Thank you for your comments!
As some of you have noticed we got eliminated from the event classification but it wasn't as bad as it suggests ;)
First of all, it was a technical elimination in show-jumping, in other words a numpty pilot made a mistake and a horse tried his heart out :) We got to go through all the phases and cruised across country! Hamlet was awsome!
Let's start from the beginning though: (I do have better pictures but have to wait for people sending them to me!! The below snaps are stills from videos; once I have more visual material I will add it to Hamlet's blog).
We got 38.4 so about 62% which for Hamlet is quite respectable. However, I was quite shocked at how tense he was and was rather surprised we managed to pull out the score we did with all the headshaking he was performing! I am thinking of giving an oxyshot a go and see whether it will help to relax him. The problem is he doesn't do it at home (or very rarely and just a little bit) or even at lessons away from home so it's not somthing we can work on in training.
It seems truly tension/anticipation related and it almost seems like some form of headshaking. He warmed up nicely at first but got tenser and tenser when I asked him for more.
Nevertheless, he allowed me to contain his tension to some extent and was very acurate responding to most of my aids. He didn't work through though and didn't accept the contact properly hence mostly 6s and a couple of 7s (for canter transitions).
3. Little better and some flexion
4.Final halt & salut
Show Jumping: 12.02pm
Back to the lorry. Quick change of saddles, tendon boots on and off we went to warm up for the jumping. I would much rather have more time in between the phases as felt a little bewildered by everything being in different places. I am sure I will be more chilled about it next time but today I found it all very rushed. I only managed to see one show jumping round and didn't walk the course (but then it didn't seem to be a habit to walk a SJ courses at events...??). Anyway, I will make sure I have a good look next time!
The course was small and inviting but built on a cirular pattern which required quite a lot of obedience from the horses. Hamlet jumped well in the warm up, was very positive and forward thinking. Unfortunately, he was also very, very strong and I found it mega difficult to keep control over his canter and negotiate the circular pattern in the same time!
We might try a different bit for the show-jumping phase next time as I have very limited stearing and the whole round was well too wild.
3. Oops, no head ;)
And here is how we got eliminated...
I was approaching the last combination - fence 8. Hamlet was powering forward and while I tried to regain some control he managed to drift to the right. As a result of me trying to slow him down and fight for the better line in the same time we arrived at the oxer on a very short stride and jumped so close to the right wing that despite of me kicking on to the last vertical he didn't really have much of a chance to jump it.
We circled away and I stared at the bottom of the fence to see if it's marked a and b. You see, in pure show-jumping you would always have it marked that way and when I didn't see the letters I thought I better jump the second elemnt on an angle :-0. What a stupid thing to do!
The moment I was in front of that vertical and saw there was no sign on it whatsoever I realised that was it :(
I have no idea why the hell I thought that one strided double might be treated as seperate fences! I think I got confused with XC when you can have a one strided combination treated both as seperate fences or as a combination. I tried so hard to remember all the XC bits and pieces that all my SJ knowledge dissapeared :( I was very dissapointed with myself, I must say!
XC - 12.55
After changing into my xc gear, changing Hamlet's boots etc I only had about 10 minutes left to my XC start time. He was so strong I started to worry I would be all over the place out there! Tried a little canter but we got a full run straight away and had to bridge the reins to go back to trot.
Took him over the warm up jump - a palisade and he just cantered past it! Well, this time I knew he was just taking a mickey so gave him a couple of quick slaps next to my right leg (as it's my weak leg and he seems to take advantage!) and he didn't dare to drift after that. We jumped the palisade a couple of times, then the roll top and he was definitely on a mission.
1. Start box - being counted down
2. Off we go
3. Over the first one
4. Over the brush (if you have binoculars ;)
Suzanne and Wendy from Barnfield Riding School came over to say hello and to watch us and think they secretely fell in love in Hamlet! ;)
He is indeed a very likable chap :)
To sum up - it was an interesting experience, I wish I could nip some more horses and get more events under my belt.
I regret there is a big fat 'E' next to Hamlet's name on his BE records now as he was fantastic XC, bold and jumped everything I asked him to jump.
We live, we learn - onwards and upwards.