Monday, June 2, 2014

First BN under our belts!

So the derby and clinic was this weekend.  TSB will have photos, I know, but I am camera and picture-taking challenged, so you'll have to wait for her photos and her show story.  :)

BUT!   My show story is this, perhaps abbreviated ...

Hawley Bennett came up on Friday to teach two days of clinics at our barn prior to the clinic.  I am entirely impressed with her teaching style, very positive in her critique: very helpful without being harsh.  She clearly understands how to teach riders as well as ride her own horses, and she clearly understands the ideas behind the ICP training.  Everyone came out of the clinics feeling like they'd learned something and progressed, and everyone came out with a smile.   Personally, she's very pleasant, too.  She's friendly and workmanlike and entirely nice to talk and listen to!  I would ride with her without hesitation.

I wasn't able to clinic with Hawley, though -- I have champagne taste on a Faygo budget -- but I did manage to get into a group with MT on Saturday.  Apollo was a little bit up and excited, having been penned up all day watching horses do all kinds of crazy things around him.  That plus my sudden inability to jump made our first 15 minutes a little tough -- somehow I managed to forget to not exactly release over the fences, but keep steady contact, and I was catching my poor pony in the mouth.  Sigh.  Cardinal sin. I did manage to get it sorted, though, and the next 30-40 minutes went well.

I'd looked at the full Beginner Novice cross-country course the day before.  It was a nice course, flowy but with some lines that I knew I had to ride very carefully in order to set myself up for problem-free jumping.  There were a few jumps on course that we hadn't jumped before, including a few big table/coop thingies (slant front, flat top) that were close to max height for the level, and a hanging log with brush under it that was max height.  I figured Apollo would take a hard look at the log with brush, and I knew I would give the coopie thingies a look, even though we've jumped one of them before.  I didn't think the definitely max height cabin would be an issue at all. I mean, we've jumped it a lot!  How bad can it be?

Oh, silly, silly me.

Apollo didn't think twice about the log jump.  It was nothing to him, not a worry, nothing.  The cabin?  HOLY CRAP WE CANNOT JUMP THAT!  BREAK RIGHT!

Honestly, I just didn't have a good enough line or enough motivation for him, so he did indeed break right, just in front of the fence.  I hit the ground.  Sigh.  Not hard, so I picked myself up and got back on (getting on the cabin to mount was harder than mounting the horse!).   Came at it again.   He ducked right again.   I stayed on; MT said line and straightness.   Came at it again.  He ducked right again.  I fell again.   This time, once I picked myself up again, MT said "Go get your spurs."

Heh.  I've never ridden Apollo in spurs before, or if I have, only once or twice.  I got back out to the field, after some atta-girls from some friends (much needed encouragement!), and went back to it.  We did the loop on that field again - blue barrels, kind of small; coopy thing, large for the level; log, not big; coopy thing, large; cabin, max.

Before the cabin, I put my leg on HARD and poked him with the spur, and damned if he didn't go.  :)   I lost my balance a little, but all was well, and we continued on our merry way.  Hooray!

After the lesson, MT had a bit of advice or kudos for each rider - to me, he just said, "tomorrow, wear your spurs."  

So that was Saturday.  It took me several hours to realize that OW, I bruised my elbow something fierce, but other than that, all was well.

To be continued ...