Entrance is Everything

I was worried about our dressage test. I have NEVER done one before and I’m pretty sure neither has Brantley. I thought to myself as we trotted around the arena and waited for the bell, “Just make the entrance.” And we did that for sure. It was sexy AF.

We were marked down 40 points due to being above the bit and having our circles a tad too small… but I’ll take it. He was quiet and curious but responsive and waited for my cues. I couldn’t ask for much more out first time around.

There was a little break before our stadium round. Enough for a quick snack and a tack change. Brantley didn’t even bat an eye through it. As soon as I put his fancy bonnet on from F.U.N.Bonnets,Β he was ready to roll.

We had a great warm up. Didn’t take any time at all to hit the cross-rail and the vertical set up… And then we cocked and ear and an eye to the oxer. Small, yes, but we’ve never hopped over one before. Even Kate was surprised. He absolutely shy’d away from it at first but I let him take a look, turned around, and we popped over it without an issue. Then it was time to hit the arena.

When it comes to B, the first jump is what counts. There’s that whole “make the entrance” again. Of course he shy’d at the flower box but I wanted to set him up for success, not push him over because of the environment we were in. It was totally worth the 3rd attempt and he popped right over.

It paid off. He take a jump and I’d let him canter off, then I’d bring him back to a trot and make sure we took the next jump straight and with even aids. There’s a method to my madness but I didn’t want him to rush the jumps and take a chance of him dropping out and building up anxiety. I wanted him to sit, wait, be straight, be forward, and be confident.

Of course I screwed up the last two obvious jumps but I don’t think I’ve smiled that much in a long time. Especially on camera…

He was so proud of himself walking out of that arena and seemed to know exactly where we were headed next. That countdown goes by quick. Almost didn’t make the start box!

He was VERY strong coming over the jumps and the course was pretty compact with higher level jumps in the same direction of ours… including a ditch that B decided he was ready to take. I had to bring his head around and let him reevaluate. Luckily he wasn’t a dick about it, just ready to run and do what he loves.

I had to pull him up a few times although the logs were small just so I could make sure I would have a horse on the other side when we landed.

We were both pretty proud of ourselves after and feeling pretty badass… he definitely could’ve gone around again and again. He locked on some larger jumps out there but how many times can you go off course at a schooling event before they catch on.

I am so lucky I had this opportunity and I’m still feeling a little high from it. I’m really thankful for everyone involved! The BO was nice enough to truck us up there even though she wasn’t competing and Alicia held on to my camera and got some great shots. Wendy is always my grounding rod and PIC so it was great to have her there too. Kate was able to make it and also got some amazing shots of us which I am always thankful for… And B and I got a huge hug from Hannah at the end of it all to make it the perfect day.

Not sure what this week will bring but I’m already looking into the “local” cross-country derbies and horse trials… we may be hooked.


8 thoughts on “Entrance is Everything”

  1. congrats, and great job out there! he looks like he built a lot of confidence as he went! yay!! and fwiw – there isn’t really β€œoff course” on xc so long as you put all of your assigned jumps in the correct order, you can basically do whatever you want in between them tho! (tho some places have rules about not jumping anything 2+ levels above yours). i have often tried to mix in a little extra schooling while out on xc, esp for things we need to practice like water or ditches. seems like B loves the job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have no idea how happy that makes me haha. I probably would’ve tried to school him a little more if I had known. Learning more and more all the time! You and your pony look amazing by the way!


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