I'm working on the posts to finish out Katie's questionnaire, but they're taking some time and thought. Mostly the first one, about what I would change about riding/competing/the horse world, because I've been guilty of a few of the sins that bother me the most, and I am duly ashamed of myself for it. Plus, I don't want to make anyone feel like I'm putting them on the spot, especially not on a public blog. It wouldn't be my intention, but we know where intentions lead.
Meanwhile, Apollo and I have been having some fun lately! I wish I had pictures for you, but not having a husband/live-in-SO/buddy who isn't riding or taking photos of someone else or just doing other things makes pictures really challenging. Plus, I'm not a picture-taker in general. I'm generally too busy Doing Things to take pictures of them! Even on vacation, I don't want to stop doing what I'm doing, even if I'm doing Nothing (tm), to take a picture. *grin*
ANYway. The original plan for this last weekend was to compete in the unrecognized horse trials we'd planned to hold at my home barn. A lack of entries scuttled that plan, so the new plan was to do the cross-country clinic the barn folks decided to do instead and ride Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday turned out to be a very fun day! I hadn't really done much cross-country jumping of any truly solid obstacles with Apollo, so it was a fun test. He was, of course, a complete rock star! :D We didn't do much in the way of big obstacles, just a simple log on the ground, a slightly bigger log, a slightly-bigger-than-that double log, and practiced over the big mound we have for terrain practice, just schooling the mound and then hitting lines from the mound. I haven't had that much fun cross-country ... well, ever! :) I wasn't afraid at any point, and cantering around wasn't a big deal either. Have I mentioned lately how much I love that horse? Cause I do.
The takeaways I have from Saturday are mainly GO ON and keep a steady rhythm to the base of the fence, and keep going through my turns. Keep going where I can, learn that 350-400 mpm pace.
Sunday was supposed to be the second day of the clinic, and it was ... for everyone else. Apollo pulled his RF shoe half off and twisted it, so no riding for me that day. I do have to say, though, that my farrier is an absolutely wonderful guy. Not only did he pick up the phone at 9 AM on a Sunday, but he came out, in obscene heat, that afternoon at 2 to reset Apollo's shoe and to put hind shoes on another horse -- kind of a "since you was up" kind of deal.
I managed to grab a make-up lesson on cross-country this morning early, to beat the again obscene heat, and it was another unequivocal success. :) I'd asked to school the bank, since there'll almost certainly be a bank on the course at a show I'm headed to next weekend, and jump a few bigger jumps. So we did. :)
An interesting note -- at the clinic where I ended up breaking my face, the whole catastrophe started when the clinician had us going down a bank. I wasn't riding it correctly, and the clinician wasn't doing anything to help me, and things really started to spiral down from there. I made the same mistake this morning, and MT was able to help me through it, rather than send me off and off and off again and expect me to fix it myself. (For future reference and cementing of instructions, the way for me to ride a down bank on this horse is to not lean way way back, just sit straight up, be very positive in the rhythm, lengthen and soften my rein, sit several strides out from the drop, and keep my leg on very tight. The leg and not leaning way back is critical, otherwise I lose my balance side to side. Plus, shortening my stirrups helped a lot.)
We also jumped a couple of larger-ish jumps, which I hadn't jumped with Apollo before and which I didn't show him. I just ... yknow, set a line, chose a rhythm, and kicked on, and he went well. I rode well. :D That's a feeling I'm not used to, the feeling of a horse that'll go.
So overall, huge success. I'm looking forward to the derby at Rafter K in a week and a half, and certainly looking forward to lessons and riding before then, too. :)