I did continue to take pictures during the rest of the horse trials, although not as many as during the Beginner Novice cross country. But I did get some more good ones so I thought I’d share those as well.
After the Beginner Novice level was the Novice level. Robyn came to watch with me which was extra fun. We particularly liked this horse:
This pair finished 2nd in their division
You can’t tell as much from that picture, but he was a big dude- he looked half draft. He was listed in the program as “WB” and named Half Draft, and I like to think that supports our hypothesis. As with the Beginner Novice, there was a pretty decent variety of breeds in the Novice level.
This massive mare was listed as a Quarter Horse, but we couldn’t believe it. She was enormous and awesome. I’m not a big QH fan but one that looks half-draft? I’m listening!
There was also a few gorgeous Connemaras (and Connemara crosses), two Morgans, two Appys, and a horse whose breed was listed only as X (who we particularly rooted for).
A lot of the obstacles in the Novice course still looked pretty easy, as fits the level. Many horses refused at this step-down, however- it’s not particularly high but because of the shape of the hill, they don’t see it til they’re right over it.
This guy was unfazed by the obstacle.
The one part of the course that I was most impressed and surprised with (impressed that Novice folks could do it, surprised that they were asked to) was a step up with a tough turn to a large log oxer in the tree line. A number of riders opted to circle after the step up in order to get a straighter shot at the second jump, even with the lost time. I know I would have!
This pair opted not to circle and started the turn immediately after the bank- and at speed too!
Only a few strides after the bank was this jump:
Not a great picture, but with the tree-line location and the proximity of the bank right before, I didn’t have a better angle.
At least one pair got the striding wrong and lost point here- we saw one woman land half off, cling to her horses barrel for a few minutes (while the mare stood patiently, thank goodness) and then give up and plop to the ground, disqualified.
The next day I was back at Inavale again to see the Intermediate and Prelim cross country, and catch a bit of the Beginning Novice stadium jumping. Unfortunately, most of my pictures from the Intermediate level didn’t come out. But I did snap this one the day before of the Intermediate water obstacle.
That’s a bounce between the logs and then about a four foot drop into the water.
Amazingly, that jump was one of the least difficult ones for the Intermediate riders- I didn’t see anyone have a problem with it in the whole division. The Prelim level fences were also extremely difficult. I couldn’t believe this line:
But damn, they made it look easy!
Later in the afternoon I went over to the show jumping arena to see part of the Beginner Novice. Inavale has some of the most amazing, colorful jumps:
The thing that proved the most difficult for these jumpers wasn’t an intentional obstacle- it was the umbrellas of two spectators sitting by the first jump.
This gelding was a total packer in the XC phase, but he could not get past the deadly umbrellas and was eliminated.
I had made a note the day before to get a hold of a few umbrellas to jump Cochise near. This only made me more resolved to get some and desensitize him. I’m planning to ride tomorrow, and if I’m really lucky, I’ll get out to the Inavale XC course too.
Here are some more pictures from the cross country phase. Again, if you want to use these for reference or documentation you’re welcome to them.