HOT paso robles and my first Horse Trials

So I have been schooling and showing Zalsa like crazy for the past two months. We have both been mentally and physically preparing for the Twin Rivers Horse Trials. This will be my first time doing a full horse trails. I did the combined test in January, but that did not include cross country. Zalsa had her first try out with Danielle in February and made it around the Novice course. Zalsa of course was not on her best behavior since she was pissed I was nowhere in sight. Anyhow so Thursday morning Kaiti, Danielle and I loaded up the horses and headed to Paso Robles. We got there and the heat was already moving into the valley. Kaiti and I both got to ride some dressage and get the horses settled into the facility. Friday was dressage day. Kaiti went first and got an impressive 34. Canada was a bit amped, but Kaiti handled it with ease. Then it was my turn… I was nervous…. Upset stomach nervous…. Not sure why since I have been doing dressage schooling show, but I will blame it on the heat… Zalsa was an angel. The heat was really getting to her and she wasn’t her usual “hot and spicy” self, which made for a very quite dressage ride. I had two minor errors in my test, but the judge must have loved Zalsa, and I got a 25.7. (for those non-horsey people, the lower your score, the better.) That put me in 2nd place for my division and boy was I excited! Saturday was stadium. Kaiti again went first, and only had one rail. Canada was looking awesome and Kaiti was all smiles. My warmup was great, my round was going amazing, and I made it over what I thought was the only scary fence on course…. And I let me guard down and didn’t really ride her to the one stride combo… and I got a rail and refusal. Bummer…. I was no longer in 2nd, I was not sitting in 10th place. As I was walking back to barn kicking myself in the butt, Bryan walks out from under the tent in front of our stalls. TOTALLY surprised me by driving 5 hours just to watch me at my first horse trials. He then promptly had to put up with my grumpy butt since I wasn’t very happy with my stadium performace

Sunday was cross country day. Cross country is what most eventers live for, and I was ampted. Really nervous but ampted! There were three things on course I was worried about. 1- the ditch 2-the water 3-cutout table on the way home. Kaiti, Danielle and I walked the course twice and both Kaiti and I got lots of instruction on what lines to take and how to ride to each fence, so I felt sufficiently prepared. Kaiti went first and finished with no jumping penalties, but came is a bit too fast. The show wasn’t very good about letting us know what the “real” time fault time was…. There were two times floating around the barns and warmup, we checked before going on course, but were told the wrong time…. so Kaiti ended up getting some time faults for coming in a bit early. She was bummed, but Kaiti still got a 7th place ribbon, out of a 20+ person division. So then it was my turn. Warmup was a bit rocky. Zalsa was jumping good but I was nervous, and just about every oncoming horse spooked Zalsa and sent her side stepping. Anyhow our number was called and Danielle walked us over to the start box. Zalsa still doesn’t know what it is, so we had no issues with her getting overly excited. The countdown started and before I knew it we were off. The first fence was a bit of an awkward jump since Zalsa really wanted to just go back to the barns and wasn’t sure why I was leading her away from everyone…but we made it over and afterwards she realized what we were doing, and moved along nicely….Jump 6 was the first question… I schooled the beginner novice ditch before heading over my ditch, and she made it over nicely. We galloped along up the hill made it over everything, and then on to number 11, the water. I kept my eyes up and legs on, and she hoped right on into the water. Her exit out over the log was a bit funky but we made it. Then down the hill to fence number 14, the scary cutout table. I rode her left of center, since she likes to run out to the right, and she popped right on over. The last remaining obstacles and water were easy and she was excited to be heading for home. Finished right under optimum time with a double clear round!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!!! Bryan got to run around with Danielle while I was on course, and my parents got to hang out at the water complex and cheer me on. I finished the weekend with an overall total score of 37.7 which placed me 8th in my division. I had told myself at the beginning of the weekend I wanted to be in the top 10, and that is where I ended up.

The whole experience taught me a lot, and I loved every moment of it. Kaiti and I have officially caught show fever and can’t wait to get into the full swing of show season!

Some photos from the weekend:

Kaiti in Stadium

 Zalsa over the first fence
 Second fence
 Great shot by my Dad in between the wine bottle standards
 Out of the combo that I screwed up..
 wine jump

Videos from the weekend:
Zalsa Cross Country part1 - double clear

Zalsa Cross Country part 2 - double clear

Zalsa Dressage - score 25.7