Every year that I take this spring trip, it is a little different. We have been to every conceivable combination of California events from March to April. This year, the plan was to do a derby at Fresno County Horse Park and then the following weekend ride at Twin Rivers HT. I thought this the most brilliant plan yet! We get to compete informally, and get our show nerves under control, get to repeat dressage tests as needed etc. and then go get a recognized event done a few days later. AND get home in less than 2.5 weeks. Brilliant!
Alas, the derby was canceled 🙁 So we are making our own derby here at Fresno and are staying for 4-5 days and getting the needed schooling in ourselves. Not as much fun as riding in an unrecognized show, but a fantastic opportunity nonetheless.
Yesterday was our “stretch the legs day” and today was cross country schooling. Our horses have pretty much ignored the long arm of the law practicing their accuracy next door. Moxee, however thinks that the police should definitely put their guns away and practice love.
The first batch on cross country was me on Ellie, Viki on Colin and Letty on Finn. Finn’s owner, Lanie, aka: L-dog, is flying in tonight and will takeover the rides from here. The course has an amazing amount of smaller jumps from starter level to Novice level, which means that you can find something for someone anywhere. Including great terrain and 4 waters! This was Ellie’s second cross country schooling, and she was a total rock star. For the moment she is still sweetly and politely saying Yes to everything and becoming more and more confident. But, I am anticipating very soon she will toss me a bunch of attitude and tell me to back off and let her do it her own way, in a screamy teenager voice. In which case we will need to renegotiate the rules of etiquette that she must abide by, it wont be pretty but then by summer we should be back on track with the “sweetly” part.
Viki is absolutely ready for her first event of the year. She had a great Eric Smiley clinic last month, and her schooling today was even better. Solid in her shoulder position and riding the rhythmical canter to everything. Colin decided that today was the day to jump far, far off the bank and land in a complete 4-footed heap, which then allowed us to review Viki’s upper body position in order to help him land front feet first. Other than that, it was a day of super fun, confidence-inspiring questions.
Second group was me on Archie and Letty on Mo, which is a great pair for each other. Archie is as inflammatory, sensitive, hot and reactive as Mo is laid-back, relaxed and happy-go-lucky. When the train went by and Archie literally grew 2 hands taller, and threatened to explode, I had to really work hard to get his head back to me and listening to what I was telling him. He is a very exciting horse to ride because he is so unbelievably talented, but he is also a minor head case that tests my patience way too frequently. He is the sort of horse who will stop at a BN ditch if you present it to him at a walk, and then melt down faster than an overtired toddler in the candy aisle. But if I present him in a canter, then he feels invincible and I can’t imagine a ditch or coffin that is impossible to do.
Yoda advice of the day:
Horse success determined by rider is. Individualism is powerful, use the force appropriately you must.
It is up to the rider to help each individual horse learn in the best way possible. And when they learn differently from others, it’s sometimes the rider who needs to change. There, that is Archie’s translation of Yoda.
Finally, Letty and Mo killed it!!!! This was really her first time schooling him ever on XC. She did once last year when we were determining whether he was an appropriate horse for her to lease, but that was merely a handshake and introduction. Today was a partnership. I love the horse from the bottom of his tail to the tip of his nose, and I can’t believe how lucky Letty is to learn from him. Thank you Shea and Bailey!!!!
Again, sorry for the crappy photo quality…. my AirDrop is not currently working (what bozo decided that you need wifi and bluetooth in order for this to work… oh but you cant use a hot spot. Duh.)