We’re nearing the end of the week with little to no end in sight as far as long hard days go! I have to say, despite the exhaustion, I’m learning so much and really having a blast prepping for our fall season. We have so many good horses in the barn and being busy is SUCH a better alternative to being slow and only having a few horses. We took a set cross-country schooling this morning and Poppers got to go. We started out by just trotting around the field and up and down hills on a light contact. I had a different bit on him today (thanks to Lizzie’s infinite kindness of not wanting me to be underbitted galloping around next weekend!) and it was a bit of a change for me…I have galloped with the 2-ring snaffles before but galloping a racehorse and cantering around xc is a bit different…so it took me a while to get used to keeping my hands quiet, and also to canter OFF his back as opposed to in the ring when I sit. He peeked at the warm-up fence (a small coop in the shadows) and I took my leg off, per usual. He felt so forward coming up to it that I forgot he might back off a stride out. Woops. The second time was a little better although I still felt a little loose in the tack and sloppy with my reins and upper body. Then we did a Novice-sized brush at the bottom of the hill and cantered up and around to a small log. I still felt disorganized coming to the brush but he jumped it better and then the log went well. He was really booking it around the turn and I got in his face a bit too much, forgetting that he didn’t have a plain snaffle in. He is a forgiving boy, though. We headed down to the water complex and just walked and trotted through a couple of times before doing a tiny, baby drop into it. What did I do? Naturally took my leg off and sat there as he came to a complete stop and refused to drop down. C had to remind me (in the harsh tone I deserved) to use my stick. I don’t know why my reaction time was so slow! I just froze. Nevertheless, one smack and he dropped down and cantered out. We did it several more times and he never peeked again. Then we practiced trotting over the baby ditch(my nemesis) and he was perfect over it! Lizzie told me that when we’re actually on course next weekend everything will seem easier because he’ll be rolling and in the zone and not peeking at things or questioning me. I am so excited to do it but so nervous too! I can’t believe Lizzie and C jump those HUGE fences and I’m nervous about Novice, haha. I’m hoping just going and doing it will ease my nerves a little bit. We shall see! One week and counting.
I also got the opportunity to jump Guppy over a couple of small fences. His stride might be the biggest stride I’ve ever sat on, he is INCREDIBLE but a completely different ride than Pop. I was quite sloppy on him I thought but C was happy.
The best news of the day is that Lizzie is a saint and one of the most generous people I’ve ever met…she is letting me borrow her GORGEOUS Amerigo saddle for Full Gallop next weekend. It is so nice and comfortable and fits Pop like a glove. She has no idea how much this means to me. We’re also working on finding me a show coat and breeches that are in my price range…her mom has a tack shop and is absolutely wonderful, doing all the research and stuff to find me the best product for my meager bank account. I’m so grateful to everyone (C included!) who is going above and beyond to help me do this sport. Without them I wouldn’t have a shot.
More long days headed my way so I better hit the sack! Have a great weekend!