The day started off cloudy with that annoying spitty rain that doesn't stop. I got there nice and early because I HATE feeling rushed at competitions. Apparently it wasn't early enough because I still felt rushed while I was getting ready. I had plaited the night before so I balled his plaits and saddled up. Our warm up was good and I got a nice working trot around the arena until the judge stopped me to ask me something about my number. Once I asked him for a trot again, it was not nice. The test was bad but it was much better then I expected. The judge thought it was bad too and we were placed last. I was really happy with him though because he was calm and responsive the whole time. The judge commented that once we "established our paces" we would do great.
It was onto Show Jumping. By now it was heating up, and I was sweating in my jacket. I hummed to myself before going into the ring to keep us calm. I probably should have been concentrating on the rider before me because after the 3rd jump I lost my way and acquired 23 time and "crossing your tracks" faults. Otherwise Jack was amazing and HE jumped clear. So once we sort out the pilot errors we'll be great! I was REALLY happy with him though. He jumped everything without hesitation... in spite of his rider.
Onto the Cross Country. We started off really strong. Jack was on fire and he DID NOT want to slow down. After the second jump there was a bridge that is supposed to be trotted on for safety and I couldn't get him to slow down until about half way over the bridge. The third jump was a ramp, which was quite steep and Jack ran out. I didn't think it was going to be a problem so I wasn't ready for the run out. He jumped it the second time and then we had to circle because I had caught up to the rider in front of us who was attempting the Pa jump which consisted of jumping up a bank onto the Pa and then spinning around and jumping down the other side. Heaps of people had trouble, including the person in front of me so once she refused I was allowed to ride in front of her and do the jump. I lost speed control after that :)
We hooned around the cross country course. My gloves provided a problem as they are goat skin leather and they got slippery on the course so Jack could pull the reins out of my hand easily. We had a second refusal at the Dog Box. I must have been looking at it but I was ready for a run out so when I felt him start to dodge to the left I jammed my left heel into his side and he thought better about it... and ran out to the right haha. Sneaky horse. Lots of other people had trouble at the Dog Box too. After the dog box it was a sharp turn into the next paddock. Jack was at a flat gallop by this point and I thought that he would be over on his side if I tried to take the corner at that speed so I circled him and took it fractionally slower and on the straight. It was all go after that. I was pretty much a passenger that controlled the steering and not the speed. We did the rest of the jumps at a nice fast pace and cleared them all with no trouble. I did, however, manage to get him to slow to a trot for some control on the water jump which he did without hesitation. Then it was out of the water and up the double bank and then over a staircase jump and that was it.
Jack's old owner came to watch the Show Jumping. She told my parents that Jack seems to be really happy and that Jack and I have more of a rapport with each other then Jack ever had with her. She also said that she can't believe how calm is Jack. Speaking of Jack being calm; sometime during the day I had tied Jack on a long lead so he could graze around his pen. I left him to graze and then came back a little while later. Jack had his head close to the ground, and his lips touching the grass but he wasn't eating. I thought he looked a bit funny but went on with what ever I was doing. When I looked at him again, he was still in the same strange position. Then I realised that he had got his leg caught in the lead rope and he was waiting calmly for me to come help him out. I really love this horse.
We ended up being placed 13th out of 22 starts. Lots of people got eliminated on the Cross Country so even after our massive penalties in SJ and the bad dressage test we got boosted way up! I was really, really happy with Jack all through the day. He tried his heart out for me. Once we get the pilot errors sorted out I think we'll be a forced to be reckoned with.
Our next competition is on Sunday the 15th. We leave for our new life in Palmerston North on the 16th so we are going to have to be mega organised. Once I receive the professional photographs I'll make sure I'll put them up here.