80cm Hunter Trial at Mendip Plains

24 April 2022

Having gone XC schooling on the 16th April with Karen, Kate & Dave and Amanda, I decided to enter the BE event at Mendip on the 15th May.

Last year on the flying changes mindset course Jenni had mentioned about how to stop trigger stacking by being prepared, so as there was a hunter trial on at Mendip Plains, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to attend for some learnings, particularly as it has been 8 months since we were out XC and among the XC 'hub-bub'.

We were due on at 1.28pm so at 1pm I dutifully tacked up and prepared to ride down to the first warm up area. I warmed up and Fred felt calm but 'up for it'. After about 10 mins, I noticed that the pairs still hadn't finished and in fact appeared to be being held in the second warm up area. In fact everyone had noticed and we all stopped warming up and started walking around. Some time after 1.30pm the final competitor for the 80cm class came down and her dad said 'Are they calling you over?', I explained that we were all waiting as there seemed to be a hold on course. Charleigh came back to say that a horse in the horsebox had had an 'incident' and as the vet was in attendance there the course was held. About perhaps quarter to we seemed to get underway again, so I moved into the second arena. Only for us to get held again. Not having a watch I don't know the times, but I believe I went off sometime around 2.15pmish. Having sat onboard for over an hour and repeatedly warmed up and stopped, Fred was just a bit switched off. The sun was out, it was warm and proper warm for the first time, he had got out over night to eat his own body weight in long grass and now I'd been sat on board for over an hour. The first 3 fences were really sticky. Lacking enthusiasm, Fred was doing a lethargic canter down and climbing over the fences. So at fence 4 I had to really get after him and some smacks ensued. He woke up then.

Unfortunately I had course walked lazily and not realised that the water splash ran the opposite way to the way I had assumed (and went) meaning we were eliminated - doh.

We finished on 6mins 18sec for a course that should be 5min 26sec, I finished well out of breath and trotted after the final fence to the finish .....

So not our shining hour after all..... But plenty of learnings:

I know I made mistakes:

  1. No 1 sitting on my pony for an hour! I should have got off when I realised the pairs were held

  2. No 2 not getting after him sooner in the warm up and or on course - in the warm up he was just getting heavier and heavier each time I tried to sussh him up (will work on his and my fitness!!)

  3. No.3 riding the wrong course!

But some moments I was happy with....

  1. No 1 - Riding Fred 'in front of me' at jump 8a and b (a drop step down) particularly.

  2. No 2 - cantering through the water!

  3. No 3 - really making sure I had plenty of pony in front of me to power up the hill and over 15. I was really pleased how we tackled this, a run up hill to a nice BIIG roll top.

  4. No 4 - riding to my pointers (the toilet for jump 13 and the hut for 17) to get the line I wanted.

My biggest wake up call was my fitness. I need to work on my cardio. I feel laps in the arena coming on! And plenty of Standing Trot!!!

Footage of our very first attempt at an 'into space'/ drop fence in our training

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