Rolex – Saturday

Surprisingly I slept really well last night! I remember a year ago not sleeping very well the night before, then wishing I had ore energy. I think last year I kept visualizing my course when I went to bed and my mind never settled down enough to sleep. I think I am improving my awareness of the things I need to do to compete well and have made a point to try to facilitate those things. I hate being tired and I am a very light sleeper. All week I have set aside time to visualize and focused on completely clearing my mind when I go to bed? so far it?s working!
Friday morning I had an early canter on Arthur. He definitely knew what day it was and was veeeery full of himself!!! I always worry when he is too full of himself going out on course — he can be tough to gallop early on (gawking at the crowds) before he settles and the more zingy he feels the tougher he is to ride. I think I have to start putting these worries behind me, because all week he has proven he has matured well over the past year and knows his job?. I also have to remind myself not to take anything for granted as he is still a relatively young horse for this level? and it is a four star!
I walked my course for the final time on my own and felt very good about the day. As I was to go after the lunch break I was able to watch the entire morning session and was very pleased with how the course was riding.
Arthur was fantastic for warm up. He definitely knew it was XC day and he felt great ? he jumped beautifully, listened very well, and he felt very happy and ready. I timed my warmup so I would have ten minutes to walk him and let him totally cool down before heading out on course. We casually walked over to the start box and were off!!!
My horse was brilliant he handled everything so well. Our only major bobble came at the coffin?. AGAIN!!! I swear he remembered the jump! I gave him a much better ride in this year, he jumped the first element well but slow & slowed right down to look at the ditch, he had no intention of stopping, but with the steep slope & sudden slowdown & still riding in a show jump saddle, I ended up around his neck again. I managed to stay in the saddle and we were off again!!! Whew! Everything else went almost picture perfect, we added a little stride at the huge ditch and brush at the end of the course and he whacked the second jump, but other than that I was soooo pleased with our go! I definitely over-prepared him for the fences causing us to have unecessary time penalties. I also want to get myself in a XC Saddle and work on a more forward XC position. He came in a bit hot (it was 85 degrees) but cooled out very quickly and walked very brightly back to the barn.
The ground on the XC course ended up being very hard. This came as a surprise to everyone as the course was quite wet on Wednesday when we walked it for the first time. All the riders and the officials though that we were going to have perfect footing, but the two days of sun, heat and wind actually hardened it up! For that reason there were a lot of thrown shoes and horses with sore feet. Arthur, who is generally always perfect, had some sore feet too! We spent the rest of the day helping to make him feel perfect for Sunday. Spa pedicure for my boy!!!
I have to thank everyone who helped us out on Saturday: Sarah Fitch, Kendra McQuillan, Hannah Ross, Diane Senese, Sean Crocker (my farrier), Dr Susan Johns & Dr Kent Allen (my vets). Thank you Thank you all!!! It?s always such a wonderful feeling after having a great round and a horse that is so healthy and happy after such a huge effort! It definitely takes a team!