The ERE team started off the year right with a great 2 days of cross country schooling at Holly Hill Farm in Benton, LA on January 2-4.  Cream schooled really well and jumped some of the Training combinations.  She was a superstar through both of the Training level water complexes and the sunken road!  We are very excited about this season and the possibility of running her Training level this summer or fall.  Crescent and I had a blast!  I was able to fulfill my childhood dream of riding the bounce steps...which totally lived up to my expectations!   They were the highlight of the weekend.  He and I jumped through several of the Preliminary combinations and even the Intermediate corner!  

Next on the schedule was Poplar Place February Horse Trials February 5-7.  Cream was entered in the Open Novice and Crescent in the Open Training.  We left Baton Rouge at 7 am Thursday morning to try and beat the icing roads out of town.  Friday in Georgia was cold and rainy...ugh.  Crescent was great and had a very workmanlike school in the pouring rain.  The week before Poplar we had a breakthrough on the flat.  He has started to reach for the bit and stretch as well as slow down his tempo.  I am thrilled that his dressage has come so far so quickly!  Cream got to school during a break in the weather.  She was a little bit wild but settled a little and had some good moments.  The weather on Saturday cleared up, thank goodness!  Crescent was the first of mine to go in the dressage.  He was slightly unsteady in the contact, but the stretch in his free walk shocked me.  I had a major blonde moment in the right canter and came across the diagonal rather than lengthening down the long side.  This is the first error I've had in dressage in years...I was a bit disappointed to say the least.  I tried my best to put it out of my mind as I got Cream ready and took her on a long walk to get her settled before her test.  Imagine my surprise when my mom came up and told me that Crescent and I were tied for 1st place after dressage on a 36.4!  I have never been so proud of myself or my horse!  Cream warmed up better than her actual test, she got a little down and heavy during the test and didn't score as well as I had hoped for.  Crescent's show jumping was next.  The course looked good...had a few tricky turns, but nothing walked super difficult.  He warmed up great and we were putting in a foot perfect round.  We came through the final combination (2 stride vertical to oxer) and had a left turn to an oddly angled vertical.  As soon as we landed from the oxer I could feel Crescent thinking we were done and he drifted a little left.  I left my reins a bit too long, and came to the vertical on a bit too much of an angle.  I got the feeling that he never even saw the last fence.  We came right back around and he jumped it great once he saw it.  So 4 faults and moved down to a tie for 3rd.  Cream was quite up for her show jumping round and was one of the fastest rounds in her division.  She jumped a great clear round!  Both cross country courses looked super.  Crescent had some good questions but nothing we hadn't done before.  There were a few places on the Novice that we thought would be good tests for her.  The footing was quite slick and I am so glad I bought some big mud studs on Friday.  Crescent had a very short warm up as I had forgotten to switch his bit from stadium...yay for cobwebs after having the winter off haha.  He rocked around the course right on the optimum time.  He was a bit too fit in places and just played with the jumps.  His time left us in a dead tie for 3rd and that qualified us for the AECs in September!  We also got the go ahead to move up to Preliminary in March, so I am ecstatic!  I have to keep reminding myself that we have only been together for 5 months and this was only our 3rd show together.  Cream's cross country was a bit harder.  She was not drilled and tapped, so the footing affected her quite a bit.  She had a clear round, but it wasn't pretty.  Greta and I discussed it and she will have studs for the March show and she is going to do some more fitness work between now and then also.  Overall it was a great weekend!  Meadow Creek in Kosse, TX is next!  Until then, ride forward and have fun!