Note: All photos purchased and used with permission from Brant Gamma Photography. 

Ryker ROCKED Stuart!  Simple as that.  He was very tight in his shoulders leading up to the event, so we were worried about the effects of the length of the trailer drive out on his dressage.  No worries!  Thanks to the chiropractic work of Matt Rose of Balanced Rhythms and Cavalor Free-Bute he was able to perform very well at his first sanctioned event! We got a modest 43.8 in dressage, he was tense but very obedient!  He tried oh so very hard, but there is still much to improve on.  
The Cross Country course was gorgeous!  Many good BN questions, but not too crazy for a first sanctioned event! There were many people who's jaws dropped to the floor when they heard that I had chosen Stuart as his first sanctioned event, and at 8 months off the track no less. But he proved at the schooling events that he was more than ready, the only change from those events was the atmosphere.  I don't think he cared until stadium!  The only tricky part of the cross country course for him was #4+5, the "half coffin" (AT BEGINNER NOVICE?!), it was a small log followed, about 4-5 strides later, by a small ditch.  They were numbered separately, but it was still a very difficult question to ask.  We trotted into the log, jumped exuberantly over it, and then broke back down to the trot, he was very good but propped at the ditch.  It wasn't that he didn't want to go, merely that he just had to look at it for a second.  He then jumped right over it and continued, it was called a stop (boo!) but, the reality is that at this point it's the training that matters and from a training perspective he was golden.  From that point he got bolder and bolder over every jump, trotting through the water eyeing the 2* question and attacking everything in front of him.  I couldn't have been prouder! 
 The stadium again was another huge test for Ryker.  It was ungodly hot (it was put your jacket on at the very last second, over your polo you had planned to wear, hot!), but he rose to the occasion. He questioningly went into the ring, and jumped around not really seeing the jumps until about 3 strides away, there was a lot to look at.  He knocked one rail, which was simply a greeny balance mistake, but got more confident throughout the course.  Again, although we didn't ribbon, I couldn't have been prouder of the little fruitcake! 

Ryker has a new show name! Yes, it's official this time.  Not to mention we've entered out first sanctioned event!  We'll be going to the GMHA starter trials, and maybe a schooling event at Hitching Post Farm, but then we're off to Stuart H.T. in Victor, NY.   

In other news, Ryker is a rockstar, as usual. He's loving his night turn out, and everything about Triple Combination except for the bugs!  Today we had our first real lesson with Andrea (at Triple Combination Farm), we worked on foot placement gymnastics.   He was fantastic, we built it up one pole at a time and he finished  straight, balanced, bold and confident.

Here is what we worked up to:
We came in the grid from the left side, trotting in, and finishing with a right hand turn over the oxer.