Monday, June 4, 2012

The Lessons We Learn

Sunday I made 2.5 hour trek to a new xc course to school with Chris and some of his other students. It was a new course, and very greenie friendly.  And even though it was his birthday super hubs accompanied me to help drive, photograph and generally help me deal with my own craziness.

We got to the venue fairly early and I left the mare-beast in the trailer remembering the last time I had taken her off the farm and she was a freak the whole time. I wanted to be able to go watch other schoolers, relax, eat, whatever without having to worry if my mare had escaped or was in the process of losing her mind.

My husband set up the awning on the trailer, set out the chairs and generally chilled out while I tagged after one of Chris's schooling groups and tried to learn from watching. 

When it was close to pot-luck time I trekked back through the fields to pick up super hubs and head over to the dining area where there was loads of good stuff to eat, soda for me, and surprise BEER! for the hubs. We chatted with the owners of the farm, great people, oohed over their cute dogs and then it was time to unload the mighty mare-beast.

She came off the trailer with a bit of a snort, looked around, flicked her ears and then proceeded to show me that I must be crazy for thinking she might be tuned up at a new place. Not only was she three legs and a hipcock at the trailer (WTF?) she placidly ate her hay as if she'd been doing this for years. Granted this outing was a lot less energy and craziness(plus no evil demon cows) so maybe that had a lot to do with it. But I believe Seneca just wanted to make me look like a liar and a dork, her specialty.

So we tack up and I meet the two fabulous ladies I will be schooling with.  Sheryl is riding a nice bay TB gelding, who looked like Seneca's bulkier brother. Hope was riding a very cute paint/draft cross. Chris arrives and the challenges begin.  Challenges for me because eventing forces me to do things that aren't in my nature. Being bold, brave, confident, and trusting.

He helped me to see what I was doing wrong in the stadium jumping that made Seneca feel like she was nose diving at the jumps.  She only felt like she was rushing but obvious to other eyes wasn't(Didn't I say making me out to be a liar was Seneca's specialty?)  He made me see that when I got a few strides away from the fence my hips started moving which pushed Seneca in to what felt like a flat, rushy jump.  Okay we can work on fixing that.

Next we went off to the xc course. The first jump was a tiny log(Seneca could and did walk over it). I rode up to it at the trot in what I thought was a bold frame.  I will tell you now while Seneca has ducked and run out she has never outright stopped. Until yesterday. She stoppedat this tiny log, in front of my husband, schooling partners, and worst of all my coach.  Thank you mare-beast for making me feel like a failure!

I made her walk over it and then we jumped it several times.  We didn't have another stops that day, but we did have a run out later.  We jumped several other intro fences then went to the bank which was great, and the ditch, which Seneca hesitated at the first presentation and then she got a swat from the giant jumping bat which super hubs had gone back to the trailer and gotten for me along with a bottle of water. Love HIM!

Then we did a line of fences. We did the ditch on a down hill, then a left hand turn gallop up the bank and on to a table jump.  The first time I went over the table I trotted it. But the second with Chris encouraging me to "Gallop on!" We cantered over the table.  It was the first time we had ever cantered a xc fence. And I gave a "WAHOO!" going over, which super hubs, because he's the man caught on camera.

Other than the run out later at a bench we had a great time, I learned a lot, and have several things to work on. Like being comfortable with letting Seneca canter/gallop up to fences.  Begin assertive/aggresive with her to the fence because she's green and will avoid jumping if she can, and making my body still up to the fences so that I don't accidentally encourage her to rush and get flat.

Learning, learning, learning.  Keep it between the flags everyone.

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