Monday, June 13, 2011

Cross Country and Lessons

Alright. My appologies for the length of time in between updates.  I'm in my last week of classes, and next week's finals.  Gotta love school.  We also have the joys of ending a lot later than everybody else.  Only a week left.  Actually, that's a pretty terrifying thought... there's a lot of work to get done in that week. 
Anyhow, on to the cross country/cc/xc/x-country.  You get the point.  When we got off of the trailer, Cadence was hilarious.  She wouldn't go near anything.  Like nowhere near anything.  She'd go shooting sideways across the field, realize that we were approaching another fence from the other side and go back again.  It was pretty funny.  A little discouraging, but what can you do. 
By following some of the other horses around (There was the 6y/o mare (Beans) that we trailered with, an awesome draft cross (Jake) looking to upgrade to prelim, and a cute little bay (Can't remember...) going pre-training/training)  we managed to warm up relatively well.  We sort of partnered off into pairs, me and the younger mare and the two old boys.  The boys worked over a couple of warmup fences, and then it was our turn.  I'd been attempting to get Cadence near one little 2'3 log and a tiny 2'3 pile of 3 telephone posts, to limited levels of success.  They were pretty close to each other, maybe two strides in between, and we'd managed to make it in between the two but that was about as close as we'd gotten.  Beans hopped over the pile and the log with a lead from Jake (She'd been xc once the previous year) and then popped over a couple of times all by herself.  Then, Cadence and I snugged up to Bean's butt and we followed her up to the log pile.  A couple of strides away, I felt her gretting that wiggly unsureness, and put a bit of preassure on.  I don't think Cadence really realized what she was doing until she was half way over hte fence :P  It sort of goes unsaid that she waaaay over jumped and cleared it by a mile and a half, but I'll add it in anyways. 
We followed Beanie over it again, essentially repeating the previous attempt. That's when I think it all sort of clicked with her.  Ohh!  We go OVER them!  Wow, this is sort of fun....
We went over the log then behind bean, and tried them both on our own.  She was so funny.  She didn't rush any of them, until we were over.  Stopping her afterwards required some work, but she was never out of control.  Just energetic.  We then moved on to a cord of wood, one of the ones with like an entry (Beginner novice) fence on the right and a prelim on the left kind of thing.  Apparently we ended up jumping the prelim one, but she was jumping high enough it didn't really make much of a difference.  Man can that little mare fly!  She's got one hell of a jump in her hind end.  Cadence and Bean took a break then to let the big boys school over a pretty intimidating looking Irish bank.  Jake was such a cool customer!  He handled everything like such a pro, and was a real superstar. 
On the way out of our first field and onto the next (this place was AMAZING! They had such a fantastic property and we barely touched the surface) we popped over a tiny ditch, just to try it.  Cadence couldn't have cared less.  I think she handled the ditch better than anything else... she was so relaxed with it.  We also put together a 4 jump course of never before seen fences with some new styles of fences thrown in and she couldn't have cared less.  She was like 'You're letting me canter up to jumps??' But she still didn't rush her fences.  She'd adjust if she was a bit short, shorten if she was a little long, and respond if i asked her to woah up a bit.  It was pretty fricken amazing.
After that came the water.  We're going to have to work on this a little.  She was pretty good aobut it, but not fantastic.  She'd never seen water that deep, and Beans was freaking out.  She went in once Bean did, but she's got to learn to go by herself.  Our only real catch was wit the banks.  She goes off of 'em pretty green!  There was one little conbination (like pre beginner novice 2' little)that we worked with.  It was a bank (meant to be ridden up) one stride to a little log, if my memory serves me correctly.  We worked up and down the bank a couple of times before trying a real bank (Novice level).  There were trees on either side of the bank.  Keep that in mind.  As per usual, we followed Beans off the bank.  Cadence was getting pretty close to her, and knowing that we were probably going to launch off of it I pulled her off to the left a little, only to get taken out by the tree less than a half stride before the bank.  Then she launched herself 24 feet off the bank, and I clung on for dear life.  Thankfully my horse is awesome and didn't feel the need to buck, so in my stirrupless frenzy, I was able to pull her up and salvage the mess.  We went and practiced the baby bank a couple more times.  The day ended well with us rocking our first real (under 4 stride) combination.  We cantered calmly to the base of the baby bank, popped up it, and rode smoothly over the second fence.  Great way to end a day! 

A/N: The only semi-bad thing that came out of xc is that she sprung a heel (not a biggy since she's having it fixed right now) and now needs a belly guard.  I shouldn't complain, it's great that she tucks up so nice.  However (there's always a but) that's another expense that I REALLY don't need at the moment considering I just sprung for a new bridle.  Ah well, she really does need that belly guard.... there goes my bank account!
I'm off to write a math test.  Cheers!

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