I went off course. I won.
To accommodate two drivers with one horse, Greg and I have been doing combined driving patterns at the smaller saddle seat shows, either a single pair of cones [Winter 2016 #1], or a course [Winter 2016 #3, Fun Show 2016 #1]. This time, we set up a portable marathon obstacle. We had a start/finish line, a timer, a four-element obstacle, and a outlying derby cone with ball.
Greg went for the tight, inside turns. His time was 1:06.68.
I opted for wider turns with less risk of stalling out. I’d take a longer line but run faster. It was going great, until I took the sweeping right to swing around from B back to C. Heavy on sweeping; short on turning. I found myself facing B again.
I decided to plow ahead. Went thru B. Turned back to D. Skipped C entirely. My time: 1:07-something. I didn’t keep track. I figured I was automatically second.
We gave the judge the option to judge on time & faults, or on style & reinsmanship, or on a combination thereof. I don’t think the judge realize that I was off-course, therefore technically eliminated. To me, the plan of a marathon obstacle is easy to understand. It’s like a jumper course with letters instead of numbers. However, to saddle seat folks, “It’s like a jumper course” is not a useful simile.
Style carried the day.
I’m not sure what the rest of the folks thought of the sudden eruption of combined driving into the middle of their saddle seat show. We designed a fast set-up/take-down to avoid delay. The entire operation took approximately the same time as a regular class. They shouldn’t have had much to complain about. I hope they were amused. We certainly were.
Alvin, of course, was a star about the whole thing. We brought the obstacle to Stepping Stone earlier in the week. By the end of one lesson, Alvin was turnin’ and burnin’ as if he had been doing it all of his life. Wonderful horse!
Tomorrow: obstacle photos.
Thank you for reading,
Update: Coach Kate tells me that, under combined driving rules, we were all eliminated. One is not allowed to go thru D on the way to A, B, or C. I knew this going forwards, but not backwards. As set, the course is not possible to drive legally. Oops. OTOH, once you’ve been through a gate, it’s fair game, i.e. my going thru B a second time did not automatically disqualify me, just added time. I would have been fine had I gone back and picked up C. Had I not eliminated myself going backwards thru D.
Update on the update: Turns out it depends on how one goes out of order. Going backwards thru a later gate is elimination. Going forwards thru a later gate, i.e. A, C, then B, C, D – one of the few mistakes we did NOT make here – is 20 penalty points. Making a mistake and not correcting your course – what I did – is the big E. Coach Kate says double elimination is not a thing, despite my best efforts.