I also got the opportunity to ride in a clinic with Peter Wylde right after our clinic with Courtney. That was a lot of fun, as Steve and I desperately need help with our stadium work. We gained a lot of tools for our toolbox so to speak, and were able to take a lot away from that experience as well, I highly recommend riding with him if you ever get the chance.
This all led up to the horse show at Great Vista. Splash came along, and it was her first sanctioned event at BN - talk about a ROCKSTAR. It was definitely an all new experience, I'm not sure she's ever been ridden on grass, I know she's never been in an actual dressage arena and I know with the exception of our one XC schooling, she hasn't really been jumped on grass, either. She was a bit hot and tense in her warm up both the day before and the morning of, but we have a pretty good bond together and I can read her pretty well, I know her rules and I know what keeps her happy, so I was able to ride through it all and keep her happy for good results. Her dressage was tense, but rode similarly to her first jumper show, I think when things are brand new she just bottles up and gets nervous, but I cannot complain, we got the job done well, kept all 4 feet in the arena and trucked along. Her stadium round was fabulous, and I couldn't be more pleased. We had two rails, but it was totally fine baby mistakes that I can excuse. The first of which was an uphill oxer, that she barely brushed and it came down and the second was the in to a two stride. We went a bit past our distance and she was more focused on getting out rather than getting in...green baby mistakes that cannot be punished and you can't feel bad about. Experience will make it all come together, and that will just take time. Our XC was a dream, she was a little unsure at fence 1, but fell in to a rhythm at 2 and the rest of the course was smooth and clean (we did get lost thanks to rider error which cost us some time BUT I can't complain, totally my fault!!!).
Steve at Great Vista...it wasn't his high point in life. We had been doing such amazing dressage that our warm up the day of felt less than stellar. It wasn't a bad test at all (actually quite on par with previous tests according to the scoring), but it was not as good as he could have been and has been schooling. We had a stop in stadium at a big rolltop, which in all fairness he has NEVER seen before. It was also a bad ride for me, I was getting greedy with this new found adjustability of Steve's (new within the past 2 weeks!!!) and rode for the distance instead of riding the crap out of a new jump he's never seen before. Our XC was great, Steve was bold and on his game. We had a minor mishap at the first bank jump, off of a left turn , I stepped into my outside to turn and Steve decided to lean and leap and try and jump up the bank from probably a good three strides away....almost mowed the fence judge over but got collected after that and finished strong and within the time. Especially right now, ridability is a huge issue for us. The farther into the season we get, the more technical the questions are going to get and it just takes better ridability to make it. We're going to play with some bits and make some harder questions at home and try and up our game. He's young and learning and I've been realizing recently I sometimes give him more credit than he's earned...typically he is great, athletic and well behaved, but in the end he's still only 8, off the track and in a program for just under 2 years, and he hasn't been an easy one. We still have a lot to learn (together!!).
In addition to all of this other fun stuff, we've welcomed "Baby" to our barn, a 4 y/o pinto QH, for some training, and "Chula" has found her perfect mom, Meghan, who has also decided to keep her with us so we can continue her training program here. "Irish" also sold to a fabulous home, right down the road with Louise and Hope Meryman at Treeline Farm. We love finding excellent and amazing homes for our great horses, and we've been on a great streak lately! Also, semi-related, I've now taken to fostering dogs and the first special dog is "Shane" a pitt/pointer x. He's been a great addition to the barn and has been so wonderfully behaved, we are hoping we can find his perfect home!!!!