Friday, June 28, 2013

Questions from Katie

Katie, after she answered the Liebster questions I set up, put up her own questions, with a spin of her own on them.   So you get to learn more about me in general, rather than What We Did Last Night (trot sets, incidentally).   :)

Answer these questions-
1. What is your main goal with horses?  Ride.  I know it sounds simple and obvious, but really, everything pales next to just being able to ride my horse, hang out with my partner, feel the rhythm of his gaits and follow his interest through his ears.   My less important goals are to compete in recognized events, eventually go to a Training 3-Day, to do a Limited Distance endurance ride someday, and to always keep improving my skills.  But if all the competition was to be banished tomorrow, I'd still love to ride, and riding would be my goal.

2. Is it able to be accomplished?  Oh yes.  I kind of think that goals should be fluid and attainable.  For example, a goal to ride in Rolex, for me, would be unattainable -- I don't have the drive to get there, nor the money, nor the natural athleticism, nor the horse.  It's a lovely goal ... for someone else.  ;)   And if I reach a goal of competing in a recognized event (and finishing on a number, not a letter), then my next goal can be doing better in the next one.  And so on. 
3. What do you do with your nerves before a show etc.?  I don't know any more, to tell you the truth!  Before this last derby, every challenge had me in the porta-john way too many times, wound up, and in need of some kind of external courage in order to face it.  At this last derby and in the clinic before it, I just made sure I was well hydrated and had the amount of time to warm up that I needed.  I tried to not psych myself out, just kind of ignore the little shrieking voice and trust.   And my show-nerves stomach, that has been my pattern since I was in my first hunter show?  Didn't happen.   So I don't know.  I'll let you know what I do and how it works once I start showing.
4. Are you competitive?  Against my best efforts to stop being competitive ... yes.  I am.  I like to win.  On the other hand, eventing is less about competing against other people and more about competing against the courses and yourself.   So despite my lesser self loving the blue ribbons, my better self just likes to ride well, however I come out in the standings.
5.  Are you the kind to Shoot down all the competition type of competitive, or the fun and supportive type of competitve?  Oh definitely the second.  I don't like shooting people down.  I have a terrible tendency to criticize when I think people are making bad decisions or being dangerous, but when it comes to competition, I'll loan you whatever you need, cheer you on, tell you how impressed I am with your ride, tell you what jump is sticky, et cetera.  We're all in this together!
6.What have you done to support your fellow riders lately?  I volunteer to scribe a lot -- I scribed at a dressage show last weekend.  :)   I am a member of the local show organization, etc.  I am supportive and encouraging to folks at the barn and remind them -- thinking of one in particular -- that no, you DON'T suck, that your horse is a GREAT horse, and look how far you've come!  
Now write a blog about somthing you could change in the riding world, something that you think is important, maybe its how people dont give horses time off after a big show season, or in the Hunter world how the trainers can ride the horse right before it goes in the ring then the kids hop right on? Or maybe its just how you wish horses pooped less!?

Stay tuned!   :)
Then write a note to the person/people that have always been there for you, and supported you through riding, and if you have been the person without support, talk about the struggle about doing it by yourself if it was a struggle.

Again, stay tuned!   These two deserve entries of their own.   

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Two brief canter-related notes:

* I didn't mention this earlier, but during our jump lesson on Sunday, I got a flying change from Apollo from right to left lead.  Heee.  :)   I know you hunters do this all the time and work hard on it, but it's not as big a deal for us eventers, especially at the low levels.  So it was kind of cool to ask for it and get it!

* During my dressage ride tonight, I was working on actually riding the canter, rather than just asking for it and getting it and then being all OMG CANTERING WOO.  I mean, I generally do more than just that, but tonight I was really working on the quality of the canter, getting accurate figures in the canter, and maintaining a good contact in the canter.  All stuff I haven't really worked on so far.   I was asking him to go forward boldly, and he was rounding his neck and actually working, rather than kind of going around a little stiffly.  

Then ... I thought "omg! he's going to throw a buck!  wtf?!"   But I kept riding forward, just because that helps.   And I'll be damned if he didn't keep going in that frame for a long side.  He wasn't croup high, he had rounded up his back and was carrying me in the canter!   His neck was round, his back was up, and whoa.  Neat feeling.   :D   Note to self:  Keep canter forward, leg on, contact even to get him round!

I credit our resident European with the progress.  :)  Apollo does so well with a pro ride every week ... he steps up, and I really benefit from it.  Thank you, resident European!!

Trot sets tomorrow, yay.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Noted for posterity

(Post with actual content just before this one, too.)

Oh, also:  It appears that increasing Apollo's food is having a good effect on him.  Yay!  He has been brighter and readier to work lately; he's forward and energetic.  He hasn't put on much weight yet, but I'm confident that he will, given more time. It hasn't even been a month yet.   He's happy to eat the U-Gard powder, which apparently some horses aren't, and he looooves Cool Calories.   Rice bran and beet pulp are old hat to him, of course.

Still, good to have him feeling good!

Skinny practice

Much fun was had in jumping lesson this weekend.  :)   I'm learning much more about Apollo, his tendencies, and his needs for jumping success, and of course I'm learning lots about myself, my tendencies, and my needs!

We started with a very simple line: a skinny 4x4 with flowers set in it on the ground, 4 strides, cross-rail, 5 strides, another skinny flower thing on the ground.  This wore out real quick for both Apollo and Grayson, so we moved on to skinny vertical - 4 stride - bigger X - 5 stride.  Much practice on rider position and rating the horses correctly between the fences.

Here was where we discovered that Apollo can be pretty casual with his hind feet.  I've heard in the past that if a horse knocks a rail with its front feet, it's the rider's fault, but if the horse hits the rail with the hind feet, it's the horse's doing.   I don't know if that's true, but there you have it.  Anyway, Apollo dinged the rails with his hind feet more than a few times.   In response, MT put a much heavier -- and rather skinnier! -- rail made of a fence post into the cups.   Apollo jumped it nicely a few times, and then we changed the pattern:  through the line as we had been doing, turn all the way right, come back and jump the center fence on an angle, turn all the way left, come back and jump the center fence on an angle the other way, then turn left again and come through the line opposite the way we had been.   So it was 4 to 5 stride line, figure 8, then 5 to 4 stride line.

All went well until I didn't get a good line to the heavy-rail skinny on the way back into the line.  Heh.  Oops.     There was a jump cup on the standard that was juuuuust in line with my foot ... Apollo had nothing to do with the destruction of that jump that time.  Heh.   It didn't hurt, so on we went ... and you can bet I was very, very careful to get good lines thereafter.   (Today, though, I can feel where I hit it. Whoops.  ;) )   We did a few more variations on the lines, had more fun, and then we were done.

Anyway, so yes.  Very fun lesson.  I got much better with my position and getting the riding done between fences as things went on.  MT suggested that Apollo could do with some free-jumping, so I'll probably go ahead with that starting this week instead of having our resident European ride him on Fridays.  Then we'll go back to the original plan.

Still love that horse.  :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

An award? Check it, I might have nominated you!

Through the various chains of blogs out there, I discovered that L. Williams over at Viva Carlos nominated me for the Liebster award.   Super cool -- thank you, L!  This will be fun!   If you don't already read Viva Carlos, you should hop over there.  Read about the amazing horse that was Carlos, how much L loved him and still does, and the strong and caring woman L is.

HOW TO ACCEPT THE AWARD: The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers.  Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued.  Here are the rules for accepting the award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them.

11 Random Facts About Me

1. I'm very short: five feet nothing.  And I have a long torso and short legs.  I really could have picked a better sport for my body type than riding, but ... well, we don't need to discuss the "why horses?" thing.

2. I am a big, big, big geek.  I love comics, science fiction, and fantasy.  I play Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop roleplaying games, I watch geeky TV and movies, and I've been to many, many fandom conventions.   I fly my freak flag high.

3. To quote MT, I never met a word I didn't like.  I have a vocabulary of over 20,000 words and I'm not afraid to use it!!  I think this goes hand in hand with being a geek who likes to read.

4. I've never been married, though I think I'd like to get married someday, and I have no kids.  The kids, though, I am sure I don't want.  I do a good "crazy aunt Rinsie."  :)  And even though I don't want kids, I would love to have the time, space, and money to have more animals. 

5. Speaking of animals: I'm allergic to anything that has fur, basically.  Cats (I have 2), dogs (I have 2), horses (just one), hamsters (don't have them any more), rabbits (would have them if I could), et cetera.   

6. And speaking of allergies, I'm allergic to most pain medication, including Aleve.  The older I get, the more things I'm allergic to.  And the older I get, the less I bounce when I fall off horses!  I don't like this combination of circumstances much at all.

7. If I could, I would live in a TinyHouse.  I would want to be able to hook it up to water and improve the water heater, because long hot showers are a vice of mine, but ... yeah.  That'd be just neat.  I'd hate to get rid of all my books, but again.  Neat.

8. My favorite musical artists are Stan Rogers, the Dropkick Murphys, Leonard Cohen, Faith and the Muse, and one slot reserved for the rotating favorite of the moment.  Currently the rotating slot contains Tim Barry.

9. I have two tattoos, one that's big and very visible.  I plan on at least two more, one of them also big and visible.  Punk rawk spiritual eventing, that's me.

10. I wish I could go back to school for a degree in fire science/forestry/environmental science and go to work for the BLM or Forest Service.

11. Learning languages is incredibly easy for me.  I speak Spanish well, and I'm dabbling in Hungarian, German, and French. I have some Latin and I have a few words in Japanese and Basque.   I'd love to learn Russian and Finnish and Arabic, too.  I could do it; I'd just have to sit down and, well, do it.

11 Questions L. Williams Asks Her Nominees

1. Favorite type of Jump?   Hmm.  Showjumps?  I like walls, or oxers.  Cross-country jumps?  Coops.

2. Favorite Professional Rider/Horse Team?  One favorite, not several?  Hmmm.  Sara Mittleider and Harry Houdini (or El Primero, her 4-time Rolex ride!)

3. Favorite Riding Exercise?  Gymnastics.

4. Least favorite Riding exercise?  I'll go with Karley (again!) and say working without stirrups.

5. Where do you see yourself in the next years (horse/career/life)?  Horse: With Apollo, keeping on learning and jumping, and with any luck, competing successfully in recognized events.  Career: I can't even begin to speculate.  Life:  Still happy with my animals, working, riding, and maybe married?  

6. Advice you would give yourself 5 years ago?  "Don't assume you know anything; this is going to hurt in a lot of ways before it gets better, but you'll be better for it in the end.  Oh, and don't lease that horse.  That ends in tears."

7. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?  I wouldn't.

8. If you could train with anyone who would it be and why?  I'm really happy with my teachers now, honestly, but if I could take a month-long clinic with Jane Savoie, I'd do it.

9. I'm giving you $5k what would you buy?  Two used County saddles and two County Logic girths.

10. Give me the recipe for your favorite dish you can make.  One favorite dish?  Just one?!  Okay, Vietnamese grilled pork.   * 1 lb pork loin, sliced.  * 5 T fish sauce  * 1 T + a teaspoon or two caramel sauce (made by dissolving 1 c brown sugar in 1 c water and boiling until sticky)  (Oh hell, just blop some in there until it tastes right) * Red pepper flakes or fresh Thai pepper, to taste.   

Make one batch of marinade and set it aside for basting (you can omit the pepper if you want to dial the spice back).   Make another batch of the marinade and add about 1/4 cup of water or coconut juice, not much but enough to kind of round out the marinade so it covers the meat, then put the pork into the marinade and let it sit at least 1 hour, 24 hours at most.  Get your charcoal grill going; have a medium-cool heat zone and a hot zone.   Take the pork out of the marinade and pat it good and dry; dry meat grills better than wet.   Grill it over the medium-cool heat until it's just shy of done, and then finish it with a good hot char over the hot zone, with lots of baste to caramelize.   Slice and serve over rice noodles garnished with thin cucumber matchsticks, fresh lettuce, a bit of cilantro, fresh jalapeno slices, and fresh ground black pepper.   You can also serve with the Vietnamese dipping sauce called nuoc mam.

11. Dream vacation destination?  Anyplace where I don't have to do anything, just relax and read, swim, snooze, etc.  Mountains, beach, etc.   Alternatively, Disney World: the outside world just falls away there, and you don't have to worry about anything but having fun.   I wouldn't want to go to a city or anything that required, yknow, work to enjoy.  ;)

The 11 Questions I Ask My Nominees:

What is your favorite thing about your horse?
When things don't go well during a ride, what do you do and how do you handle it to move forward?
What do you do to treat or pamper yourself?
What's your favorite childhood memory?
What's your general barn routine?
If you could have as many horses as you wanted, how many and what would you do with them (if anything)?
What's your favorite meal?
What's your mindset like during a typical ride?
Favorite tack brand and why?
Favorite breeches and why?
Tell me about your first riding experience.

My 11 9 10 Nominees:

Redheadlins at My Mojito
SprinklerBandit at SprinklerBandits
Katie at Young, Dreams, and Eventing (though I challenge her to do this via vlog!)
SheMovedToTexas at She Moved to Texas
Roxie at I Is Roxie!, because I'd love to hear this from a horse's perspective. Roxie, you can replace any human-type words with Roxie-type words, like foalhood and if you could have as many humans as you wanted.
Genie at Genie Needs A Blog.  The world needs you, Genie.  Write about ponying, Happy who isn't, clipping, etc!

*: Only nine actual blogs because everyone else I read is either over 200 readers or already tagged!  The last one ... get on it, girl!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I can almost forget sometimes

That Apollo is in fact a Thoroughbred.  He's chill, sweet, and trustworthy, and up until recently, he's been easy to keep weight on.   (Well, except for the sensitive skin thing.  I had to buy new, all-herbal fly spray for His Delicateness.  He was starting the getting-hives cycle, even before the flies and bugs got bad.  He's now in his full fly gear, fly spray everywhere the fly sheet and mask don't cover, wearing a bonnet during rides, etc.)

But ... as summer has begun, I've been riding him more and doing more interesting/demanding things with him.  Jumping, trot sets, really working hard on our dressage, you know the drill.   And I suppose I've been exceedingly lucky so far in feeding him -- he's been doing great on hay and grass only.  But now that the grass is in, we haven't been feeding hay nearly as much, letting them eat the buffet.  Looks like grass only isn't enough for the poor guy: he's been dropping weight.  Like, yknow, a Thoroughbred.

I also dewormed him, just in case, and we'll have his teeth checked next time the vet is out.  Just in case.

Meanwhile, I got some beet pulp and rice bran, and he's getting plenty of both with some salt.  As soon as possible, I'm going to add Cool Calories and U-Gard (just in case, on the U-Gard; he can be girthy).   Maybe APF Pro, but right now I don't think he desperately needs it.  We'll see how he does on the beep/rice bran/CC/UG first.   I imagine he'll start picking up weight pretty quickly.

So the questions are:

* Cool Calories in bag form from D&B Supply OR in Smartpaks?
* U-Gard in pellet form OR in powder form?
* U-Gard in bucket form from D&B OR in Smartpaks?

As for the U-Gard ... I'm thinking that the powder might be the best bet because it's more adjustable in dose than the pellets.  The loading dose is 2 scoops a day for 28 days, whereas the maintenance dose is 1 scoop.

I'm annoyed that Blogger won't let me put in a table ... or at least not without more markup language than I feel like doing right now.  You're probably glad, though, because you won't be subjected to my spreadsheet calculations.  :)  I compared Smartpak loading and maintenance dose prices, prices per day, getting just one in Smartpaks, 8 lb bags vs 4 lb bags, etc.

The final calculation is that it'll be cheaper in the long run to buy an 8 lb bucket of U-Gard and an 8 lb bag of Cool Calories and do the scooping myself.  The question now becomes where to buy the products?  Valley Vet is usually pretty inexpensive for this stuff, but ... shipping price and speed comes into it.   I might be best off hitting up D&B or Legacy.

More research!  Whee!

Friday, June 7, 2013

A survey swiped from Karley!

1: A time you've been scared for your life on horseback.

Scared for my life?  Never.  Plagued by the "OMG WHAT IF YOU BREAK YOUR NECK" monster?  Less lately, but it occurs to me sometimes.

2: There's a huge party at your friends house or you could have a lesson on the same night, which do you go to?

Huge parties aren't my style, so definitely ride, then go home and make dinner and relax.

3: Favorite markings a horse can have.

I'm a terrible sucker for leopard spots, but right now, bay with two hind socks and a narrow blaze is ideal.

4: Would you rather deal with bolting, rearing or bucking?

None of the above, really, because it's all dangerous.

5: Agree or disagree; To have good eq means to be a good rider?

Echo Karley: disagree

6: If you could try any discipline on any horse for 1 day, what discipline and what horse?

Endurance, and maybe on one of Denny Emerson's Morgans or Arabs.

7: 3 horses you'd want to ride/meet the most?

Tzigane *Pb* -- he's the sire of quite a few Trakehners we have at the barn, and I would love to meet him and see him ridden.  I don't think I want to ride him, though.
Thunder Mountain Thor -- I would want him back and young.  I'm in a position now where I could actually have done something with him if he'd come my way.  Plus, leopard spots.
Boyd Martin's Neville.  Just to meet him.  Not ride.

8: On a scale of 1-10 how good would you say your seat is?

5.  Maybe 6?  I don't really know.  Apollo has helped, but I know I'm not seriously impressive or anything.

9: One of your goals for the next year, horse-wise.

What Karley said, again: Go to some shows and do better than last year :)   I think we can actually not embarrass ourselves at the unrecognized trials at the end of this month.  (OMG AT THE END OF THIS MONTH MUST GO PRACTICE XC)

10: Would you rather teach lessons or train horses?

Karley is wise: None of the above. I like taking lessons and working with my horse.

11: Have you ever given a lesson for money?

No; I don't know enough to teach.  Plus, I'm an amateur and want to keep it that way.

12: If you were a trainer, would you want to train little kids, pre-teens, teens or adults?

I'd prefer adults, I think.

13: Have you ever ridden someone's horse for money?

No; I don't know enough to teach.  Plus, I'm an amateur and want to keep it that way.

14: If given the opportunity, would you exercise track horses?

Sure!  I might get over my concern about Going Really Fast.

15: On a scale of 1-10 what is your confidence like in the saddle?

Karley nails it again: Right now, 7.

16: 3 things you need to work on, riding-wise?

Rider fitness, confidence, and leg position.

17: 3 things your horse needs to work on.

A little less lazy every now and then.  Most everything else is rider-related, though.

18. Top 3 favorite riders?

My teacher
His daughter
His daughter's husband


19: Is there anyone you'd say is a bad rider ? (don't give names)


20: Are you better on the flat or over fences?

I'd say that competence, up to a certain level, is in my future in both categories.

21: How high do you think you've jumped?

3'3", but it was a long time ago.

22: How high do you think your horse would be capable of jumping?

Jury's still out.  When he was younger, he started to get bug-eyed around 3', but he hadn't had as much experience then.  We'll see where he goes, but no matter what, I love him.

23: Opinion on tackless riding.

Pretty cool!  Reveille seems to have taken to it like a duck to water.  For riders, it can develop a REALLY great seat and feel, but it can get some bad habits started too.

24: Have you ever lied or over-dramatized anything about your riding?

Probably, but over-dramatized how bad I am, rather than how good.  ;)

25: Do you think you're a good rider?

No.  I don't suck, and I think I will be competent, but right now, no.

26: Ever had barn drama?

Not a lot.

27: Favorite things about the barn you're at?

The people, the horses, the facility, and the atmosphere.  I.E.: everything.

28: Will you show next year? If so in what?

Next year, as in 2014?  I sure hope so.  I currently plan to go BN at a recognized show sometime next year.  However, never make firm plans with horses.  The universe will not just laugh; it will cackle evilly.

29: Plans for your horse over the next year?

Build partnership, improve dressage, improve stadium, get more exposure to XC, get fitter.  See previous re: plans, though.

30: Would you share your tack with people?

Sure, but only people I trust.

31: Has a horse ever shattered your confidence?

*hysterical laughter*   Ahem.  Yes.

32: Ever been scared to get on a horse?


33: Do you get nervous before shows?

Yes, but I'm getting better at coping with that now that I have Apollo under me.

34: Hunters or Jumpers?

Eventers, baby!

35: Last time you fell off? What happened? Were you hurt?

Last year, just about this time, actually; it was the Monday after the May event derby at home.  I fell off while trying to redeem myself over a course that had beaten me the day before.  I hit my head and cried.  It wasn't pretty.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

TL;DR - the show recap

Okay -- I've owed you the long version for far too long.  I even have pictures now.

All the pretty ribbons!

Let me preface this entry with this: Yes, it's just cross-rails.  On the other hand, it's my first show with Apollo ever.  And before I bought him, life was challenging and confidence-damaging over fences.   So I've been building confidence, crawling before I walk, walking before I run, and doing cross-rails for my first derby back in the real world.  :)   We've been jumping real-live jumps in lessons and in the clinic before the derby, so we definitely CAN do more.  Still ... still.

So.  On with the entry!   As mentioned, there was a clinic with MT for the two days before the derby itself.  I decided to do both days of the clinic, Friday and Saturday, as well as a lesson on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, there was some chaos regarding my car on that Wednesday, so I didn't make that lesson.  But fortunately, I was able to sneak in a lesson that Thursday with a bunch of friends who'd come in from east of here.  Lots of jumping fun.  We did some small grid work, trot pole work, and general position work.  Nothing big, just working on the rider position and getting the horse to come forward through the jumps.  There's video of it, but ... it's only on Facebook, and it's brief, and it's not our best pass over the jump, so you can just imagine. See if you can get there from this:   If you can't, well ... imagine.

We went out into the grass field to jump the derby lines on Saturday.  I was dead shocked to discover that Apollo was ... his normal self.   Okay, maybe I shouldn't have been shocked, or even concerned in the first place -- Apollo has proved himself over and over to be trustworthy.   :)   Still, sometimes you need to just do something to really learn it.   Anyway, if anything, Apollo was a little short and willing to hang back when he wasn't certain, rather than wanting to spook or spin or run.  Good boy.  I practiced getting him moving forward positively and getting my leg on, seat down in front of fences -- and keeping my cool.  That was the hardest part at first, but it got way, way easier as time went on.  Much fun was had by me and Apollo.

So our dressage (no pictures, bummer) was at a perfectly civilized hour, 9:30 or so in the morning.  I wasn't super-thrilled with how he warmed up, but I wasn't unhappy with it either.  I just would have wanted more forward and more round.  20 minutes is the magic number when it comes to warmup: when I ride, it's like I can tell exactly when the 20 minute timer goes off because he starts to really work with me at that point.  Before the 20 minute mark, I can get him moving, warm up, ask for his attention, but ... he doesn't stretch or really WORK until after 20 minutes.   So we went into the arena with only a little "omg what is that table with people on it are there lions? are you sure?" at the judges' table, moving forward and calm but not really round.  On the bit, but ... we can do better.

Even without his being round, I was quite pleased with our dressage test - sadly, no pictures.  He was smoothly forward, pleasant and attentive, and happy to work with me.   I discover that I really dislike having the free walk on a short diagonal; it doesn't give me as much time to really develop that overstep and stretch.  And indeed, our walk work was the lowest-scoring on the test, with the comment that we need more stretch and overstep and general ... better-ness.  Totally fair.   Other than that, we got lots of helpful comments and I felt like we came out of the arena with lots to be proud of.   This, of course, was borne out by our score: 28.75.  :)  And TD, who was doing the judging, isn't a generous judge, just fair.  *beam*

Trotting along in the warmup.  Love this trot. Happy horse.

I really, truly intended to wait around a good long while before I tacked Apollo up for the jumping phase.  I knew I didn't need to do much in the way of warmup for jumping, since the fences were small, we'd worked earlier in the day, and I tend to psych myself out if we just stand there and wait.

Standing around waiting, whispering sweet nothings in Apollo's ear
Standing around waiting.

Of course, we all know what paves the road to hell.  ;)   I ended up being about half an hour too early and stood around and waited.  Apollo was a trooper, though, and he was patient and didn't get worked up.

The first fence was a slight bending line from the start gate; no problem.  I rode him positively forward so he'd be less concerned about Lions and about leaving the rest of the horses in the warmup arena, and no problem.  Fence two was a tiny downhill fence with a right turn relatively quickly afterward to cross into the second field, over the sand track and past a bunch of people.

I was looking for my fence and riding fairly well:

Shoulders are a bit too far forward, butt not quite
back enough, but heels down, leg on, chin and
eyes up, looking for my next fence.  I'm satisfied.

I knew Apollo would be a bit concerned about the people and crossing the sand track, so I actually slowed him to a walk so he could go !oo! at it all.  (!! is  ears as forward as they go, but not quite quivering - you know how it goes)  And off we went.  We rode the lines I'd planned when I walked the course and when we practiced in the clinic.  I had a chance to ride my plan for "what if he wants to spook or duck?", too -- he was a little concerned about one, so I sat down, squeezed firmly, and straightened his shoulders up, and there we went.

The rest of the course went exactly as planned, me talking to him most of the way around: Good boy, good boy, remember to pick up your feet here, I won't abandon you at the fence, we're in this together, we're going to finish!  We're going to jump this last jump and we will finish!!

Last fence!  I haven't seen a finish line in ... a while!

And finish we did.  :)   We cantered off --
Making sure we got across the finish line, for sure

and I petted him and petted him and told him how wonderful he is, how much I adore him.    'Cause I do.

What a good good boy you are, Apollo!

OMG I love you I love you I love you I love you!

And we left with a double clear round and some loot!
We did it!