This morning I woke up to a very overcast sky and very cool. Our time for go on the marathon was 10:40 am, so our hope of the coolness holding out did not happen. By go time it had warmed up some but the sun was peeking through the clouds and the humidity kept rising. Got a bit lost on section A so we were over time in the section which added penalty points to our overall score. We did most of the obstacles in 1 to 1 ½ minutes keeping our penalty points down. Made our times on the walk and obstacle sections. Sailor was a real trooper and took in all of the new sites. He even went over the rickety old bridge which was at the start of section A. Overall we placed 7th in Preliminary Single Horse, for the HDT, which is great considering where Sailor is in his showing career. In total we drove about 13 k driving through about a dozen properties in the Southern Pines neighborhood.
Today is the start of the HDT and our go time for dressage and cones is mid morning. My hope today is that the items in the dressage arena that bothers him yesterday will not today. He was doing fine until I headed for the dressage arena from the warm-up area. As we went to cross the road we were met by about five other ATV”s, Gators and motor scooters and no one paid any attention to the horse coming through. It took Allan taking control of all of the other vehicles for me to be able to get Sailor to cross. So by now my calm horse was no longer calm.
Even with all this commotion we actually had better scores for dressage today than yesterday, but our cones were a bit rough. Sailor thought that he should canter the whole course but of course that would not do at all for there were to many tight turns.
It’s 8 am here at Pine Tree CT and HDT. The CT is today and my go time is noon. We were all decked out and ready to go about 11:30 am and Sailor started out very calm but that changed when he had to confront all of the people driving ATV’s. He being pretty new at this, he is not all that familiar to a lot of the thing that are found at this type of event.
We entered the dressage arena and made our first halt then proceeded down the center line and when he saw the judge sitting in the little house, he thought he was the boogie man, and shied away, this is not a great start to a dressage test. After the rough start Sailor settled down and was a lot better but he still was not sure about the man in the little house.
After dressage we proceeded to the cones course which was diabolically laid out for us to maneuver. Sailor like cones so all went well for us with only one ball down for 3 penalty points and only 9 seconds over time. So by the end of the day we placed 4th in Preliminary Single Horse for the CT.
In the last week while here in Monroe I have worked with Sailor just about every day. I even drove him a couple of times in the arena at White Dogwood Farm where there were all sorts of jumps and paraphernalia laying around. Sailor actually didn’t mind at all which was a real change for him. Yesterday was a day for cleaning horse, harness and carriages for the upcoming weekend.
By about 9:30 am today we were on our way to Pine Tree CT & HDT in Southern Pines, NC. When we arrived at the location there were already a couple dozen trailers on the grounds. We were stabled in a very nice 10 stall barn owned by one of the property owners. I picked up my packet of information that I reviewed before taking Sailor for a look around the place.
This is truly a very first class event and my thanks go out to all of the land owners and the organizers for all of their work in putting this on.
We have finally arrived at our final destination and are developing a routine with Sailor at his temporary home White Dogwood Farm and Allan and I staying with our good friends GladysAnn and Tim. After some much needed sleep I made it to the stable to work with Sailor both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was just a short session to get both Sailor and the other horses at the property used to the carriage.
Sunday my friend GladysAnn and her dressage trainer Amanda came and helped me with some tips on getting Sailor to pay more attention when at a new place. Then the three of us took a ride on the trail that goes around the perimeter of the farm. It was a good outing for Sailor and he listened well even when the farthest out horses came running towards us in their turnout.
I also spent some time with GladysAnn and her horse Mary at her stable to see how she was doing. They will be competing at the same events that I am taking Sailor too. GladysAnn and Mary have come a long ways since I last saw them in November of last year. I have worked with GladysAnn for quite a number of years with her Mini and with Mary.
We finally reached our destination Canton Georgia today. Sailor had a good rest overnight and the following day I did some lounging work with him in the ranch arena.
The following day we had to get on the road again for our final destination Monroe, North Carolina.
After spending the night in Lindale, Texas we headed out this morning for Ralph, Alabama and by 6:30 pm we drove into our next overnight boarding facility the “ 4 R Farm”. We were met by a very lovely gentleman who helped us get settled in. After 477 miles Sailor was ready to stop and stretch his legs. After having dinner for both us and the two, two-legged member of this party I went to give Sailor some exercise. I felt he needed it after working as hard as he did yesterday morning and then balancing for over 700 miles.
He was happy to go along with the program and after a good brush out I put him into my Pessoa Training System surcingle for lunging. We did about 20 minutes, 10 going each way, and he was able to loosen his muscles and stretch them out. I think he was happy to get out and just move around.
Tomorrow we head for Canton, Georgia.
Today was marathon day and it was a long 7.85 k over a beautifully laid out course at a new facility that had never sponsored an HDT before. The group went to a lot of trouble to manicure the course and to set up five wonderful obstacles along the course.
Sailor was in good form but by the time we went it was already 90 degrees, humid and windy. Did not mind the wind but the humidity made it tough going for the horses that went towards the end. Sailor did a stellar job and we had a good time overall.
So for the two days we placed first overall for Intermediate Single Horse.
We proceeded to pack up and get on our way to our next destination, Lindale Texas. We pulled into the stable about 8:00 pm and we all fell into bed including the horse and dog.
Dressage and cones day and it was fun. Sailor was in fine form but our late start at 12:14 pm put us in the heat so he was a bit sluggish. Being this is a new venue and the first HDT that has been put on here there were some issues one had to deal with. The dressage ring was not level and had been full of rock and they did quite a good job of removing them, but we were left with divots to drive in. It was an alright test but not our best. On to cones and the ground was even worse, it did not have the rocks removed so it made for a very bumpy ride. We had two balls down and one refusal and some time penalties, but if I had gone faster I would have lost Allan off the back.
Sailor listened well and wanted to go faster but the ground was not conducive for doing that. Sailor received a much needed bath and cool down and spent the rest of the afternoon in his stall relaxing while I checked out the obstacles. There are five and they are mostly very big and open so we will be doing a lot of cantering to make a good time. The full course is 7.84 k.
Today was a bitter sweet departure from my friend Maggie’s ranch in Dale Texas. For one it had been a great visit and we did a lot of catching up on what had been happening in our lives over the past five years. I also got to meet the new man in her life and he is a very lovely and kind person. Sailor was sad to go has he had to leave behind his new girl, it was love at first sight.
On the road again about 10 am heading for our next HDT in Burnet Texas. It was a beautiful drive and when we pulled in we were greeted by a very nice lady who gave us directions as to where to park. Found a stall for Sailor which was set up under a large blue tent so the horses would have shade all day. Once settled in we proceeded to set up camp and decided that hook-ups (water and electric) were in order so we moved spaces, and Kandi was very happy about that.
I proceeded to walk the cones course four times until it was solid in my mind. I then decided I should drive Sailor as I hadn’t driven him since I arrived in Dale. He is such a good boy, he was all business and one would think that he has been doing this cross country thing all his life. We had a really good dressage practice.
After getting Sailor cleaned up it was about time for the welcome dinner and information from the TD (technical delegate) on the happenings for tomorrow. We are the last to go tomorrow for dressage and cones at 12:14 pm.