There were some specific goals to achieve this season for myself and Lou. And oddly enough, we earned them all from one extreme of the scale, to the entire opposite extreme. We either lost or we won. And even after doing this sport for as long as I have, there is always a surprise lurking behind every stall door.
The season had me sharing the ride on Louis with friend and coach Werner Geven of Geven Eventing. This past weekend was the last trial of the season for Lou, and Werner piloted the Open Training division at Poplar Place Trials into a 2nd place finish and T.I.P Reserve Champion winner.
It’s been so nice to have a young horse consistently score in the 20’s in the Dressage and give the rider a relaxed start to a competition. Lou has always been beautiful on the flat and is like an onion layer of great things to come in the future. I’ve been told he could do straight Dressage and be very competitive, and so I peel the onion layer.
Show Jumping has gotten so much more professional and manageable too. Lou still works hard for that compact 11′ stride, but it’s certainly getting there. I’m reminded how horses respond differently to footing, lighting, course design, and tack. The difference of jumping on grass with studs, over jumping a sand course can be difficult for some. Footing can be everything and that was something we focused on with Lou.
Cross Country will always be the adrenalin rush for both horse and rider. The main goal for the season was to develop a braver horse, a manageable horse, a nimble-footed horse, and a horse with endurance. Homework at home was with gymnastics and then schooling narrow fences on hills helped get Lou quicker up front and become balanced. He is now learning to ‘look’ for the next fence and move up to it rather than backing off.
This season I was technically eliminated for not going through flags, I was eliminated for falling off, I retired on cross country when Lou’s front shoes came off and he slipped onto a fence, and Werner pulled the ripcord in his Dressage test. The other extremes has been hitting the 20’s in the dressage, winning on dressage scores, clear jump rounds, double clear cross country, placing 1st through 4th, winning the T.I.P Championship Award 3 times and winning the reserve award twice, qualifying for the AEC’s and qualifying for AREA III championships, and moving up to Training Level.
So it’s been a little strange this season, but it’s been very rewarding at the same time. I took the bad with the good, and always came out on top. But that was my decision to make rather than let it distract and defeat our goals. I had to teach myself to be that way. Its an on-going lesson.