May started off with a positively disasterous xc school. Cadence was in heat, and proudly displayed some of t he worst behaviour I've ever seen from a horse. She didn't want to leave her buddies, she was hot-headed & inattentive, and requesting even the most simple of tasks would result in her grabbing the bit, refusing to move, or leaping up in the air and bolting. She'd spin, spring, and bolt if you asked her to trot, turn, halt, walk, move, stop moving, etc. and the behaviour continued on for almost two hours. At the end we'd worked through enough of it that she was humble and willing to calmly jump a few fences from the trot and the canter. We even hopped down a few banks just to be sure. However, a few days later we encountered the same behaviour at home only this time it was triggered by me asking her to bend right in the canter, and refusing to let her say no. Her behaviour became so dangerous I actually asked someone to come stand in the ring with me while I rode her so they could call 911. Again, it took 1.5-2 hours until she'd trot calmly around the ring... but we never really did get that right bend. Sometimes though you just have to cut your losses & quit while you're ahead.
Since Cadence's behaviour had approached (and then surpassed without so much as a backwards glance) dangerous, I gave her to my BO for some bootcamp style ground driving & lunging. Then after a tumultuous few sessions, my coached hopped on her once for me before I took her back.
June started out with me working through the remnants of Cadence's bossiness. There were still some tough rides, & a few sticky spots but we worked through it successfully enough to go off property for a stadium school in early June & head off to a Bronze dessage show about half way through the month.
The jump school actually went pretty well. The jumping part was fine- whe wasn't leaping, barging, bolting, or grabbing over jumps. In fact the only issue we had arose from a trailer pulling in as we were warming up. I guess one of the boarders had hauled out somewhere, but their return (and the subsequent situation of the trailer near the one corner of the ring) was both distracting and terrifying to the mare. Approaching that corner of the ring would lead to spinning, shying, bolting, leaping through the air, grabbing the bit, etc. At first I tried correcting her, but as she was legitimately frightened (and not just acting up) this really only led to her getting more wound up. The only thing that really worked for getting her head back on her shoulders? Pointing her at a jump. Then she was rideable, calm, and focused. Silly mare.
Cadence also did pretty well at the dressage show considering we still didn't have much of a stretch in the trot. We scored 56% and 63% in Training 2 & 3 respectively. She would have been far more successful had we not cantered through the trot stretches, but considering the fact that a month prior we'd been leaping through the air at the suggestion of right bend? I was pleased. She placed 3rd in T2 and 1st in T3.
Aww, look at the sweet innocence. If only she acted that way!
In July the Mare finally started to really pull through. We went out xc for the first time since her episode in May, and had an awesome day. It was just Cadence and a baby who had never been out xc before, so we chose somewhere small. They just had 1 field of jumps, ranging from intro to novice, but it was perfect for what we needed. Mare Face was a super star, & the only issue we had was when a bird flew out of one of the jumps! Fair enough... jumps regurgitating living animals is really quite terrifying!
On the 21, we went to an XC derby and Cadence cruised around her first official XC course. We trotted several of the fences, and had one refusal at the second fence, which was a scary log that kind of surprised her as you had to cut through a tree line and then it was right there on the right. She just spooked at it, but we circled around & hopped over it. There was actually a mistake later on in the course (at another jump through a tree line) because I circled her & brought her back down to a trot. There was a young kid jump judging, they counted the jump as a refusal even though the fence hadn't been presented. Anywho, even with that error (& a few time faults picked up from trotting half the course!) we still came in 2nd place and had the fastest time.
Dressage went quite well considering it was right after xc, and we scored a 68%. We would have done better, except I goofed up our entrance & rode to C instead of tracking left to H... ah well! Stadium was also good with a clear round inside the time.
A video with clips form all 3 phases at the xc trial
August. Well, August has been amazing. On the 11, Cadence and I completed our first event. She won Open Pre-Entry (lowest Canadian division... kind of in between Intro and BN) by 12 points, scoring a 75.59% in dressage (36.8 penalty points), earning 0 faults stadium, and going clear XC but picking up a few time faults to end on a score of 42.8 pp. The event was fabulous- wonderfully run and the courses were spectacular! There was a skinny in stadium, and one out xc too. Cadence had never really jumped a skinny before, so I was pleased when she popped right over the little blue fence in our SJ round & doubly pleased when she jumped over the skinny log (flanked by trees, & flower pots, and all sorts of scary things) out xc with not TOO much convincing from me ;) Overall, the day was wonderful, & I could not have been prouder of my girl.
She looks a bit long & low here... better in the video
Not my best moment, but look at the scenery!
Way to use your neck mare... over the smallest jump on the course!