If you have been reading this blog regularly, then you know that it has mostly surrounded his Grayness, and all of the boisterous happenings of life with a horse who otherwise considers himself a royal subject. TJ has never really been out of my life, but for the last year and a half he was on lease in a situation where he didn’t travel with me as much, and I rode him 2 or so times a week to keep him tuned up. Over that time I did get to show him some, but less so since I spent more time on the road out of state.
With his new leasee, he is back at my barn, and she has plans to do shows with Matt and Woodhill whenever possible. Double bonus for me! Since TJ is in Colorado, I’m taking the opportunity to ride and show him as much as possible. Traditionally, he is my 3’6 A/O horse and we’ve dabbled in few National Derbies and even done couple of Internationals as well. The fact that this horse is willing to tote me around an international derby with some 4’ high options simply means he is literally worth his weight in gold.
I mean, should we even talk about how I was so nervous that I 3 legged the first jump on course and yet he still campaigned around the course like it was no big deal? Really I love this horse.
Since he has just come off lease, and we are easing back into showing, Matt and I decided to do the A/As for at least the first week. Simple, easy, and confidence building. DC was going to continue is “reign” as the greenest 3’3 A/O horse on the planet, and he did indeed live up to the billing.
My day started with my usual hack on DC first thing in the morning. His pep seemed to be back, and he was very straight and relaxed. Although I wouldn’t say he felt GREAT, he did feel very very good. Besides, he had a special purple puff on top of his head.
If that’s not good luck, I don’t know what is. And people say hunters aren’t any fun. Unfortunately I didn’t get a better pic of the poof, NOR did I get a pic of TJ’s braid charm. I am a failure at picture taking.
DC had a warm up and two hunters for his Saturday line up. We started with the warm up, which is best stated as all over the place. It wasn’t awful, but I’m not sure that a more inconsistent trip has ever been had by the two of us. Up, down, fast, slow, lean in, lean out. If there were moves, we made them. Not exactly the goal of smooth and serene.
The second trip we started with a single coming home, and then had a left lead 5 stride line going away. Coming out of the corner to the line, I saw this big move up to a gap. Trying to follow the mantra of, “if you see the move, stay the same and something else will appear,” I stayed the same. Except then I pulled. And then I legged. And then I PULLED. You know what is not staying the same? Pulling, kicking, then pulling. Oops. We chipped coming in, and had about 15 years to get out of the line. Since the chip was completely my fault and I didn’t feel like running for my life out of a line would be my next best move, I whoaed for the nice add. Matt was not as appreciative of this decision as I was. I’ll just say that. The rest of the course was actually quite beautiful, which makes the add even more disheartening.
Our last trip was the handy, and I have to say, it was quite nice. I even have a video of it, but haven’t loaded to youtube yet. So, sorry. We did all of the inside turns, had a lovely bending line (maybe a little close out) and a great trot jump. Thus we ended on a good note.
TJ was just a rock solid little citizen in his trips. We were in Hunter 2 and the jumps were decidedly small for 3’ and the lines decidedly short. He wasn’t too impressed with either of these things, however he really just turned in some decent trips. We had four trips total, two hunters that were also first classic rounds, and two second classic rounds.
Our first hunter I had one of those OH MY GOD ARE WE GOING TO FIT THE STRIDES IN moments going down the hill. Seriously that 5 was awfully close to a 4. TJ is a big horse with a big stride. We scored a 73. My second hunter was very nice, but nothing fabulous, scoring a 75. The second round of the classic (third trip) I cantered in to that 5 stride and was all “no way am I going to almost leave a stride out this time.” So I pulled and pulled again, and was thinking to myself, “yes this 6 is going to work out great.” Right after which I thought to myself “oh shit this isn’t a 6 this is a 5, OH GOD TJ, JUMP!!!!!!” Remember when I said TJ is worth is weight in gold? He really is. My last course was actually quite nice, and we scored a 78. The 75 combined with the 78 was good enough for third in the Marshal and Sterling Classic! I was thrilled walking away with a good ribbon against all of the adults (about 30 entries total).
Love me some TJ. Really I do.