Section E is to be no less than 6,000m, no more than 9,000m. This includes the obstacles. When we were heading out we had our choice to go or wait another minute and a half. We chose to go and the countdown began. In what seemed like nothing we were already heading to obstacle 1. Through the In/Out gate, find gate A, then B, followed by C and back through the In/Out gate. We were headed in to Obstacle 3 since training level skipped Obstacle 2. Again, through gates A, B & C, out the In/Out gate, thank the volunteer for timing and stop grinning so you didn't get bugs in your teeth. Yes, this could be a problem...
Obstacle 4 was the water hazard. Since the new ADS rules require an alternate dry route for training level and this one is not set up for that, again training level skipped it and turned right where everyone else went left and went to find their way into the water. From there you wound around in the south 40 and found your way back to the last obstacles. 5, 6, & 7. Obstacle 5 was the Single Tree. It is literally a tree in the center of posts and boards that make up a wagon wheel of sorts.
Going into this one we were rockin' it and really blasting along. Which ended up costing us dearly. I had planned to go in at one spot and we overshot it. Kat was just going too fast and there was no way to hit our mark and go into the obstacle without literally hitting something- in this case a large pole. So I adjusted and we went in the next opening we found (which happened to be gate C and cost us 20 penalty points. Damn!) We reconfigured the alphabet to our taste, blasted through C, then A, B, C and out the In/Out gate without realizing what I had done. We headed over to Obstacle 6 & 7, zipped around an through them and headed off to the finish line and end of Section E.
Kat was feeling good and really trotting along nicely. I let him go and as we approached the end of the line I figured Why not finish strong? So we did! Making another costly mistake... Right after the end of Section E, the TD Hardy Zantke met us with a big smile. He shook my hand, congratulated me for finishing and asked if I had fun? Did the HUGE grin on my face give it away?
Me- "Oh yeah! It was a blast!"
TD- "Did you have a great time, that no matter what anyone says, they can never take Anything from this day away from you?"
Me- "You had better believe it!"
TD- "Did you have any breaks of pace longer than 5 seconds, miss any gates or markers that you would like to admit to now?"
Me- "Nope, I counted them all out loud as we went through them and my pony knows he is not allowed to canter with the cart yet."
TD- "All right then, let's look at how you did..."
For some reason whenever a judge, in this case Hardy, points out somewhere that I messed up, it takes a minute or two for things to sink in and I realize the error of my ways. Even staring at the cones in the My route/your route class last November, hearing I went through them the wrong way, looking at the cones, I just didn't see that right off. I knew I overshot the one opening on obstacle 5, but I didn't think I had gone through C to get to A. Looking at the map of the obstacle, then later the obstacle itself, Yes, yes I did rearrange the alphabet that day....
Then we looked at the time on the course. Section A was fine, no penalties, Section D was fine, no penalties, Section E... pause while Hardy was figuring it out... We finished strong all right. A bit too strong in fact. We came in 34 seconds under the minimum time allowed. Aw Crap! More penalty points. You are allowed and also encouraged to WALK the last 500 meters of Section E. But when you are having so much fun, blasting along and your pony feels great- you get caught up in the moment and everything sensible can go right out the window on you. It sure did for me! (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
Looking back at the score cards as posted, had we slowed down and NOT overshot the one entrance into Obstacle 5, Not gathering the penalty points there, slowed down and WALKED the last 500 meters of Section E, we may have come in within the time allowed and NOT gathered those penalty points either. Had we slowed down and done things RIGHT like we should have and were supposed to- We would have been in 2nd place going into Day 3 and the cones.
In light of all of this, I was and still am, thrilled with how Kat had done. Hubby and the girls were there to see and cheer on Mommy and their Kat Man! They thought it was really cool. One of the other competitors, his father is a photographer and caught the action in the obstacles on digital and posted them online. Cal Photography We are photos #39, 40, 41, 43 & 44 in obstacle 6. If there is a picture of a team or single horse/pony that you like, email me or ask in the comments and I will probably know who it is/was and can tell you about them, their horse, etc.
There were people in from Northern California, New Mexico and Texas for the event. The four-in-hand of ponies is Frank Luetz, who competer at the CAI Live Oak International CDE in Ocala, FL this weekend. Everyone had a great time and I know I am sure looking forward to the next one. I have already been working on planning my outfit for it. It is in October...