Stoney Gate Farm
22551 Jury Rd.
Middlesex Center, ON
Canada, N0L 1R0
Phone: (519) 472-5412

Intermediate Success!

Spartacus and I (Rene) completed our first Intermediate event today!  After a long wait of nearly three years with multiple setbacks, it feels fantastic to finally say that we are now an Intermediate level team.  The courses were tough and I was in a division filled with seasoned Advanced rider.  Out of 20 starts, 6 were Eliminated on cross-country and only a handful went clear in stadium. Every time I compete Spar, I come away with a clear indication of how much my horse loves his job and what a big heart he has.  He is as honest as the day is long!

Spar's thoughts on his dressage test

I was thrilled with our dressage test and feel that it was our best all season.  Spar was consistent, soft, and moving very well.  We got some nice comments on our shoulder-in, traverse, and canter work; however, overall I felt a lot of politics today and thought I was a bit cheated on my score.  For example, a seasoned rider took four tries to even get the right lead from the walk, consequently missing some canter work movements all together.  The horse was tense through his whole test, yet scored significantly higher than I did.  Other well-known riders had significant mistakes in their tests.  I’m thrilled with my great ride, but disappointed by my overall score and the blatant favourtism I saw as a whole today.  With the help of Tara (vet) and “Magic Hands” Carrie (massage therapist), we’ve kept Spar feeling fabulous and jumping much better.  Our stadium round was likely our best all season.  He was balanced through the turns and attentive and I couldn’t have been more proud of him.  We had one rail due to pilot error, which had been coming down all day.  The course was very well designed and exactly what he needed for a move-up.

What a blast XC was!  I think my adrenaline is still pumping.  It didn’t have many ‘breather’ fences in between some pretty technical question, including bank up-skinny-skinny, two large coffins, a large table angled to a large ditch and brush, two waters, and a corner to corner WITH a big valley in between, only to name a few.  My main concern was how Spar would handle it mentally.  I was slightly concerned with the first water, which was a large logged ramp drop in, three strides to a skinny.  When packing yesterday, I realized that I had left my XC whip at Dreamcrest when I was there training a couple weeks ago.  I frantically ran out to the local tack store andbought the best whip I could find, but it was still pretty flimsy andpathetic – I felt like it would have the same effect as a twig.  Of course, my dear old horse pulled through for me without even batting an eye (have I mentioned what a heart of gold he has?).  We had an extremely unfortunate glance off at the second corner in the combination that I am STILL kicking myself for!  Spar twisted over the first and I slipped the reins to help him out while holding my upright position, as we landed on quite a steep incline.

Somewhere in there, I actually lost my left rein!  The second corner pointed left and I managed to ride the line straight while trying to grab my rein back.  Alas, I couldn’t get it in time and we have a (completely justified) glance off.  Spar was genuinely very upset and confused – it took me some time to get hold of him to circle back.  I still feel awful!  Never in all my life have I lost a rein over a fence. *sigh*  I joked about applying a sticky substance to my gloves next time, haha!
 Overall, I am tickled to pieces with my day.

For our first Intermediate I am thrilled to just have finished, not to mention completed a difficult XC run when a couple popular Advanced riders were eliminated.  I made some pilot errors that I am still trying to stop kicking myself over,  but as The Coach is always saying, “recognize it, laugh, and fix it the next time!”

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