RED goes on the Right. This is a lesson I apparently still need to learn. It is also the same one that six other people in our driving club need to learn as well. Among us there was a prelim horse, a prelim VSE and an intermediate VSE. All of us looked at the same maps, and all of us walked the course. Yet seven of us were lured into the oh so inviting gate A in Hazard #1, right as you come through the in gate... and we fell for it, going through the wrong direction. We did it and were eliminated pretty much before we really got started on the last portion of the ADT.
My daughter Robin rode with me for this one as my 'gator. From the accounts of others- she is a good one so far. We went through gate A, made a quick in and out of gate B to scoot through C, which is when she asked me- "Isn't red supposed to be on the right?" - Long pause- Wait, WHAT??? I looked at C as we trotted away from it and back to the start/finish line. I know I walked it and practiced it several times the right direction... I looked at B, yep, we did that one right too, so I headed out over the finish line and stopped Kat to ask the timer/judge... "Did we just bomb out on that one?"
"You went through gate A the wrong direction." I turned and looked at it. I stared at it for a second or two, thinking of how we went through it, where the red and white letters were and then it hit me. We went through A the wrong way. Damn! But I guess if you are going to make mistakes, make them early and get them done. From there the rest should be easy and it usually is. You hav taken the pressure off of yourself to win, be perfect or whatever you stress over, now you can go on and focus, getting the rest of it right.
Which is what we did. Kat was cruising as we headed to the far side of the grounds for Hazard #2. We whipped around through the trees, through the fence panels set up for B & C and shot back out through the finish, heading over to Hazard #3. Jim the cones course designer/ judge was on duty for #3 and we blasted through past him. We whipped around through the barrels and back across the finish line on our way to Hazard #4.
We zipped around in Hazard #4 and back out through the finish line. It was a total blast and Kat was light in the bridle, easy to manuver and we had a great time on the course, even though the weather was brisk and everyone was bundled up. Jackets and all, just means there is plenty of extra or added padding if you should come off the cart and eat dirt so it's all good.
When we finished up on the Obstacles, Kat was happy to walk and go back to the trailer for a rest. He was finally a little bit pooped out. Robin wanted to go sit in the truck where it was warm. I had seen a different kind of bit on another horse and wanted to go talk to the drivers about them. Hopefully this will be the magic bit that allows Kat the freedom and softness of a snaffle and the lightness and control of the butterfly. Or I have another piece of hardware to add to the growing collection.
As it was, in the Obastacles, of the four ponies in our class. Times in the Hazards put us dang quick in #1, but then we didn't go the same route as everyone else. Third in #2, second in #3 and 3rd in #4 so not too bad overall.