Well, a lot has happened since my last update, most importantly the American Eventing Championships. Q and I traveled to Tryon International Equestrian Center (also the location for the World Equestrian Games next year) to compete in the Junior Young Rider Training Division.
To begin I want to talk about the facility at Tryon. The facility overall is incredible and unlike most competition venues. It is largely spectator focused housing restaurants, shops, and large viewing areas. The arenas have very good footing suitable for both dressage and show jumping and are accessible from nice lanes with footing for the horses to walk alongside the regular road. The barns are also nice with large, new stalls and actually rooms as tack rooms. However, I found a few drawbacks with the facility as well. Although the walking lanes were nice for the horses to stretch their legs, there was a lack of space for horses to handgraze, which I like to do after a handwalk since the horses aren't able to be turned out. Also, the cross country was very well designed but quite a different feel than a typical cross country course. A large portion of the course was held in a derby field and quite close together so there was not much time to establish a good gallop. However, the course did ride well for most and despite the weather, the grounds-crew managed the footing to the best of their ability.
Now on to the event! We began with dressage on Wednesday very late in the afternoon so I had time to hack around that morning and WAY too much time to prepare. Q was well behaved in the busy atmosphere which definitely helped in our test. Overall our test was improved from our previous event in the way of consistency but we lacked in the areas of lengthenings because I simply did not ask for enough. There is a fine line between too little and too much pushing that I am having to figure out with Q's new level of fitness. We received a 27 and were in fourth place out of forty-eight. Cross Country was held on Thursday after and entire night and day of rain leaving the course sloppy and slick. We put in our big studs and just prepared for a wet ride. Q was spot on throughout the entire course even when he got a bit nervous from some of the slick areas. He gave me everything I asked for and I believe the course was a good challenge for him before our move up to Prelim at the end of the month. I believe that we would have made time had it not been for losing my stirrups going into the water and having to slow down to put my feet back before a long uphill gallop. Those time penalties moved us down to fourteenth but I was pleased with my ride so the placing did not matter. Fridays show jumping was another LONG day not riding until past five o'clock due to a rain delay. The course was set in the main stadium arena; a completely different atmosphere than I had ever competed in. Q went in and was business as usual doing exactly as I asked without getting distracted by the arena (or the land rovers parked inside) at all. We jumped a double clear round to finish in eleventh place and participate in the victory gallop. It was an incredible feeling to gallop around that arena knowing how far we have come in just a year and seeing the potential that there is to reach. Now, we are gearing up for our first Prelim at Stable View after the Combined Test this weekend!