The journey started at 5am the Wednesday of the event. At the big three-day events you have "in-barn" inspections where the vets take a look at your horse to get a baseline report on their respiration, heart rate, etc. This is also the time where you can explain any bumps that the vets might find on your horse's legs. Thankfully, Trip has very little to poke at, so that was a stress-free experience for us. We also made it through the jog with flying colors ... also stress-free. Two boxes checked off for the day, so Trip got to settle into his stall for the rest of the afternoon.
The next day was probably what I was most worried about ... dressage! I was able to get in a final dressage lesson with Beth Barritt the week prior and was confident that Trip was ready for the 2-star test, which includes shoulder-ins, extended trots, counter canter, and much more. Beth and I have been working diligently on his flatwork, and I'm confident that, brick by brick, Trip will one day be competitive in the first phase, but I knew that it might not be at Jersey. The atmosphere at a three-day can be a bit overwhelming with banners flapping everywhere and cameras going off, so it was just awesome to have Trip take it all in stride, and he was placed 14th after dressage. My former dressage coach, Allison Kavey of New York, was kind enough to come warm me up for the test!
Trip then got to have a day off on Friday, so I hacked him twice and just let him relax in preparation for his favorite day ... cross-country! Again, I can't begin to express just how proud of this horse I am. Except for the coffin (more on that in a minute), he absolutely rocked around his first CCI2*. You can see in the photos that he leaves plenty of room between him and the jumps. Maybe Trip does want to be an Advanced horse!?
So ... the only bummer of the day was the coffin. Trip is notoriously spooky about ditches, and he backed off a bit too much over the 'A' element and actually unseated me. I was determined not to fall off though! I clung to his neck, but in order for me to stay on, Trip came to a stop at the 'B' element (the ditch). What a bummer! But I'm partially thankful because, if he had gone on to jump the ditch, I would have certainly popped off. So good boy Trip for keeping me on!
At the end of cross-country, Trip recovered beautifully. There was lots of icing and walking, but he looked great when we tucked him in for the night. The next morning, he again looked great and passed the jog without a second glance.
Now there was just one stadium round between us and Trip's first CCI2* finish. Trip put on his big boy pants and tried his hardest to leave the jumps up. He did tick two off the cups, but I'm not too worried about it.
So now Trip is on a mini-vacation while we plan the rest of the year. We know that our homework will concentrate on dressage. And Trip will probably jump every ditch in Area II between now and Fair Hill International CCI2* this October!
Special thanks to my incredible boyfriend Andrei for grooming all weekend. He was especially useful on Saturday afternoon when I was suffering from a debilitating migraine. Trip and Andrei got along great, and I can only imagine what their conversations were about!