“Derby” Play Day

5-12 Photography

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!

5-12 Photography

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.

5-12 Photography

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!

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