Monday, February 13, 2012

Cold Truth

While at the lesson with Chris Hitchcock I learned of another eventer in my area who was also riding with Chris. I had been emailing and texing J. back and forth for a few weeks but had not yet met her when I loaded up the mare last Saturday.

J. had invited me to go schooling at Lionheart Equestrian out in Suffolk with a few other riders this past Saturday. As I was prepping the trailer and the High Queen for the 1hr journey it was not that cold. It was in the mid-fifties at my little farm as I put the Queen in to the trailer. I texted my neighbor to let her know that the Spotted Beast's temper tantrums were about to ensue then headed out the gates of the farm for Suffolk. This would be the first time I had taken any of my horses further than 20 minutes away on my own. I admit manuvering through early Saturday morning traffic was nerve wracking but the trip was uneventful.

As I pulled in to Lionheart I easily drove my trailer in to a great parking spot and began meeting all my new eventing buddies.  I can't tell you how great it was to be with other eventers! I even got a lesson and some coaching out of it from a trainer who came with two the younger riders in our group.

Seneca was great in the grid exercise we were doing up until the point that we added a third and fourth jump to the line of poles.  With only a jump at the begining and the end she was fabulous! No kicking in to over drive at all. But she started ducking and refusing when we pressed her by adding the two jumps in the middle.

After, I jumped a couple of 2ft show jumps then watched the other riders who were doing a higher level than I. When they went off to school the xc course J. switched to her other horse and I put the jumps back down to a more appropriate height for the High Queen.  I did leave several of the verticals up in the 2'6-2'8" range  because I wanted to see if Seneca would bulk at the larger fences. I really want to go Beginner Novice this year. My intent is to go to the schooling trial around the corner from my house this weekend and do the 2ft division, and then use the other three schooling events coming up to move in to the Beginner Novice division culminating with going to the Starter Horse Trials at the Virginia Horse Center at the end of March.

Everything so far is encouraging me that we can do this. It will be a big and scary move but it gives me a real chance at the ultimate goal for this fall which is my first recognized horse trial. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. J. has promised to help me in Lexington using her horse as a lead for the High Queen so that she can get comfortable with the things we have to do like the water complex, and the banks, two things we haven't done yet. And there is a pretty scary looking ditch and rail that I keep telling myself is just as wide as a coop but my heart says different when I look at it on the videos.

The rest of the schooling went fairly well. The High Queen did not like the coop in the show jump ring, but I made her go over it and then she was fine. The only other incident happened later. I was waiting for J. to finish schooling her higher level horse and go with me out to xc fences. I was just wandering about letting Seneca look at things. What she was looking at were the little herd of wandering farm ponies and she lost her mind. She spooked, I lost my grip, she took off and I hit the ground.  I had a moment to hope that I didn't reinjure my leg before I watched Senca's shiny brown butt going full out racehorse mode back to the trailer.

The trainer who had come with the other riders caught her and brought her back to me, making sure I was okay in the process. I assured her I was other than feeling like a fool. I did get to school a few xc fences with J. acting as lead pony with her ISH mare.

All in all other than the freezing cold(it was at least 10 degrees colder in Suffolk) it was a good day. Next up the schooling trial at Summer's End. Wish us luck!

Keep it between the flags everybody.

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