Our regular Saturday lesson took on a different form over the weekend — the trainers set up a derby/medal style course so we could practice. They gave us one “hunter/handy/eq/medal” course (I know they are all different things but we didn’t exactly need to jump 5 or 6 courses) and one “jumper” optimum time course. I put them in quotes because depending on the job of whichever horse & rider pair, the courses would be ridden differently.
Eli and I took both courses in our current hunter mindset and used up a lot of the arena space. My trainer instructed me to take my time, do simple changes if needed, and if Eli got quick or anxious to stop and walk for a second to reorganize and start again. I also got permission to skip fence 8 on the “jumper” course because it was a skinny wall–the wall that Eli jumps with sometimes too much excitement. We can tackle that thing separately (he always jumps it, but frequently over jumps it and lands a bit lit up–not what we are going for right now).
For the most part, the courses rode really well for Eli. He is turning into a kick ride at home and nothing about either course phased him. The option jumps in the first course — a Swedish with no ground lines and a skinny wall — gave me an interesting choice: take the inside track to the Swedish with no ground lines, or take the wider track to the skinny wall that I didn’t want to jump, but it might have been a better line to fence 5. I made the line from the Swedish with no problem, though, so that answers that question. I didn’t realize this until after I rode it that this course was ALL right turns. I had an issue with the distance at fence 2 and then randomly rode rather pathetically down the line of fences 5 & 6 because I forgot to count, so I took fences 2-6 a second time, which turned out much better than the first time. Maybe one day we’ll be the pair who gets it right the first time!
The second course gave us both left and right turns, haha. I had a chippy situation at fence 4, but everything else rode really well. Because of the chip, after fence 4 I asked for a simple change and Eli had no problem getting right back up to pace before the line. I asked to work on fence 4 alone after the course. I chipped it again! ARG! My trainer walked me through what was happening and I finally got it right.
I also apparently can’t keep from dropping my left shoulder without twisting to the right into a cronut.
I iced Eli’s legs after and he got SO MANY carrots. We had such a fun day! Nobody spooked at the flocked Christmas tree, either. Special thanks to 5-12 Photography for documenting the day!