Somewhere towards the middle of last week I had stopped believing I was going to be able to go to the Dom Schramm clinic and I stopped hunting for all those odds and ends and I stopped packing/organizing for the trip. Friday morning before I left for work Fox still looked hitchy in the front to my eyes but I figured that the Farrier Fairy K. coming out wasn't going to do any harm and she fit me in to her schedule for Friday afternoon.
K. arrived and she looked, she squinted, I walked and trotted Fox for her. K. said she really couldn't see this hitch I had been talking to her about. Incidently when I'd arrived home that afternoon not only couldn't I see it but the persnickety beast jumped the then water filled ditch that runs down my small back pasture. Seriously? This is the pony who had been gimping around all week. And now he was calling me a paranoid liar in front of my farrier. Excellent.
K. trimmed up his feet and we both discussed the possible work Fox would be doing over the weekend and that he would definetly need to go back in to his Easy Boots arena with footing or not. I agreed and if it kept Fox sound I'd happily look like a dork eventing in trail boots.
The Clinic Day 1:
Challenge Number 1: Finding the farm. My GPS can sometimes be lets say mentally challenged telling me too soon, too often, or too late when I should make a turn. So I missed the turn in to Rose Equestrian's driveway the first time and had to find a suitable place for my long rig to turn around. A church parkinglot helped with that and we were soon settled in the trailer parking at the farm.
Challenge Number 2: There is no shade in trailer parking and it's 11am in the middle of July. But I have an awning. Which I have only rolled out at home with Superhubs directing. I can do this! Out came the awning and my wonderful pony who settled in to his plow horse routine happily hung out in its shade.
Challenge Number 3: I belatedly discover that I need to change the gullet plate in the saddle I'll be riding in about 30 minutes before I need to be up at the arena. Fan-freaking-tastic. Dig for a screw driver, quick change, throw tack and gear on the pony, throw gear on myself, struggle into the field boots I only wear to big shows and off we go. Thankfully I wasn't the only one running late so only a little embarassment.
Challenge Number 4: Because my horse is the greenest I will now automatically go first for every exercise. Brilliant! First exercise trot then canter through these ground poles. *Gulp* I've been cantering Fox a bit at home but not over poles yet. Come on Wonder Pony! And we successfully manage that.
Challenge Number 5: This will be only the second time Fox has seen a real show jumping course will Wonder Pony rise to the occasion? There were a few "EEK a SCARY FENCE!" moments but Fox made it over everything. We made turns, steering can sometimes still be an issue, jumped things that Fox found scary and generally had a great time.
Challenge Number 6: Will Wonder Pony get back in to the trailer without fuss so I can leave him to watch the other lessons. I'm quite sure I could have left him standing tied to the trailer without issues but for my own sanity I wanted him back in. He made a try at being stubborn but after a few minutes he got back in settled in to eat hay and bask under his fan.
Challenge Number 7: Do I submit to the jet blast of cold water in the barn's shower or go for a sponge and bucket bath? I braved it, shrieking like a five year old girl, and managed to get all the sweat of the day off and wash my hair.
Clinic Day 2:
Challenge Number 1: Again as I have the greenest horse we were the trail blazers for everything. Could we improve on the day before and get Fox out of this immediate break check, peek at the fence then lurch over thing he'd been doing. YES! Judicious use of my jumping bat about two or three strides out had Wonder Pony rocking back, lifting his feet and actually producing a big boy jump. Who knew an actually jumper lurked in there?
Challenge Number 2: The Corner Jump. EEEK! From both me and Fox. I'd never jumped a corner, not even with Seneca so this was new and a bit scary, but we managed it. I had to one hand the reins, the other swatting him on the butt but we leaped our first corner!
Challenge Number 3: Remaining silent and unresponsive when a couple of obviously not eventer people started making catty comments about a rider in the ring. They were awful and the other eventer I was sitting with and I went dead silent and just tried to ignore them.
Challenge Number 4: Managing to get my trailer turned around in a tight area without having to back up too much, AND without mangling either the truck, the trailer or anything else. DID IT! So proud of that one.
So over all Fox and I had a fantastic weekend. We learned alot about jumping, I learned alot about my pony and myself. Dom was fabulous! He was funny and informative. He likes to not only tell you what to do but how to do it and why you're doing it. As in doing A. will produce this result and this is why and how it effects the over all ride. He was tough but fair as long as you listened and tried to implement what he was teaching you.
Fox will now get about a month off as I deal with work trips and other vile things. There will be grooming thrown in there but that's it until I get back in mid-August. Then we'll focus on flatwork and jumping basics with a goal of trying to go to a starter trial in October or November.
And yes I was an extreme fan girl. At the end of day two along with all the teenage riders I lined up so that Dom could sign my XC helmet. I'm hoping he will come back again and we can show him how much we've improved. And my eventing love has been sparked a bit more. Keep it between the flags everyone.