Wow - a whole WEEK with no posts...let me run down the past week for you..it has been a long one that is for sure.
So, remember Equus last weekend..? Here is how that unfolded:
Saturday afternoon, we move Chester up to Joyce & Kelly's barn. Because we were headed North and Chester is 30 minutes South of where Kelly and Joyce have their horses. The normal preparation of packing, bathing, braiding etc ensues. Great! the NOT great part - getting up at 4:00 a.m. for the 3 hour drive the next morning...Man, it is DARK on the 401 at 4:30 a.m. That's all I have to say. So, I am pulling into the farm which is about 40 minutes North of Orangeville. It is grey, dark, damp and dismal...a great day for eventing. As I am walking over to the Secretary's table, my phone rings and it is Kelly. As soon as I saw who it was, I knew there was something wrong.
"Um, we have a problem. The wheel fell off the trailer, the horses are in a Tim Horton;s parking lot in Port Perry and we are in Bailieboro trying to get another trailer."
"WHAT?! Are you guys okay? Are the horses okay?"
Everyone was fine...so, at this point in time Kelly's day was a write off because her times would have been over before they even could have gotten to the show. My times would have been pushing it. The earliest they would have gotten there would have been 1030, my dressage test was for 1055...not a chance that was feasible. So, we talked about it and I said to Kelly I would talk to the Secretary and see if there was the possibility of moving my time a little later and have her drop down into entry, but go Haut Concours (not judged). Long story short, the way the times worked out, there was no way that would have worked because I was already at the end of my division and they were jam packed. So, we made the decision to scratch. What a freakin bummer that was. So, by 9:30 in the morning, I had driven to and from 40 minutes North of Orangeville, or almost 500kms. It was a great start. NOT how we expected to be spending our weekend, that is for sure.
On Monday, when I got to the barn, I was still exhausted from the day before and everyone was just getting ready to leave. I looked at them all and said 'I am so not in the mood right now'. Jen said 'it's sort of an off day anyways' and that is all I needed to hear - Chester got the day off. :-)
Tuesday was fun. We rode outside - I am getting every last bit of riding outside that I can for the next couple weeks. It is DARK at 725pm...which is usually about 15 minutes AFTER I get on. So, I have a feeling my outdoor riding is going to be limited to weekends very soon. :( We did a course, then we jumped 3'6, on purpose, for the first time...reason being is were planning on going a fair this weekend ([plans changed, we're not going anymore), and I wanted to make sure we could do the max height that one of the classes was set for. Jen said to me 'At that height, he actually uses himself and JUMPS the jump'...needless to say, The Pickle can jump that height no problem. Good Pickle.
Wednesday - YAY WEDNESDAY....we returned to John Hobson's place for xc session #2. The goal 'get moving FORWARD and get INTO the WATER' was set.
Moving Forward - You know - I think I have figured this out. The problem (shockingly enough) is me...imagine that. After a disastrous gymnastic line to warm up (3 fences a stride apart), my canter is, in John's words, "None of this a la dressage canter bullshit, you have to RIDE him"...okay, that is problem #1. Problem #2 - I DO have my leg on...the problem, is that I hang on his mouth. Why am I doing that? Because, I think I am still a little hesitant/nervous/confidence lacking when it comes to jumping fixed obstacles at speed...why? Well, you take a 10 year break and come back into in when you are 30...I'm not as brave as I used to be. When and if I fall off, I KNOW how much it is going to hurt. I am 85% there. I even said it to John once 'I know what my problem is...my leg is on, but, I'm not letting him move into it because I'm holding him back." John, gives me a look and said 'I couldn't have told it to you better myself'. I need to trust my horse more. He WANTS to do it. He WANTS to make me happy. He TRUSTS me, I need to trust him more. In other words, keep my leg on, do NOT hold him back through his bridle. We moved up in complication from last time...big time. We did bigger drops, bigger banks, tougher combinations..and he was GREAT. We even cantered right to and over a ditch...with no hesitation. Now, if I can just be that bit more confident...we will HAVE IT. Now, the water. The little crossing...was not a problem in the least. Exactly like the last time, Chester was happy to go through it: walk, trot, canter. He was great. The water complex...he wanted NOTHING to do with it..even with another horse there to lead him through, he said, not a chance. On to Plan B. This included: a halter, lunge rope, rubber boots, lunge whip, and a very frustrated Carrie. Jen (who I have told will be coming with me as my groom when I move up the levels because of this exact situation), looks at me, takes the reins from my hands (because by now I have dismounted and am about to lose my shit) and says "be patient. He will do it." And she took and they stood, not moving at the edge of the water (after some coaxing of course). She just had him stand there, while we waited for John to come back and for me to calm down...because I was about to have a fit. After the coaxing with the lunge whip, John had Chester in the water!!! and he was happily *well, maybe NOT* happily standing in the water. After John walked him in and out several times, he to me 'Get on and get him through'...so on I get...and in we went!! HE DID IT!! :-) I was overly proud (and overly thankful Jen was there to keep me calm). We were walking, trotting, cantering, in and out of the water from all different directions. To end it off...we cantered in, through and OUT OVER A BIG LOG!! :-) YAY CHESTER!!! So proud of him. We'll go back in a couple weeks where we WILL be forward, we WILL be trusting of each other (me more so then him) and it will be the best damn xc schooling session EVER. And John is going to ride him so he can show me how it is done...THAT I can't WAIT to see...:-)
More soon...and I will try to put up some video later...