of stride.  He came to the corners and locked on to the question like a well seasoned horse.  All the way around he was galloping and jumping wonderfully, looking for the next fence, and maturely sorting out the combinations on his own. 

I knew that the time was very hard to make, since no one in the first group out had come home inside the optimum time of 9:00 minutes.  I also knew that we would be a little bit behind the time for the first half of the course since it was all up hill, but I planned to try to make it up in the second half which was more down hill.  By the time I got to my 7th minute marker I knew we were further down on the clock than I wanted to be, and we were never quite able to make it up, finishing with 8.6 time penalties.  As many people were picking up jump and time penalties, in a class of 82, there were enough horses and riders that went around double clear to move up the leader board, and shift us down into 19th place.  It was a bit disappointing to move down so far after such a great round, but I was no less thrilled with how well my horse had gone.

Finian cooled out beautifully in the cold weather, and was released from the veterinary box within minutes.  Kristi also jumped clear, but picked up 20 time penalties.  Weslee had 20 jump penalties for a run out at the second corner of 6B and some time penalties. Back at the barn we got to work icing their legs and running IV fluids.  Other than catching one stifle and having an abrasion there, Finn looked great and only took one round of icing.  He happily napped and grazed for the rest of the day.