How *not* wearing a watch saves the day! (long brag and math lesson)
Today I took Bonnie to a local unrecognized HT since she just came back home after a summer lease where she was REALLY good with a young rider who took her around several events with great success. Long story short, Bonnie--who has NEVER been brave and went through a period over 18 months where she would just randomly plant her feet and NOT GO--is feeling G-R-E-A-T. I have a sneaking suspicion that the 18 months were when her hocks were fusing, and now at the ripe old age of 12 with a monthly Pentosan shot she is being an ANGEL. She'll never be brave, but Novice seems to be her Happy Place. I like Novice with her.
Anyhow, she was especially angelic today with a 27.8 in dressage. My best score, EVER, on my choppy, chunky, short-legged horse. Or any horse, for that matter! She even got an "8" on gaits!
So given her history (this summer's successes notwithstanding) and the fact that I haven't taken her XC in almost 2 years, I was a little worried about XC which was up to snuff size-wise and the pace was 400mpm. Bonnie likes to barrel along but she is NOT fast and gets worried if she finds herself rolling along and a jump comes up quickly.
Off we went and she was SUPER! Plenty of room to gallop and she was happy so I let her. I had decided not to use my watch since I figured "about as fast as she feels comfortable" would put is in well under optimum. I didn't want to have to add a beeping watch to my nerves.
We were able to cut a few corners and there was a nice long gallop and my "mental clock" put us over the line at just over 5:00, and optimum was 5:39. Our official time was 4:52, so my mental clock is not TOO bad.
Well, I hadn't accounted for speed faults since it could NEVER, EVER happen that Bonnie would go faster than 450. And according to the timers she had. HUH???
So it bugged me and bugged me, and I just couldn't settle it in my head, so I went to check the scoreboard and times. Eureka!! Turns out the optimum time had been done with a calculator and was "5.39" minutes, not "5:39". Somebody forgot to convert the decimal into seconds. So the "real" optimum time was actually 5:23, which put us safely within it at a much more Bonnie-like pace of about 420. (which is still, for her, quite astonishing, LOL)
So trusting my mental clock, even though it was off by about 10 seconds, rather than just wearing a watch and circling and possibly going too slow once the correction had been made, saved our score.
Awesome. Yet another reason to double check the scoring and the now the optimum time! I think I am going to have to get a calculator and add it to my horse trailer's collection of things I can't go to an event without.... glad Bonnie was so good!
I wear a watch but it's basically jewelry. I have to ride the course, go fast where I can, and not let the clock interfere with what I'm doing. And it works out pretty well, like for your ride. That's total heresy with some of the people I ride with, but I've found what works for others may not work for me. Of course, I understand why people have minute markers and all that and I know placings are often decided by who is just a few seconds closer to optimum times, but honestly, if it starts to be a giant math problem, it just starts to be less fun for me.
At the CO Horse Park, the Training speed was 450 mpm. It was hilly and pretty maxed out, so I was a bit worried my big Irish boy would have trouble making the time. I did have a watch, but I did one of those double clicks, so it stopped at 1 second.
I realized it too late, so decided to do just what you did: roll at the speed my horse was comfy, taking the jumps as they came. I'm really trying to "Feel" the rhythm so my horse jumps better. Without the beeping, it's easier.
I haven't started wearing a watch yet, I have bigger things to worry about it and am naturally slow. My instructions from Trainer have been "ride a rhythm and go slightly faster than your natural comfort zone" puts us in right on the mark
"Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."
Apparently this was the same course and times that were used for a USEA HT earlier in the year, and nobody caught it.
I believe that after the recalculation virtually everyone who had a clear round was within optimum. One person still had speed penalties. I think in the end FEWER riders were penalized after the times were done correctly.
All I did was report my findings. I was not privy to the discussion that ensued.