I wish I could say that, after sitting in 3rd place over night, Henry and I came into showjumping and found some glory. But, uh… that’s not what happened. Because I’m dumb and make poor decisions. Not Henry’s fault at all, it was 110% rider error and I legit tried to kill us both. Sigh.
I was really freakin determined to go in there and focus and ride the plan. I went over it in my head, stride by stride, several times, and I wasn’t feeling particularly nervous or anything. And honestly, for the most part I actually DID execute that plan pretty well and keep thinking my way through it. Exceeeept to 4ab, a double coming diagonally through the middle of the ring.
We warmed up well, which was an encouraging start. Sometimes I go full-on dingbat in stadium warmup. We got in the ring, picked up the canter, and I had a good pace pretty much right off the bat. I was encouraged. The course started with basically a rollback from 1 to 2, which was a little tricky but a good opportunity for redemption after my mistake 2 weeks ago at Meadowcreek where I pulled through the turn to the rollback and had a rail. This time I did NOT pull, but kept my leg on, moved up out of the turn, and the first vertical, then oxer to vertical bending line all came up nicely.
And then… well. I lost my stirrup through the turn to 4, and instead of just rolling with it and focusing on the double, I focused on fishing wildly for the stirrup. Henry ended up crooked and behind my leg, I missed the distance to the oxer spectacularly because of it, and he rightfully slammed on the brakes rather than trying to climb his way through the double like that. I don’t blame him one bit, it was the right choice.
What was I thinking? I don’t really know. As soon as I lost that thing I had a flash vision of trying to ride through the double with one stirrup and landing on my face, so I guess I just froze and did nothing. Which, ya know… always works so well (heavy sarcasm here, clearly). I know without a doubt that I could have kicked on, jumped through without it, and it would have been fine. I do that all the time. It’s no big deal. But in the moment I just… chose poorly. Really poorly.
We circled back around and this time I rode the oxer like I was SUPPOSED TO and it was fine. He did have a rail at the vertical coming out, probably because I was riding a little defensively after the stop. It doesn’t take much for him to have a rail.
After that, the rest of the course rode according to plan. Well ok, Henry did trip spectacularly on the landing side of 5, but he got his feet back under him and we carried on down the bending line to 6 like it never happened. And he jumped the poop out of that oxer, for good measure.
Honestly, after 4ab he jumped everything really well. The outside line of oxers, the plank, and the last double were all super. If not for my idiot mistake at 4, it would have been one of our best rounds ever. He felt great, and I rode the rest of it just the way I’d planned.
So, while I absolutely did bungle that thing for myself, I wasn’t as disappointed as I could have been. Yes, I definitely have to make better decisions in the heat of the moment, and I have to recover more quickly. Henry was great, it’s his pilot that needs to step it up. I feel like I finally did a good job with the rest of it though, much better than I’ve been doing, at least. Now to just take the dumb mistakes out. Maybe this weekend I can finally put it all together?
This sport is really hard, guys.