Saturday night I didn’t sleep well, due to the hip and back pain from the fall. But I had all day Sunday to rest and heal and take more pain meds before our XC start time around 2pm.
This show was the first time I used a meter wheel when walking the course. I was interested to see if I could spare the brain-power to think about coming in under time during our ride. (Taking a tangent here – scroll down to skip ahead to XC recap!)
A meter wheel is a large plastic rolling wheel that measures distance traveled. It is used in conjunction with a watch on cross country, so that a rider can keep track of speed and time during the ride in order to finish under optimum time.
Here’s how it works:
- You find out your division’s posted speed. Mine was 300 meters per minute. (This is considered slow, since most BN divisions use 350 m/min.) You also find out the total course distance (1770 meters), and the optimum time (5 minutes, 54 seconds). The optimum time is calculated by using the posted speed to achieve the total course distance. If your horse is particularly fast or slow, you also check out the speed fault time and time limit.
- As you walk your course, you need to make sure to walk it exactly how you’ll ride it – not cutting corners or taking shortcuts. (You have to get creative when it comes to water!)
- When the wheel hits 300 meters, you stop and look around and make a note that this location is where you should be after 1 minute of riding (since our speed was 300m/min). When the wheel shows 600 meters, that should be at that location after 2 minutes of riding, and so on. These are called minute markers.
- Alternatively, some riders prefer just to check-in half-way. In which case, you pay attention to when the meter wheel hits half of the total distance (1770m / 2 = 885 meters), and you take the half-way point to optimum time (5 min 54 sec / 2 = ~3 minutes), and you make mental note about the location to make sure you’re on track.
- When you complete metering your course, check the total meters you rolled out against the posted course distance. If you are way off, you may need to check that you didn’t skip or add an obstacle, or consult with show management about proper course route.
He felt a little over-dramatic jumping over the log in the warm-up. Laurie said “Sarah, you are holding him back too much, which is why he needs to put in such an effort to get over the jump.” Huh. Apparently my “zoomy” to was actually too slow – good thing I have a trainer to tell me how it really is, because show nerves completely muck up my sense of speed.
I tried to have Hemie walk around the warm up but he got too antsy, so we just went ahead and trotted and cantered around the whole time. Finally it was our turn to head to the start box. Wonder of wonders, he walked calmly to the starting area – I could tell he knew we were about to go. Just something in his step and his expression.
|Heading to the start box|
We got counted down and trotted out of the box, picked up a canter, and Hemie instantly locked on to our first jump. It just so happened to be headed back towards the barn, then there was a U-turn to jump #2. We landed jump 1 and suddenly I found us at a full on gallop. Heading towards the barn.
I tried pulling up into a soft bouncy canter, but no response. All I could do was try to turn towards our jump #2 and hoped that he backed himself off.
We made the turn. He didn’t back off. We jumped the log from a dead run.
Hemie immediately realized that was not the best approach, so after jump #2 he respectfully came back to a nice canter. For the rest of the ride he was perfectly adjustable – galloping when I said “ok” and coming back to me when I sat up and half-halted. He’s a smart pony.
The rest of our round was completely awesome. I ordered the video but wont have it for probably 2 weeks. In the meantime here’s some photos.
I decided not to school the water before entering at our obstacle flags, since he’s never had an issue and we were having a strong ride. We had no issues so I’m feeling good about Hemie’s cross-country confidence. I did have him trot the down-bank, but next time I wont bother, as he was perfect about it. Unfortunately our course did not have a ditch, but we did have a brush jump (he loved it!).
As to our time on course, we were way ahead. When my 2nd minute beeper went off as we passed our 3rd minute marker location, I realized we should probably slow it down a tad. But not too much, in case we had an issue, and because we hadn’t come to our 2 waters yet. We ended up coming in ~55 seconds under optimum time. 1770 meters / 5 minutes = average speed of 354 meters/minute. So we’re right on for typical BN speed.
We ended up in 11th place out of 14. I had a double-clean XC go and our best dressage to date, so overall I call the outing an improvement in our performance and a success.