This weekend, the Carolina Horse Park put on the most amazing schooling day, giving Jack and I the opportunity to get in and out of the showjumping ring over and over with absolutely no pressure to perform. We paid for unlimited rounds, and with a prepared course got to go in at a roughly allotted time and get ringside assistance from the trainer- all good things for us!
Round one was at 2’6″, and for me I attempted to micromanage Jack’s anxiety that comes with this ring (meanwhile warmup continues to be a relaxing snoozefest). I had to use my bat to get him down the final outside line since the stack of poles just outside the ring was terrifying to the BDH, but overall it was a better round still than what we’ve had before. We decided to go back in for another round and work out the kinks, and Holly wanted me to get a straighter, more forward ride out of the blonde beastie.
What resulted ended up being our best round to date. It’s amazing what can happen when you sit up, think, and ride. Could he be softer through his outline? Totally. And ya know, he basically canters some of these fences instead of jumping, but whatever. I was thrilled coming off of this ride, and we decided to wait around for the 3′ course and school at that height as well.
It’s a little sticky, as you can see. I think at this point we were both a bit tired, and I needed a lot more of a forward ride. I’m not used to jumping the max width of some of these oxers, and so I need to adjust my position to stay with him when he puts in a bigger effort. And I’m so annoyed about that last distance, and was tempted to circle back to it had the next rider not entered the ring. But I was told to shrug it off and be pleased with our first full course at this height.
Overall it was a great day. My friend A was then able to do a cool down flat in the dressage ring and Jack got to also learn that there’s nothing scary about the sandbox. They ended with a super stretchy session that had to feel good after all the waiting around of the day.
When you consider that the video below is where we were just 5 months ago, it’s pretty amazing how far we’ve come. My trainer and friends keep reminding me of that, but I need to keep it in perspective. And really, it makes me even more excited for what’s to come!