I wrote this up a week and a half (or so) ago, & I guess I hit save not publish... better late than never, I suppose!
As the name suggests, Pre-Training (PT) is the level that comes before Training here in Canada. Almost identical to Novice, but we run at 450 or 425... something like that, and our brush fences can only be 3'3 or 3'6 or something, not 3'7. That one inch makes all the difference!
Anyway, Cadence will be competing in her first Pre-Training this weekend. In preparation, we headed out for a quick SJ/XC school today. Probably not the best move, since she had 4 days off following champs, then a w/t/hack school, and a relatively light dressage school on Saturday. She had another holiday Sunday, and then we took her out xc.... cue the disaster. She was in her shiny (not any more) new bit, a level 1 Myler D ring w/o hooks, and thank god she was because she was an absolute mental case. She started off the day by leaping into the air and nearly dumping me... because she didn't want to trot past a bench outside the ring. Then we had to spend 15 minutes at the canter working on the whole 'calm' thing, and by the time we actually got around to jumping I was exhausted. She jumped well, but was hot as hell. She wasn't too bad to hang onto, but if you set her back to the speed that we were looking for (a normal 12 foot canter stride) she'd lay on you & either die a bit, swap leads, or try to barge out her right shoulder. Fun. We jumped a few fences on a circle to get some breaks in place, then after screaming over a few lines (& jumping her first liverpool, which she didn't even look at) we took a quick break to fix my half-chap (which had actually fallen right off) and let my coach berate us a bit. However, when I hopped back on I was able to breathe & focus, and get some breaks! Yah. No disastrous fence-leaping here! So we moved on to XC.
She flat out refused the VERY FIRST FENCE! Our first real refusal all year!! I was unimpressed. After that little wake up call that I was goign to have to actually sit up and ride, things improved. She was difficult & strong, but we started to make some headway on the whole breaks & steering thing. Once we had that more under control, we attempted a ditch... and she refused again! I was stunned. After a quick boot, we hopped it from a stand still... so I suppose it COULD be counted as a non-refusal, but that would be a lie. Anyway, that was the last refuasal we had. Banks & drops were no problem, & big ditches weren't either. She did rub a few fences though... which is odd. Mostly when she was busy spooking at the tractor 4 FIELDS AWAY. Anywho, we learned an important lesson: mare w/o exercise = spooky, neurotic, high-strung, runaway train. Oh, and a lot more work from me.
A/N: She was ridden/lunged every single day following that xc school, as per our coaches orders!