Raven has been prepping all summer for her first 3-phase event, a competition which consists of a dressage test, cross-country jump course, and stadium jump course. Raven has always shown an affinity for jumping, but there are many elements to an event and there was a lot of ‘homework’ to be done before we felt sure that she was ready for the challenge. Because she is highly sensitive and often uncertain in new situations (not to mention blind in one eye), we took our time with Raven: we began with a dressage schooling show this spring, then progressed to schooling ‘2-phases’ which include dressage and a show jump course. It took some time for Raven to learn to relax in the show atmosphere of each different farm, but she improved with every outing and often placed well due to her lovely dressage work.
Cross country jumping can involve any number of natural obstacles set out in a course through woods and fields, and so we took Raven schooling to several different farms to practice. She saw many different jumps as well as drops, banks, and water. Due to her careful nature and also likely her vision, Raven often needed a little extra time to see and understand new obstacles, but she was a quick study and rapidly became more confident. All of our prep work was put to the test this past weekend, when Raven competed in her first official 3-phase event, in the beginner novice division at the lovely Dover-Foxcroft Horse Trials in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.
Raven was relaxed at the show and stood quietly tied to the trailer in between rides. As usual Raven performed well in the dressage, and then it was time to introduce her to the cross country phase! The course was certainly a big step up for Raven with 15 different jumps, and although she had two minor stops she got better as she went along and finished the course in good form. She certainly loved the galloping in between fences, and we are confident that next time she goes out on a course, she will be much for more self-assured after this first experience. Raven then finished the day with a lovely, confident show jumping round and came home with a 6th place ribbon. We will be sure to take this girl out to practice on a few more cross-country courses during the fall, and then look to come out next spring ready for a season of competitions. It has been such fun to watch Raven progress this summer as she has gained confidence and begun to understand what eventing is all about. She was certainly proud of herself at the show– we think she will enjoy her new job!