I know everyone is waiting to hear what happened and how this went.... I was probably just as eager to see how it was going to play out, how Kat was going to handle it and if we would be clear, fast and where we would be when the dust settled. Dave, the husband of one of the other competitors told me while walking the course, that it might be tough to see us whip thru the course because of the vapor trails behind us. He had watched us in Coolidge and agreed we were lightening fast and he heard me trying to slow him down the whole time. He would be photographing the events and promised to take some of us. I haven't seen them yet, but I will share them when I get them.
Looking at the course online and printed out on paper? It was tough to get any real straight shots, get some straight lines and plan anything sensible. Walking the course- it just flowed. It was a very nice course, a great design and well laid out. You could see the next cone from this one and there was plenty of room to clear this one and line it up. The footing was equally as good. There was grass on the field for the most part, but there was also some dirt and in some places it was a little loose on top. It was soft enough to provide cushion yet firm enough to provide grip and traction. Walking it, the course flowed so well and was so easy to navigate I hoped for the best.
Kat felt good after the dressage test and I had a positive feeling about things as well, since we had left bend today, a decent walk, a decent lengthened trot and for the most part- we had that out of the way. We headed over to watch the horse ahead of us finish their course. As I checked in, Kat was excited and attentive yet calm, loose and about as relaxed as he could be. The previous horse finished their course, checked back for their time and before you know it, you're up. The judge blew the whistle, we walked over, halted, saluted the judge and we were ready to go. I kissed to Kat and he literally launched into high gear.
He didn't ever feel like he was running anywhere near as fast as he did in Coolidge and I'm really not sure why. He was running almost the whole time and he was amped for it, but it just didn't feel the same. It wasn't OMG! fast and I wasn't asking myself where all of this power was coming from at all. In fact I was talking to him the whole way and telling him to hit the afterburners, kick it into high gear and move it little man. He moved it all right. We went thru the start/finish line, and I was counting down the cones as we went thru them. We managed to go around 12 to the left this time to get to #3 and as I lined him up I felt the wheels on the cart break loose and slide as I drifted thru the turn. I love that feeling.
As we headed into and thru 8, I made the mistake of overconfidence by telling Kat, "I'm not going to slow you down today...." at which point my brain went blank and I had no clue where #9 was. Crap! We made a circle around to the left so I could find the next cone and where we needed to be, besides line up for it, we came back around and went thru 9, 10, 11, 12 and on.... Several of the turns, Kat was firing hard, the cart was sliding sideways, dirt was flying and I was leaning out over the inside wheel to keep them both on the ground. At one point I was leaning so far forward, I was probably close enough to pat his butt.
We ripped thru the semi serpentine of #14 A, B, C and D. On to 15, 16 and 17 were at the far end, circled back to the left for 18, a left circle back around to 19 that was next to it, continue the left circle back around to line up for 20 and the finish line ahead. Kat was sailing along as we crossed the finish line and started our lap around to slow him down. As we went past Dave I leaned forward, grabbed the rein rail of the cart and made a face, acting as if I was scared. I could hear Dave laughing as he was shooting it with his camera.
As it turned out, we were double clear. I thought we had taken one or two down, but since I've learned to just go thru each one and never look back- sometimes I don't know if there were any we knocked down or not. We had a time of 2:17 and change and the time allowed was 3:21 so we were good on that too. I'm finding we are having No problems anymore, coming in under the time allowed and Kat is rarely breathing hard afterwards and often he's ready to go again. He's really found his niche, now we just have to work on and fix some other things. Doing that may also improve his cones more, but I think the biggest part of that is me finding and remembering where the next cone is before we get thru this one.
When I finally got to see the times for the day, once again we had the fastest time for the day, besides being clean. The next entry was 12 seconds behind us with a 2:29 and one ball down, then 2:35 one ball, 2:36 one ball, and so on. There were at least one ball down for the next 5 or so entries. The next clear round wasnt until a 2:45. Um, yeah. We were smokin' in the cones again. We had the hazards tomorrow and I needed to not only walk them, but go find them. So Kat and I headed back to the barns to unhitch, untack and relax a little.