We started our Saturday without any rain and two fun rounds in the Jumpers. Not quite as forward and floating as the day before so I opted to stick to the 2'3" courses for the Hunter rounds so we could focus on practicing our lines.
A move back up to the 2'6" group for the Derby, which was a pretty straightforward hunter course with a three fence bending line at the end. Both distances walked a forward 7 or a waiting 8. The last fence was an airy gate- somewhat spooky as it was added just for this class and blended pretty well into the shadows. The 2' group went first and I was fairly late in the 2'6" lineup so I had the opportunity to watch a bunch of folks struggle with the ride to the last fence- most were getting a pretty chippy 8.
Ellie was all set with her antlers and I was ready to roll in my Christmas sweater. Our round was lovely! A little chase into one of the lines but outside of that the distances came up nicely. We were really hoofing it coming into that bending line and galloped through the first 7 strides and over the second fence with no problem. So we went for the 7 again....except it wasn't there. I started leaning at stride 6, kicked at stride 7, and poor Ellie was like "NOPE....it's an 8, you ass." But we were both so committed that we climbed right over the top and even completed our courtesy circle! Commitment.
That put us out of the handy of course, but it wasn't a total loss! My barn friend, Morgan, won the Derby (and a COOLER) and it was just what she needed for her confidence! Whoop!