So I have two things to say about my run at Morven Park: sweet redemption and I love my horse!! I must say, Duke never lets me forget what an amazing horse he is. Though the weekend left room for improvement, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out, and I’m just so thrilled to be back running around prelim courses again.
Dressage was alright, not our best. Duke was much calmer this time around, but I haven’t quite gotten the hang of the new tests. I will admit I found myself following the tracks of past horses a couple times. But hey, the first time riding a new test early in the season isn’t supposed to be perfect! Emily was pleased with our 34 but says I need to work on my position and how I ride through the test. By improving a couple things, it will help me to ride Duke a bit better, and in turn improve our scores.
Stadium was warm up for cross country, and the course was big with not much room for error. I think the main focus for everyone was just to keep going and not let yourself get stuck riding backwards. It rode brilliantly and Duke was super excited that the jumps were finally bigger! We jumped clean with just two time penalties. We headed over to cross-country and Duke was like a firecracker waiting to go off. The course was a solid prelim and it had me a bit worried, but as soon as we took the first couple jumps we were in our rhythm and it seemed to come easily. The only sticky parts we had were two training size jumps at the tail end of the course. Duke was getting a bit tired, and I should have helped him set up for the jumps a bit more. I let my eye get a bit long, but Duke being the trooper he is, helped me out and we finished the course with only 4 seconds over optimum time! We came in 5th place, but that was the last thing on my mind!
So I will finish with saying that we should all give our horses an extra carrot even if we don’t come home with a blue ribbon. It really is amazing the crazy things we ask them to do, and how willingly they do it for us. On bad days I know it’s easy to forget how great they are. But remember the times when they bail us out when we accidently bury them into the base of a giant oxer, or when they quietly stop for us to wriggle back into the saddle after being unseated? Yeah, they are amazing creatures. This is in so many ways a ‘team’ sport, and we are all so blessed to be able to experience the excitement of 3-day Eventing from the back of these great horses.
Carrie and Duke