This part of the CDE is not something I have shared with very many people yet. It was beyond awesome and with all things considered leading up to the CDE and the whole weekend in general- I was beyond thrilled for things to end on such a high note.
I have a lot into this- time, effort, (not so much on the blood, but...) sweat and tears, talking to people and asking questions on how to improve- several DUH! & A-HA! moments along the way, money, travel, etc. and things are not only looking up, but it seems they are about to get a whole lot better... and more challenging, possibly difficult and more than likely tougher at times too.
As the names were called and we each drove forward to accept our ribbons, the gentleman handing them out asked if Kat was a Welsh or at least a cross. When I answered that he is, he told me he thought so, "because typical of the Welsh attitude- Kat had something to say about everything". He also told me he thought he was a very nice pony and he enjoyed watching our performance in the cones.
I talked to Gary later on back at the barn and was quite thrilled with what I heard. He told me- "Keep working with him and move up to Prelim. He is ready for it and so are you. Besides, the times in the hazards would count, you would be doing the water hazard- you are obviously ready for that- Move him up." I am pretty sure I had a huge, stupid looking grin on my face about then. Wow. Okay then...
Later as I helped my friend put her horse to the cart for her cones performance, she too told me to move him up. I told her that Gary had just said the same thing and she said "He's right. You guys are ready for it. He is a lovely pony and has such beautiful movement and he will just get even better." Now I had two well respected opinions and 'votes' to move him up to Prelim.
After returning to the barn to gather things up, then walking over to the tent area- which was still covered in mud and slippery, sloppy and buzzing with people... I ran into another club member Jim. He is our course designer and judge for the cones portion of the ADT's and he also helps out with the hazards at the events. He is/was an approved ADS judge and a very knowledgeable horseman as well as driver. "My friends and I were seated in the tent and talking about how much we like your pony and how nice he looks in harness."
That not only blew me away, but it had my mind racing wildly for a minute or two before I could find the words to thank him and let him know how much it meant to me to hear him say that. I'm not sure who his friends were, but knowing Jim, they too were likely well respected and knowledgeable drivers.
I had such a great time at the event, playing in the mud with both the truck and the pony/cart, then to have moved up from 4th to 3rd, posting a quick time in cones going double clear and getting not just one, but three compliments on everything... Yes at one point I was literally jumping up and down playing in the mud like a little kid. It has been an adventure and the adventure is far from being over.
We will be moving up to Prelim, but for the most part- Kat is getting the summer off. I will still be working him and driving him, posting pics of him when I can, so don't worry about that. The two upcoming ADT's are about 2 1/2 hours away (one south- the other north) so we will be skipping them both. The last two ADT's to finish out the year- Paulden in the fall and Dale Creek in November- we will stay at training level while working on getting things right for the switch next year.
If we make the Grass Ridge CDE in October, I will look long and hard at how he is doing before sending our entries in. Worst case? We tank miserably in dressage and knock it out in the marathon and cones, maybe moving up a placing or two... or 'E' out altogether with a big donation to the club and ADS. Who knows where it will go, but at least we will give it a shot and do our best.