Aug 3, 2010

Shame on me for not posting this sooner, but with the theory that later is better than never, I’ve finally gotten the time to tell you about Sunday at Rebecca Farm. 

Both Finn and McCool seemed to be in fine form when I arrived at the barn early Sunday morning (whew!) but even without having to go into crisis mode, I had a lot to do getting ready for an 8:00am jog.  Two horses to braid, eight legs to shampoo poultice off of, one white tail to quicksilver and then guard like the crown jewels for the subsequent hour and a half, two horses to ride out to get them loosened up, one shampoo and poultice covered barn slave to transform into a well turned out rider presenting two beautifully prepped horses…!   Turns out somewhere between the late night to bed and the sun’s not up yet morning, I left my “well turned out rider” garb hanging in the hotel!  That was a very unwelcome realization when I had exactly T-0 hours to be walking over to the jog area.  I managed to get dressed with a bit of this, a bit of that, and in a very fateful way, my friend, stylist extraordinaire, and lifesaver Susan Cummings had shipped me a gorgeous jacket and some equally gorgeous jewelry that I had with me at the event.  Thrown together as it was, I don’t think we did too bad.  Most importantly, both horses trotted up very well and passed without trouble.

On to the next thing.  The 2*’s show jumped first and since McCool was standing in 1st, I was last to go in the ring.  I knew I had 2 rails in hand to keep the lead and then I saw the 2nd placed rider have 3 rails to give me slightly more room.  McCool gave me the best ride I’ve ever had with him, and I think probably the best he’s ever jumped, ever.  I had one rail at a very difficult oxer and otherwise it was perfect.  I think I could had done a better job there and maybe kept it up but Mark Phillips was extremely pleased with the round and said the rail was just unlucky.  In any case, he won with a commanding lead having only used one of the rails we had in hand.  We did the awards ceremony and I jumped off McCool and straight onto Finian.  I had a 5 minute warm up while they were setting the 3* course, jumped off of him so that I could walk it, got back on to jump a few warm up fences, and went in the ring.  He was also jumping fantastically and being more rideable than sometimes.  I had a less than perfect round however which was topped off by going right past the 10th fence and therefore getting eliminated.  It was a jump that was not on the 2* course and got added only to the 3*.  I finished up the round and people looked grim as I exited the ring.  When they told me I’d missed a jump I looked around the ring and had no idea which one.  It was so not on my radar, they had to point it out to me before I had any clue what they were talking about.  It was disappointing to let my horse and everyone down with such a foolish mistake but the lesson learned is that no matter what chaos I have going on, I still have to get my head focused before going into the ring.  I sort of feel like the difference between 19th and Elimination is not as bad as the fact that my horse was trying hard and I didn’t give him the ride he deserved.  It sort of topped off the weekend that wasn’t meant to be for Finian, but hopefully we took home some good lessons and I can keep chipping away at that perfection I’m seeking.

On the plus side, the team vetted Finn that evening, so they aren’t too disappointed in me, and they were happy with what they saw.  Both horses came through the event and traveled home well.  McCool’s getting some long awaited and much deserved down time for the next few weeks while Finian is already back to work.  I am doing differed maintenance to my life and maybe completing a few tasks that have been hanging over me for months.   If you’re waiting on a call back or an email from January, you should be getting it sometime soon.