Its been a strange but happy season so far with Lou and myself. Our first trial began in January, where we got a TE (Technical Elimination) on the cross country for not going through the flags at the water complex. This was after a horrible rain storm during the night, the course was changed, and I assumed the path I took through the water was correct. Well, it wasn’t and we were eliminated….lesson #1 NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING.
Next trial was in February, where it was cold and nasty. But the stars were aligned just right and I didn’t mess things up this time. Lou came home in 1st place and the Thoroughbred Incentive Award….lesson #2 DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES LIKE LAST TIME.
March trials were a lot of fun. The Dressage judge really enjoyed Louis’ test and all our hard work paid off with a score of 21. It was a solid enough score to keep us in the top two, but sadly I pulled 2 rails in stadium, knocking us to 2nd place. But Lou won the Thoroughbred Incentive Award again!….lesson # 3 LEAVE ALL THE RAILS IN THE CUPS!
May trials came around on Derby weekend, and I was still feeling pretty confident about myself and Lou. We did a new Training Level test, which seemed to have backed Louis off in the arena. He wasn’t comfortable with the new movements just yet, so we didn’t have our usual brilliant score. Putting the big guy in a tiny box and expect him to flamboyantly perform wasn’t happening that morning. The stadium was also moved onto grass with trees and shadows. Wearing studs for stadium was a different feeling for Lou too, so he was reserved and backed off throughout the course and never got in front of my leg. So when we came to fence #8, sadly I pulled the rip-cord and went over Lou’s head, taking the bridle with me, as Lou galloped off toward a group of friends. In over 30 years I’ve never gotten eliminated in Stadium!….lesson #4 DON’T FALL OFF…..EVER!
So this past weekend, we gave it another go. We learned from our boo-boos, was still pissed off from last time and accomplished what we set out for. Lou improved in the Training Test, I didn’t fall off in Stadium, and we got another double clear round in the Cross Country. We came home in 1st place!….lesson #5 NEVER STOP TRYING
Goals for this season were to qualify for the American Eventing Championships…done. Then qualify for the Area III Championships…done. Win the Thoroughbred Incentive Award…done. Hit the score board in the 20’s in the Dressage…done. Keep a double clear record on Cross Country…done. Move Lou up to Training Level…doing it and making it happen.
Winning is awesome, but you have to know how to be good at losing too.