Despite my friend Sharan advising me all along about making Kat walk when he gets amped, make him walk when he wants to speed up, make him work when he is whinnying and being obnoxious about it, I entered the Darby at Expert Level. For the Darbys there is two levels of competition, Training and Expert. Training you canot go faster than a trot, expert you are allowed to canter and gallop as you may. Bear in mind safety is at the top of the list (ALWAYS!) but if your horse can handle the speed, go for it. Boy did we ever!
I am trying to get the course map downloaded and posted here. For the most part it was stretched out over a bit of ground covering 3 hazards with two sets of cones in between. You entered in the center and worked your way from left to right, coming back to the middle where you would exit through the start finish at the center again. It was a hazard with four gates (1-4) to the far left, a set of four cones (5-8), the start finish in the middle another hazard with 4 gates (9-12) to the right, another set of four cones (13-16) then you went out a gate into another section of grass area for the last hazard and gates 17-20. After clearing gate 20, you head back through the gate and along the backside of the course to the middle and the start finish line.
Before we were on course, ponyman had already a group of followers. I heard a few of them saying things like- "I am waiting to watch Him go", "I wanna see Him do this", "He Looks like he wants this" and a few other things. He was content to stand around waiting, would walk back and forth outside the fence in the holding area, but he was warmed up, quiet, locked. loaded. and definitely ready for action. As it was we were the next to last pony to be on course so there was a bit of waiting around for us and his fans.
We milled around to keep his muscles loosened up, but would stop and stand, waiting our turn. Kat was quiet, settled and alert, watching the minis and ponies before us each taking their turn. When we were finally called, we waited for the previous pony to clear the gate and headed in...