|Enjoy the handgrazing photos, it's all I got from Saturday|
The schedule of riders changed very last minute so on Day 1 I was in a group with a couple of Entry riders and one Pre-Training rider. This was actually ideal for us as we will be starting the season at Entry and quickly moving up to Pre-Training/Novice (our move up event is Rebecca Farm). Pre-injury the plan had been Pre-Training all year but since we had over 4 months off jumping my coach and I decided I should run the first two events at Entry in order to preserve my confidence (and Dee's old lady legs). The concern is that if I have a bad go at either Cochrane or Thompson then my confidence will be in shatters for Rebecca Farm. My entire goal for the year is Rebecca Farm (I've gone for the past 5 years as a groom, dammit I want tot RIDE!).
The XC course and ring we would have dressage in are at the top of the hill and the barns are down near the bottom. It's a mile trek up the hill to ride so it served as a good warmup.
Becky had us start out our warmup over a tiny log and really work at not getting ahead of our horses. For me, this was the entire theme of the weekend. We schooled all the fences in that area, which meant schooling a steep downhill turn. She had us really focus on keeping our horses underneath us and keeping their poll as the highest point. Dee swapped leads the entire way down the hill but maintained a really solid rhythm and stayed under me exceptionally well (for the horse who loves leaning in like a barrel horse). Becky said not to worry about the lead, that it is my responsibility to get us to the fence, and hers to figure out her legs.
We then moved onto schooling the ditches. As expected Dee was a rockstar and lead the two greener horses over. We then schooled the little half coffin (a tiny rolltop to a fairly wide ditch) and then cantered up a hill to our choice of jumps. The first time I took the Entry option. On our next go Becky suggested I take the picture frame. From the distance it looked like it might be Pre-Training so I said sure. We cantered up to it and it got bigger, and then the grass was really long in front of it. Turns out it's a smallish Prelim jump!!! We were maybe 20 minutes into our second foray XC this year. Dee sailed right over it, but I felt like we were in the air forever. My pony sure remains the best pony.
|Spider hates everybody, except Dee apparently|
We finished up at the water complex. I opted not to get our feet wet before starting since I know Dee is good about water and I wanted to ensure that remained the same mid XC course. Turns out Best Pony couldn't care less. We jumped a Pre-Training ramp at an angle of our choosing and made a tight turn to the banks. There is was up-two strides-down and then a short gallop to a table, a hairpin turn back to the water, canter into the water, turn 90 degrees and jump up the bank out of the water and then another hairpin turn to a galloping Pre-Training fence. I chose a fairly steep angle, just to see if we could and it sure enough we can. After that it rode really well despite Dee cross-firing about half the course. I was really happy to end there. I couldn't ask for a better horse.
|EM doing lunges while handgrazing. I nearly fell over laughing when I turned around to this.|
Despite the rain, it was a really good day with a lot of learning and a whole bunch of confidence building.