Sorry for the quietness. I've been totally swamped with papers and tests for a while, and all my writing energies have been tapped out.
But, I still find time to have fun with Royal. Last Sunday, we headed down to the Long Lake Hounds for the Minnesota Hunt Cup. Basically it was kind of like Hunter Pace. They had six 2'6" brush fences set up in a half mile loop with lots of undulations. You could enter in different categories, each with its own optimum time. They had different speeds for Beginner Novice, Novice, and Training and the goal was to get as close to the time of your level as possible. Not faster or slower. The goal was to help people practice pacing themselves and their horses.
So, I thought it sounded like a great idea and we headed down there for the Beginner Novice category. I had to turn around twice because the facility didn't believe in signs or posters or mailboxes. Once we got there, I unloaded Royal, registered, warmed him up and went to the tent. The course was around the bottom of a big hill, and if you stood on the top of the hill, you could see everything. After letting Royal get acclimated, it was time for our practice round. The course started with a long downhill stretch before you turned right to the first jump, which was a bunch of brush encased in a bright yellow box. Royal got very bug-eyed and I knew about five strides out that it wasn't happening. No big deal, we just circled around and popped over it. The rest of the course went smoothly, even though he gave a couple over jumps the stink-eye. Even though the round didn't officially count, they still timed us and we came in at 2:30, with the optimum time being 2:40. Close!
Our real timed round went even better. Royal didn't bat an eye at anything. He wanted to go really fast, but wasn't out of control. We had a time of 2:20 (it felt like we were going at a slightly faster than normal canter) and I was very satisfied with that. After cooling him down, we headed home. It had been a great experience and a good end to our show season.
But a surprise was waiting for me in the mail. I left before my division finished and had no idea what the placings were. So imagine my surprise when this came in the mail...
The fanciest ribbon I have ever won. We placed second in our division! Apparently a brisk canter is the right speed for us at BN. I couldn't believe it, and this thing is especially fancy.
Sorry for the crappy quality (stupid cell phone). That's the button of the ribbon: a little painting of a hunt scene. Sweet! And from a schooling show. I've never seen anything like this before, even for Grand Prix show jumping.
Of course, Royal was very bored when I tried to get his picture with The Fanciest Ribbon Ever. Why should I care?, he asks. And of course it doesn't matter to him, but I still think it's awesome.
If they hold this again next year, I am totally going.