After getting about twelve hours of sleep last night, I'm finally ready to really reflect on Z's very first event yesterday. We had just about everything going against us except rain, going into the event. I knew I had a smart, brave, trusting horse under me, though, and that's all I needed. The wind was wild, it was nice and cold, and I rode at the end of the day, so we just prayed they would move fast enough that we could get done and placed before dark. The day went about as goo as I could have expected. Z was 100% chill off the trailer, for grooming and anything on the ground, and got uite tense once we mounted up and headed to warm up.
Dressage warm up went just about as good as I could have expected. I gave us about 45 minutes before my ride time so we could do pleanty of walking and stretching to really relax the baby girl. We also got to meet another mustang girl who had her 4yo little black mare at the Million! It was so neat to really see someone else striving for the same thing. Our test went, well, not as great as she's done at home, but I think it was Philip Dutton who says "you're only going to get 70% of what you get a home from your horse at a competition." I'd say that's about what we got. She was obedient and didn't break or really spook, but she did stay counter-bent most of the test and threw her head quite a bit becuase I didn't let her have her fun spooking. :) We ended up with a 42.5, which is more than commendable for her very first time in a dressage ring or in that sort of show environment (out in the open, car horns, etc)
Now, I'v never ever been nervous to jump a horse, so the nerves I felt while tacking up for jumping were twice as scary. I knew I had a brave horse and the jumps were pretty much ground poles, but we hadn't really been able to strike our rhythm jumping at home the past few days, and frankly, I had just decided not to jump her after Tuesday to just keep her fresh enough. Warm up went well and she was probably the most attentive she has ever been to jump. We got into the ring, and let me tell you. I have a real event horse on my hands, granted, she was only jumping 18". She locked on and pulled me to each jump, not rushing, just super confident in her job. It was incredible, a totally different rush from galloping 3'3" training courses on my old mare.
Cross country was a bit of an adventure, but probably one of the most rewarding rides of my life. Again, the jumps were barely anything height-wise, but Z hadn't gotten out schooling to prepare her. She was really look-y for the first few jumps, stopping and then sort of stumbling over the second jump and then deciding she really didn't want to go into the woods. After the woods discussion, she realized how simple and fun the rest of the course would be and just stuck her head up and got more and more brave as we went on. Now, most eventers can tell you, we want our horses to lock on and really enjoy what they do, essentially pulling us around the course, but staying attentive to our directions, and that's exacty what Z did. She was so happy around the whole rest of the course. :)
We ended up SECOND. SECOND IN OUR VERY FIRST EVENT. I couldn't possibly be more proud. She was stellar and acted like an old pro. Never once did sh have a big melt down or totally tune me out. I love this little mustang, and she LOVES being a little mustang ambassador to the eventing community in our area. She loves the apples and pets that everyone gives her and stads quietly while I explain her brand and our story.
Here's to many more years as eventing partners. :)