After a break for lunch we got ready for the obstacle portion of the ADT. At the CDE's there is a whole day for this and there are longer parts to it including a walk session and there are of course, more obstacles involved. No matter which event you are doing, the obstacle portions always seem to go too damn fast. It is all over and done in the blink of an eye and you want to do it all again, just because.
Having a horse that enjoys it as much as you do- isn't always a good thing. They can get a bit jacked up and not listen or be as responsive as you need them to be. It is a learned experience to go from just getting through the course, to going through correctly, with precision and accuracy while putting up a blazing fast time in the process. Thing is, the precision and accuracy lends itself to the faster times. You speed through without the thought of "I need to go fast" putting it's ugly head in the way and confusing your thoughts. You just DO IT!
While we were all supposed to take our turn at the obstacles in the 'order of go' as listed, it turned into more of- get in line and take a number. The person timing the obstacles had a list with your name, number and division so as you apprached, you called out to them, waited as they found you on the sheet and gave you an "OK" nod or signal to start. From there it was up to you to go through your gates in each hazard, in order and out through the out gate. In green driver, your times in the hazards don't really count unless it comes to the placings. Since I was the only one in TPGD, I could go as fast or slow as need be, even walking if that's what we had to do.
Obstacles found here.
The first obstacle had quite the line of competitors waiting at it, each eager for their turn to go.We got in line and waited and would be going after several of the mini folks went through. One of the more advanced level ponies was waiting in line when my friend Cheryl & her mini PJ came out of the obstacle right towards them. More advanced or not, this mini galloping right at them, made the pony have serious doubts about being where she was and she tried hard to spin and leave the area ASAP. Her driver handled it well and they stuck around with the rest of us.
When the pony went throught the obstacle- man was the dust FLYING! You could hardly see anything of their course because of it. They kept turning and churning up the dirt and the dust swirled into the air. Then before you knew it, out of the dust cloud they came. I had thought best of it to start walking Kat and circle him around so that when they came out of the 'out gate' he would be headed and looking the other direction and avoid him gitting the idea of bolting out of their way being a good one . It worked too I might add.
When it was our turn to finally go, the dirt was pretty loose and a few times we slid the cart sideways around our corners. I have always thought this was fun. Sometimes other people don't find the thrill in it that I do. My daughter Robin was my 'gator in the obstacles and she still hasn't said one way or the other if she thought it was fun or scary. Our time on the first obstacle was 44 seconds, the two training level ponies had times o 42 & 56 seconds.
The second obstacle consisted of poles and winding your way through them. ne of the first people to go through it had effectively hit one of the poles and snapped it off not too far above ground level. This would be Gary Lowell and his horse Spritzer, who at the Darby in August, found out after completing the course with an increasingly 'springy' seat had discovered one of the welds on the cart had snapped. Spritzer handled it well and just stepped over the downed pole like it was a nuisance to be there. We managed to weave our way through the poles, literally at one point between gates B & C and out the out gate in one minute. The other two training level pony drivers did it in 52 & 69 seconds.
These first two obstacles were on the north side of the property and the other two were on the south side. Kat was feeling pretty proud of himself and we galloped most of the way in between, getting to obstacle #3, Fort Atonna. I had plotted one course through here and walking it with my friend Sharan, she pointed out another option. Through A, back through the "In gate" around to B, sharp right and out through another opening which gave you a straight shot coming back in and right through C headed for the "Out" gate. We slid the cart sideways around the turn back through the In gate and whipped through the obstacle in 36 seconds. The only other horse to put down a faster time was Mary Jane & Mack in 35 seconds. From there it was 43 seconds, two at 45 seconds and longer. Which only left the water obstacle on our list of things to do.
Since this ADT was at Atonna's and we have been there 4 times now, the last time actually getting Kat INTO the water WITH the cart, I had high hopes that he would go in with little to no fuss. It was the last obstacle of the day and I figured we would take our time and go in the water one way or another. While watching the people in line before me go, I seen they were using another route than I had even thought of. They were coming in to the left side of B and making a left handed U turn to come back through it, essentially going around the pole of it. I figured I would give it a look when we got closer to it on course and if there was a chance we could do it and get away with it- why not?
So we went up and over the hill through A, whipped around the pole on B and headed off to the end of the water to give it a shot at going INTO it. Which is right about where Kat stopped and then spun out to the left in his protesting answer of "Not just No, but OH HELL F'ING NO!" To which I responeded out loud, "I don't think so little man" as he was stopped. We circled back around to face the water again for another try. We were being timed, but it doesn't really count so I was determined that he was going in the water one way or another, no matter how long it took to get him there.
The second time we faced the water, Kat decided there was no point in resisting or refusing. If he did he was sure to be corrected andwe would end up right back in the same spot pointed at the water. He took a deep breath, lowered his head and walked right in. Everyone watching from the sidelines cheered as I praised him and we went in the water at a walk. Our time of 77 seconds was pretty much in the middle for the day as some people pulled it off in 40 seconds, 44, a few in and around the 60's while others took a minute or more and some didn't go through the water at all and would. not. budge.
After it was all over and the last horse had gone through the water, a few of us joined forces at the waters edge and played a bit of follow the leader going through it again and again. This time around, no pressure to perform, no frills and other horses going in in front of him, Kat went in without a problem. We went in the shallow end and out the deep end, even turned around and went into the water IN the deep end a couple of times and no fuss, no muss, pony man was gettin his feet wet.
I am proud of Kat and how he did even after his less than stellar start in the dressage ring. I mean, we can't all be perfect, all the time, every time and since we are both still fairly new to all of this, what more can I expect? He tries, he has fun, I let him express this when I can in hopes he will be a bit more in control later when I need him to be- it's all give and take. Enjoy it while you can.