I've had a few lessons - one was bad but learned a bunch. Basically, I kept picking for the short distance but never had Charlie in front of my leg so we crashed through one jump and then he said no thanks at the next one. He almost got me off - I ended up in front of the saddle and smacked my chin on his poll. I was definitely seeing stars afterwards. Amy had me gallop around to get him in front of my leg and we tried again. He jumped but it wasn't pretty - pretty much felt like a wild indian galloping down all the lines. I walked away from that lesson a bit down.
Next two lessons were much better. I focused on keeping Charlie in front of my leg and keeping my hand soft between the jumps. Crazy how every distance just seems to work when you're going forward. After our last lesson, I took Charlie out in Amy's jump field where we jumped the banks and the ditch on our own. Charlie was brilliant! Didn't hesitate over anything. I was a bit surprised only because we haven't gone XC schooling since last fall. Oops!
This past weekend was the schooling horse trials at the Carolina Horse Park. I went up early on Saturday to meet Amy for some XC schooling at the park. They've changed the format up a bit this year and have schooling on Saturday with the HT running on Sunday. I was running a bit late due to traffic and then Charlie proceeded to pull a hind shoe in the stall being an idiot. He's just that talented folks. Since it was a hind foot and I didn't see any holes from him stepping on the clip, I decided to school anyway. He was simply amazing! We did most of the training level course and he just ate everything up. He actually broke to the canter in the water, didn't bat an eyelash at the water-filled ditch (did I mention it's basically been a non-stop monsoon here?), aannnddd jumped the trakehner on the first go round. He took a little peak while we were in the air but that was it!!!! I can't believe how lucky I am to have such a wonderful pony!
After I tucked him in for the night, I spent the night with my friend Clair. I got to the horse park bright and early on Sunday in hopes of finding the farrier. Lucky for me he was there by 7:30 and kindly tacked Charlie's hind shoe on even though Charlie was being a total dork. The loud speaker's must bring back memories of the track because anytime he hears them, he loses some of his marbles.
I was a little too laid back about getting on for dressage and poor Charlie literally got to trot and canter once in each direction and then we went in the ring. Oops! He was really good considering. He was only slightly distracted and our bending kind of sucked but he was obedient and forward so I was basically ecstatic. We ended up with a 34.4 and all 6s and 7s - not quite sure how that happened but I'll take it. Judge even said we were a nicely matched pair - awww!
Show jumping was good despite my crappy riding - I kinda, sorta forgot to think while I was in the ring. Poor Charlie probably thought I was a bit crazy because 1 second I was telling him to go right and the next, I was telling him to go left. Oh well, he more than made up for me and we had a clear round. We went straight to XC and to say Charlie was ready to go is a bit of an understatement. He could see the horses leaving the start box and didn't really understand why he had to wait to join the fun. Getting in the start box was well, interesting. Once we got out on course, he was strong as in really strong. I wasted a lot of time in the beginning getting him back before the fences but once we hit the halfway point, he was a little more rateable. Even with the antics, I was still really happy with him. He was super bold and brave to everything. And even though it took him a bit to listen to me when I tried to half-halt, he still ultimately listened. Because we spent so much time fighting about speed (or maybe I should say quality of gait), we had 4 time penalties. If we hadn't had those, we would have been second but we ended up with a pretty white ribbon (seems to be a theme - last fall we were fourth as well). All in all, an outstanding weekend! Pics can be seen here - High Time Photography.
Picture of Charlie's new halter - unfortunately, you can't really see the chrome hardware. But it sure looks pretty in person!
Now for the contest - first person to tell me who's farm gates the below picture is of will win a bottle of Canter Silk Mane and Tail Conditioner. ETA - Pic was taken while I was in Lexington for Rolex...