So, I am back in Raleigh again, for the time being at least. We did indeed make it to the dinner and reception of the wedding, which was really special! Then Sunday I was able to spend some quality time catching up with Foster, pulling his mane to an actually desirable length and getting him otherwise trimmed up. Then yesterday, thanks to warmer temps melting the snow, we were able to go school XC!
I went down by myself (therefore no photos), as my original partner in crime’s horse came up dead lame 2 days prior, and had scheduled a lesson with a trainer I’ve never worked with before. I will admit there were some differences in communication, and I felt like a pretty big dummy at several times. I’ll further admit that I even got a little emotional, as I know I tend to do when I am feeling sick (which I was/am, fighting off a nasty cold and having stomach issues to boot).
In any case, here is what I did manage to learn from the lesson:
- Sit into the saddle longer while posting to encourage him to use his backend
- Always imagine keeping the hind end underneath me (especially through turns)
- Soft, bent knees – no standing in the stirrups!
- Make him maintain a rythym (particularly on terrain)
- No pulling on the away side of the fence
- Ride the canter, don’t just allow it to happen
- Swing my hips and connect to him as I ride to the fence (don’t stop riding!)
While I was trying to learn/remember all of this, Foster was thankfully proving himself a mature, solid citizen. He warmed up really nicely, and took to the fences like he’d done it yesterday, not 3 months ago. There was no hesitation at all jumping the Novice questions. The two fences I was most concerned about, the jump over a log into water (he has only done a cross rail version of this), and the trakehner, were ridiculously easy.
He attacked the water jump. Where I thought I’d be saying Go, I was saying WHOA! Definitely not going to be a problem, and it felt really great to see how confident he has become.
The trakehner was also excellent. This was a super friendly jump, where the ditch was not boxed in but still gave the impression of a taller fence and something to look at. There was still a bit of snow on the ground around the fence, so I was a little apprehensive that things might get slippy if he were to suddenly react. Once again, my fears were completely unfounded, and he went over it beautifully. If only I had a photo to prove it!
Because he was so good, and surprisingly peppy even at the end of our schooling, I have committed to the show this weekend. I know we won’t be as prepared as I would like, but I think it will be a good first outing for him at the Novice level. The course will be maxed out technically speaking (there will be a half coffin, bank to pheasant feeder, terrain questions, and of course the water jump), but it won’t be maxed out with height and width. Tonight Foster is going to get an easy stretchy ride and we will prepare as much as possible for a crazy week! Get excited!