Our first attempt at Novice!
I feel we were a little overfaced and a little under prepared.
Dressage went really well. We had great luck in the timing of our ride- the judge took a lunch break and let the next 2 horses come up and school in the main arena, so we trotted up and down and up and down the outside of the plastic dressage arena and got used to the sand hitting it and the scary pylons. He put in a very nice test and we were in first place with a 30.8.
All photos by Gerald Morse.
Some of the xc jumps looked HUGE! This one had big rocks in front of it, so you had to choose to jump the rocks and the log or try to maneuver exactly between the rocks to get in a little bit closer. I chose to go between the rocks and it worked out well.
There was a long, steep downhill to the water pond. In Novice you had to jump over a small log into it, and I was not sure that was going to be a positive experience. I chose to bypass our jump, run through the water (which he balked at heavily but did hesitantly go in), out the other side, run back through, and then try the jump. It worked brilliantly in that he had no problem jumping the log, but we picked up huge amounts of time faults. Enough to take us from first to last. I'm still completely happy with my plan, though. I'd much, much rather have time faults than refusals and end up with a happy, confident horse.
The other jump we had trouble on was a vertical log jump, then 2 strides to another one. He's never seen such a short combo on XC and tried to dive out of the second one. A strong left rein and he went over it, but hit it so hard with his hoof it left permanent marks. Zoiks.