Gamble is Back! Win in Training Sr. Division at Twisted Pine

As part of Gamble’s progression back into full competition, I felt it would be a good idea to do a couple of lower level events — ideally with some new fences to get him back into “brave” mode.  So we went to Twisted Pine this weekend to do a Training Level event.  There wasn’t a lot of competition — there was only one other person in Training Sr. division.  But her name is Kelly List, who is a 3* Eventer, so while there wasn’t much competition, Kelly certainly provided an excellent quality of competition — so much so that I’d already written-off my chances of winning.

But as it turned out, my dressage test went very well and I ended up just a smidge ahead of Kelly.  And, in fact, I ended up with the high Training Level dressage score of the day (I was also higher than the 3 junior riders, who I never take for granted) with a score of 75.48%.  I’ve never had as good a test score.  See the test here:

Dressage Test – Twisted Pine Horse Trials – Training Division – Bruce and Gamble – September 21, 2014

Next was Stadium Jumping.  We had to warm up quite a ways from the Stadium course which was held in their arena.  Holding Stadium in the arena was a good decision because it poured buckets earlier in the morning and the footing could have been an issue.  The downside was that the arena was very tight.  I watched a couple of riders go and made my plan. We were a little sticky over one fence early in the round but Gamble and I rescued each other over that one, and had no issues for the rest of the round.  On to XC!

The XC course had lots of interesting elements, which is exactly what I was looking for. The Training level fences sure seemed low, but what they lacked in height, a couple of them made up for in “scary-ness”.  There were two fences with high rails on the side and and overhang (roof or cable) which looked different.  The water obstacle was high on a hill and was bright blue with a few duck decoys floating in it.  And there were various “animals” — props along the course that a horse might look at.  It was sufficiently tricky that 2 of the 3 junior riders that went before us had unplanned dismounts.  Actually, I almost did as well when Gamble took exception to suddenly being exposed to the water obstacle!  Here is the Contour helmetCam of my ride:

With the stop mid-stream in the XC round to let them get the bodies off the course, they didn’t have accurate times for me or Kelly so they gave us both zero time faults, which was the fair way to handle it.  But when I checked the helmetCam afterwards, I would have been 3 seconds faster than optimal — so I would have been double-clear in any event.

After the event I checked Gamble’s legs and he was fine, as he was the next morning.  We do Highland Green’s event (Training level) in 2 weeks and then onto Woodwind’s Intermediate division.  So glad to be back competing!

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