I have a friend who loves to tell a story about how she had to move up because I kept winning all the Novice horse trials around the area about 10 years ago in Rugby’s beginning. Well, I am afraid she is going to add on to her story because now, Hamish is the new winner, winner, chicken dinner. He notched his second Novice win at Olde Hope’s delightful Oktoberfest horse trials today in a pretty good division, judged by excellent Jeanne Davis. The dressage was in the high 20’s, I can’t remember right now. He got mostly 7’s and 8’s and I think I did improve the forward and the free walk from Fair Hill. I need to be sure he’s not running in the trot, and he could have done better canter transitions. He slipped on the first turn and true to his draft-cross nature, took it easy the rest of the test. The footing was hard but not slick. I brought my jacket and white shirt and stock tie, but failed to summon the courage to wear it and just threw on my old blue polo, and said the hell with it. I practically was the only one without a jacket. Well, this is supposed to be fun. I’ll wear it when I have to!

Stadium was not as hard as Fair Hill, with only one spread fence, but Hamish touched three fences, two pretty hard — if they were on flatter competition cups, we’d have rails. The sun finally broke out about 11 a.m., and it instantly heated up. He and I both were tired by cross-country. He stood quietly in warmup, so before I started I galloped a circle, which worked to wake him up. The course was long and had nice gallopy spots and also went into the woods and round the back pond for interest. The biggest fence on the course was practically straight into one of the smaller divisions’s stadium fencelines, which walked as a pretty forward fence. I knew even though the two fences preceeding it were smaller, I had to gallop at this despite all the very distracting flags, string fence, other jumps, people on the road, etc. Thank goodness I was on Hamish! He focused like a champ. We had a long one somewhere – not sure which one, I remember him tapping his toes on it going over, I think the big ramp into the woods, which was not my idea. I trotted the embankment by the pond. I know it’s wet there and didn’t want him to slip up there, as the fence off the embankment was awkward and in a dip with a lot of run-out space to the left. His hunting experience did him very well and he finished up nicely for a double clear.

While I did not put pedal to medal, I do think he could make the time at Novice without too much trouble, provided I give him some conditioning work. Hopefully this will not make him too snotty. Speaking of snotty, while Hamish was star quality under saddle today, his manners at the trailer are going to be worked on. He got tangled in his tie rope, broke yet another trailer tie trying to stick  his head out the window, pawed when the hay bag wasn’t presented quickly enough for his Highness’ eating pleasure, and stuck his head in MY lunch bucket and took a bite of my potato chip bag and water bottle, making a nice mess. I ended up untying him after he pulled yet again on that tie, and just held him while he grazed, so I could eat and drink something before I fainted. His problem is appetite. He wants to reach grass or eat hay and doesn’t pay attention to his halter and tie while he tries to get food, and then looks about, and the tie is over his ear or something. I will see about getting some sturdy outside ties on the trailer and as far as being IN the trailer and ripping the screen, that’s going to change, too. He gets the door shut, tough, sorry about your luck. My only complaint, and if I had someone to help me I am sure it would not be a problem. Everyone had such fun today, they all picnic and enjoy the day at Miss Jane’s…..I wish I had more people around to have fun! It would have been great. I miss our old Adult Ammy crowd a bit, I guess. Well, that’s the day. It has been a busy week. It will be even busier coming up in the next three weeks. I have cross-country schoolings, cub hunting, dressage schooling shows and I’d like to fit in some jump lessons while some three-star riders are up for the International in two weeks! I’d better work on getting rid of this headache in time to get up AGAIN at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow…..