Wednesday, May 21, 2014

And the rain as Saumur gets worse!

I hate to report that the skies opened up today...and really never closed!

Rain pours off the roof at the stables...

We did our best to hunker down for the day an avoid the rain, we failed. I rode with DOC first thing with in the morning, Tali and I were completely soaked. He was a little less settled than yesterday so we decided to ride again this afternoon following the first horse inspection.

Next up for the day was the briefing. Difficult to say exactly what was said, but I think we got the general gist of things. My french certainly hasn't improved enough to determine what was said aside from the English translation given by the show manager extraordinaire Joelle Stafford.

During the briefing was the all important draw. Each nation, 20+ of them, was asked to come down an pick a bottle of sparkling wine with a number on the bottom. This indicated the order in which we would jog. We ended up with number 14, placing us just about an hour into the inspection.

Our view of the briefing and draw
 Following the briefing Michelle and I headed out on the cross country course. I've complied the course below in a collage with the size of the picture roughly indicating the importance/difficulty of each jump or combination. A quick run through with regards to striding etc.

Fence 5: There is basically has no good approach to the first element due to trees and an unjumpable fence. Once at it, the combination is a 2 stride line. The challenge is really getting the first element done, once over the A portion B shouldn't be too much trouble.

Fence 8: You just don't want to miss, it's not terribly tall but the ditch is massive.

Fence 9: This combination should ideally ride in a 3 stride to 3 stride line. Left side of the first, again your approach is restricted, bending then right to the second skinny and more or less straight to the last.

Fence 11: This is off quite a tight turn and again on 3 strides (although my memory might not serve me well, if not 3 then 4 strides, but a decent distance regardless).

Fence 12: Triple brush in the water....this should ride well as long as they see it early enough and you get there with enough energy. It's certainly not one you can just gallop on down to.

Fence 14: I don't remember the striding, but probably 4. The hill is steeper than it looks, it's a blind approach. Luckily for Tali he saw this identical combination 2 weeks ago at Jersey.

Fence 16: 4 strides on a bending line.

Fence 18: The direct line, which is my intention is the corner of the boat bending 4 strides to the corner of the second boat in the water. The A element is quite vertical, so make sure it gets done well! The option is the white to the second boat backwards.

Fence 21: This is a slightly long 3 stride, but should ride normal after a long gallop around the track.

Fences 23 and 24: The hill after 23 is significant again the photos don't do it justice. It's a bending line to 24 AB which is a bounce then 3 strides to the C element. I expect this should ride well, but will require you're still on your A game.

Fences 25-27: With all of the rain this was nearly a water to water, with a bounce in the middle. I'm glad I practiced some bounces last week!

Fence 29: Possibly the most important fence of all!

I'm very happy with the course. I think it suits Tali well, again not to minimize it's difficulty. If you're off your line at any of these combinations or fail to get their eye on the next element soon enough you'll absolutely have trouble! 

Click on the image below to enlarge, or right click to save and view on your desktop.

The day continued with the horse inspection. The rain continued to fall with some intermittent lightning. After our first time up and back on the strip I was asked to represent, but alas all was clear and we've officially begun!

My dressage test will be at roughly 2:30 on Friday, which is just about ideal for us. I can't wait! Tomorrow we plan to start with a lesson at 8:30. We're going to make a quick trip over to the Cadre Noir de Saumur at 10:30 then back to the show grounds to walk the cross country again!

More details tomorrow.


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