I confess there may have been skipping. I honestly wasn't sure how our test would score. So when I checked the leaderboard, I was shocked and ecstatic all at once. And there may have been helpless giggling all the way back to the trailer.
We booted up to get ready for jumping. This HT runs stadium first, then XC immediately after you finish your course, which I have grown to like as it makes a perfect XC warmup. But one thing I have learned is that the stadium courses here are always very tough. The course is set on the lumpy side of a slope. Ok, that's fine, we practice on a hill at home. But it's also set on grass in a very small area. And this time, that meant practically every turn was a rollback on a hill to a jump you maybe had two or three strides in front of to get straight.
We really struggled with it; Solo is many things, but catty on a turn is not one of them. He is careful and really tries to keep his toes off the rails, but there wasn't a single jump that gave you a nice, inviting entry line and as a result, we pulled two rails. Eight penalty points, owie. They were all in the same line -- a double combination coming out of a rolling downhill corner with about three strides to an uphill vertical right on the ropes. Add to that it was getting even more humid as the heat cranked up, which really takes it out of poor Solo.
On the plus side, all our work on single fences really paid off -- I kept my eyes firmly on top rails (no more staring at decorations going "oooo, look at the little flowers!") and he handily worked his way through width, colours, Blue Tarps of Doom, and walls without a glance. Next project -- going back to riding more courses at home!
Cross country ran completely uneventfully. There were a few funky jumps and moments. As soon as we finished, I collapsed off my horse in a pile of sweaty wooziness and laid in the shade next to the trailer while our lifesaver friend got Solo some TLC till I could stand up without the field doing crazy heat-spins. But double clear, a bold canter into the water, and a really fun ride at a ditch/ narrow brush combo in the woods! We also finally got to jump the picture frame that I've been wanting to do forever -- wow, it looks so much smaller than it did a year ago!
All in all, we regained some placing with our XC run and finished in a solid 4th place. Not bad considering and I am still thrilled to pieces about the dressage test, especially given the challenging circumstances. We are definitely done horse trialing for the (hot hot HOT) summer. Well, at least until August. But that's a special event. And it's in Maryland. So that doesn't count.