Monday, June 30, 2014

Hail the Conquering Pony!

Saturday, saturday, saturday how shall I recount thee with appropriate wonder and awe?  As best I can so here goes.  Saturday was to be Fox's first foray in to being an event horse. The day before I really did want to ride him to refresh his memory about being a properly behaved boy but fate is a fickle mistress. While Thursday the weather was clear I put riding to the side so I could get deep in to making from scratch cupcakes for a friend's birthday. I deeply regretted not riding first and staying up late to do the cupcakes because Friday it poured just before I got home. But I decided not to care about it because it was the Intro B dressage test and 18 fences.  Which I decided meant 6 or so little cross rails this assumption would come back to haunt me on the actual day. So I packed the trailer carefully, refreshed Fox's memory of dutifully getting in the trailer when asked, set out my clothes for the next day and went to bed at a reasonable hour.

 The day of the CT dawned grey and overcast. I sent up a hope that it wouldn't pour on us, packed the pony in the trailer and off we went. I wasn't worried about doing the dressage test or the jumping my overall anxiety lay with how Fox would react to being out and about without Cowboy his security blanket for all things off the farm.  But Fox quickly put my fears to rest by happily settling in at the trailer with his hay bag and other than looking around a bit going in to his plow horse routine.

The dressage test went fairly well all the mistakes that were made were mine and Fox stayed quiet, obediant and all four feet where I asked him to put them.  I was crooked on the centerline both times, blew the second halt, my circles were rather egg shaped but overall it was good and we earned a 37.2 which put us 4th.  Stadium wasn't for an hour and half so I untacked and left Fox munching his hay while I chatted with friends and went to look over the jump course.

It was...not what I expected.  The fences were indeed 18inches but they were not cross rails but rather the actual fancy show jumps just lower.  9 efforts in all of panel fences, lattices, flower boxes and every crazy color you can think of. This was going to be a real test to see if Fox could put his big boy pants on. Soon enough it was time to tack up again and head to the warm up area. Fox hesitated over the very first fence put a pop with my jumping bat and he hopped over quickly enough. After that he was great and even cantered a bit.

Then it was time to circle before the in gate.  Fox was a bit up and didn't want to stand still but I didn't mind because his idea of being up is to huff loudly and fidget rather the Cowboy's idea of being up which usually means literally that as in only two feet touching the ground. Finally it was our turn and we went out to do our first stadium course as a partnership.  On the whole it was good with only a few little issues.  I could Fox's eyes get huge at the colorful jumps and for the first one he did hesitate and wimble womble in front of it before finally stepping over.  The second fence though he did a full on stop, no I don't wanna and I actually had to circle and present again at which point he decided to hop over.  The rest of the course went better and he looked but went over everything else without too much fuss.

Afterwards with much praising I left him at the trailer to munch hay while I sat ring side with friends watching other friend's rounds and chatting about horses, lives and various injuries.  While we were sitting there a horse broke loose behind us and from the direction of the "loose horse" calls it was obvious it was either Fox or his nearest neigbor.  I got up to check and the culprit, not Fox, trotted around the end of the row of trailers.  It had been his neighbor but I went to make sure he wasn't trying to make a break for himself only to find him casually watching the fuss and munching his hay.  I so love that horse. I could never have left Seneca unattended and I wouldn't want to leave Cowboy unattended because he can be very naughty when he's bored. But Fox is completely happy standing tied at the trailer and lazing away the afternoon.

Later after the rounds were all done I went to check the scores and pick up my dressage test and I found that despite our refusal we had finished 3rd over all!  Fox's first ribbon! I was esctactic though you can see from the photo that Fox was completely blaise about his win and even somewhat annoyed because it was interfereing with his hay munching.  After much fussing over him I retacked him up and went out to find some riders to school XC with because Fox is still very anxious about being by himself.

We schooled various fences with a couple of younger girls on more advanced horses.  The only fence that was a real issue was the dog house and only because Fox clipped the thing and sent a piece of it's roof in to the grass.  One of the mothers that were supervising the girls put it back and because I worried about Fox injuring himself I took him off to jump something less scary which he did and even cantered away from it. And I made that the end of our day and went back to the trailer to untack, pack up and go home. 

There were bobbles here and there throughout the day but it was a good experience. I feel that trust was created on both sides. I learned to trust Fox to stand quietly at the trailer and he learned to trust me to take him someplace scary and show him that it was an okay place to be. Our goal over the next two weeks before we go off to the Dom Schramm clinic is to work on our cantering.  I need to trust Fox and start asking him for it rather than waiting for him to give it.

So with our yellow ribbon fluttering we kick on and ride forward.  Keep it between the flags everyone.