Friday, September 9, 2011
I know I promised to post this a while back and I am finally getting around to it. This was the course for the Darby in Paulden last month. Doesn't quite seem like it was that long ago, but I guess it was. Time flies when you are having fun, huh?
Click on it to enlarge for better understanding of what it entailed. Time was from when you crossed the start / finish line in the center. You could only go through the cones once in the direction allowed. Going through a cone again or in the wrong direction- Elimination. Knocking a ball down off the cone- 10 second penalty. Going through the gates in an obstacle out of order (A,C) but then correcting (A,C,B,C) - 10 second penalty. Skiping or missing a gate (A,C and continuing on)- Elimination. Training level- trotting only. Pretty simple and straightforward rules. We were free to walk the course as many times as we wanted to choose our path and decide what route we would take.
Not shown on the diagram to the left was a full sized dressage arena. I was warming up Kat out there while the other pony in our class / group / division was competing. He picked up a few strides of canter since he was a bit wound up about being somewhere new and another horse being around. Remember, this was his first real time out and working in harness...
When Meg and her pony Jose headed into the water, I headed over to pick up hubby Johnie Rotten, because soon it would be our turn to go. They turned in a time that even with their one penalty and without ours, still put them clearly ahead of us. Our big sweeping turns and taking time at the water hazard trying to get Kat into the water- were what killed it for us. Otherwise it may have been pretty close. Or not? Who knows! lol
Anyways, as we headed over I heard that they had one penalty. Cone 17 was it for them. We went through the start / finish markers and headed off to obstacle 1. We made a big wide turn and headed through gate A, went straight past the next part of the obstacle and made another big wide left turn lining up and heading through gate B. We went past the next part of the obstacle and out on the right, another big wide left turn coming back through C and straight ahead and out of the obstacle.
We made a right hand turn and headed back to cone #2. Lined up and headed through. That was baout where the first photo was taken. I then swung Kat out to the left a bit, allowing him plenty of room for the right turn around the end of cone 5 so I could line him up for cone #3. Coming out of cone #3, I swung him out to the right a bit too soon, to allow for another big wide left turn to #4. We knocked down the ball on #3. I turned my head and watched it fall. Dammit! Oh well, nothing I could do about it now, but just go on. Live, drive and learn!
A big wide turn and we went through #4, veered left, another big wide turn and we went through #5. A wide right turn and we headed out to obstacle #6. I went a little past obstacle 6 and made another wide right, lining up for gate A with plenty of room. We went around the left side of gate B, swung out and around with plenty of room to line up for B. We veered left a bit and came out of the obstacle with plenty of room for another wide left and we went through gate C. Another left, out of obstacle 6 and off to find cone #7...
I aimed in the direction of cone #7 and loosened up on Kat. I let him flatten out and relax at the trot. He was covering some ground and was happy to do it. Approaching #7 I gathered him up, shortened my reins and brought him back to a slower trot. The one ball down was still on my mind and I didn't want any more falling. Through #7 and a big right turn around and lined up for #8. We ducked through between #7 and #9, made another right turn, lining up for #9. Through there and ducked between #7 and #8, wide left turn lined up for #10. Once through #10 we made a hard right turn coming back around to go into the side of Fort Atonna for obstacle #11.
We were one of the few who went through the middle entrance on the side of the obstacle that day. We came in, veered left and headed for gate A, made another big turn to the right. Swung around, found our way through the posts and boards to gate B,, through gat A again which is now considered 'dead', a left turn out of the 'fort' a right turn around the side to gate C, another right turn and out of the obstacle looking for the serpentine of cones #12-15...
Again I loosened the reins and let Kat relax and trot. Off we went covering some ground. More big, wide easy turns as we wove through the cones. I was again, careful to line him up, let him go through, wait until the cart wheels cleared he cones before swinging out for another wide turn. I wasn't having any more penalties...
We wove our way through the cones #16, #17, #18, and #19, being careful not to get to close, leave plenty of room for turns, don't go back through any of the other cones, line up for the cone ahead... and finally make another hard right heading for the water hazard... Cone #18 is where pic #2 came in.
Then as we came through gate A on obstacle 20 is pic #3. I made sure to take it a bit wide again, allowing for plenty of room to make a right turn around the small mound with the mermaid statue, which would line us up for gate B if we headed straight thru the water. Which we obviously did not! Kat got to the edge and balked. Unlike jumping- refusals don't count. He squirmed left, he squirmed right, back to the left again and I gave up. We went tot he right, around the pond, slipped through gate B, a hard right, around the posts tot he left, through gate C and back past gate A before making another hard right and heading off to find the finish line.
Once we were aimed in that direction I loosened the reins and let Kat go again. He relaxed into his lengthy trot and we breezed easily through the marker. Our time was 5:42, with a penalty- 5:52. Meg and Jose had 4:39. with penalty 4:49. The fastest time on the course for the day? A blistering 2:78 with a clean round. Half the time it took us. That was a mini in the expert class where galloping is allowed- which they did! It also happens to be the woman I bought my cart from. How cool is that?
The funny part I forgot to mention before, happened the night before. We were the only people there with a horse, so we took Kat out to drive him a bit and help him settle in. I walked him out and down the hill behind the barn and we headed out to the dressage arena.
Kat was a bit strung and was really picking his feet up and letting them fly. He was light in the bridle and really turning it ON! Hubby JR said if everyone from the blogs had liked him so much from the one picture before, if they could have seen him then, they would be beside themselves and freaking out. Thanks to his dead cell phone battery- we had no camera to catch it. After he settled down and we finished our workout, Hubby got on the cart for the walk back to the barn. The course was between us and the barn so we walked down the road through the start / finish line.
Markers for the darby were the same as for jumping. Red on the right, white on the left. As we approached the start / finish, Kat was giving the red marker a long hard look. So much so he was drifting to the left. He drifted enough that he was headed right at the white marker. I stopped him before he ran right into it and as I pulled his head around to the left so we could go around the marker, he looked at it, spooked a little and backed up a few steps. Kat shook his head as if to say "Oh Crap! Where'd that come from and how did it get in front of me?" Next time he knew to listen to me and we went right through it with no problem. Gotta watch out for those spooky white signs ya know... They pop up out of nowhere!