One of my biggest regrets was not having any media from the Speed Trial at the Working Equitation show. This was one of the most fun things Ashke and I have ever done and it was an amazing event. After feeling like we sucked rocks the first two phases, he came out and kicked ass and took names in the speed round. And now I have the photos to prove it.
The only rules for the Speed round is that there are no rules. Speed it the only thing that matters. Yes, form does help, and you can go faster if your horse can do a flying lead change and a tight canter pirouette. However, as long as you do the obstacles correctly (move objects with your right hand only, enter and exit the obstacle correctly, ring the bell, etc) then however you manage to get it done in the shortest amount of time possible is how you win the phase. It counts the same as the other two phases.
The first change in the Speed round was we were required to do the double slalom first, instead of the single slalom. I could feel Ashke's confusion when I reined him around the first pole.
He could only hold the canter for a couple of poles and then we reverted to a fast trot.
Maybe one of my favorite photos of Ashke of all time.
We were galloping to the second obstacle - the three barrels.
We galloped to the front of the obstacle, I sat back and said whoa, and he slid to a stop.
We did a rollback into the obstacle.
Trotting the obstacle.
Making the turn on the second barrel.
Exited the obstacle and cantered three steps to the gate.
K said it only took us 20 seconds to do the gate.
Galloping with garroucha.
Slowing down to make sure it goes in the barrel.
Dropping it requires getting off, picking up the pole and remounting.
We did a great turn at the canter, but then trotted the second pole.
Very fast into the corridor and a very good reinback.
He sat down right between the poles.
This was the point where I was having issues breathing.
Flying lead changes in the single slalom.
Head straight up in the air.
We were cutting the poles so close, but not touching them.
We slowed enough to go onto and off of the bridge, instead of vaulting it, which is what I was afraid he was going to do.
And over. We will never be eventers.
He jumped me out of the saddle on the way back over after the Livestock pen.
We still made the turn to the reinback corridor.
He started head high, but tucked his chin and powered backward.
I don't think there was a moment where I was more proud than when he stopped and sidepassed flawlessly.
Our race for the finish line.
We finished almost a full minute faster than anyone else.
Two things we've worked on that really helped: slide stop on whoa, and rollbacks into a gallop. Once Ashke knew it was the speed round, he really kicked it into high gear.