SO with my babies, I go and ride the horse I have that day...Not a big deal, approached like any other schooling day, sortof...I don't nit pick, I don't demand perfection, I plod around and say "good horsee". So far, it's really paid off.
Today was a first show for Splash and Journey. They each have had minimal outings, Journey having XC schooled off the farm last summer and Splash having been trailered to ride at two other indoors over the course of the winter...well, free jumped, I guess... anyway, a first horse show. For Splash, it was not only a first show, she has never jumped a full course before, never seen more than my small 2' fake stone wall and plain painted rails, I was interested to see how she took to the bright colors and decorations. She totally took it all in and performed at her best. She understands that those two vertical poles means jump in the middle. She was a bit tense, but for being just 4, her first show, first course, chilly, windy, rainy, I SO could not complain. She was a complete professional and jumped around like she was born ready to show. Our first round was a little sticky, I had planned on trotting but she really wanted to canter everything, so it was a little herky jerky, which is fine. Our second course I let her roll a little, meanwhile she was expecting me to make her trot so still a little jerky but it ironed itself out and we had a couple of really nice fences. Overall, I'm really pleased with her progress. Oh and lets not forget, she's only been in a real program for 6 weeks....SO who's got two thumbs and a giant smile on her face?? This girl right here! :)
Journey I feel like is a special case. He's older than most "prospects" but has really done a limited amount of anything. We acquired him in Feb 2013, started him in full work in about mid May of that year. His owner will probably not utilize all of his talents, so there is a line to balance of keeping him safe and ridable for her but keeping him in training to further his progress as well. His flatwork is pretty minimal, straight, forward...whoa and go, small amounts of bending is really all he has to offer, and that is beyond OK, it's all his owner needs to do.... His jumping we also tried to keep simple, lots of grids, single fences, no pressure, no stress....and really it paid off. Today Journey started a bit "up" and I was hesitant (where did a summers worth of training go?? clearly forgotten...) but after a good lope around and after pointing him to his first fence he remembered all that we had taught him. To ride him he's a bit wiggly, not hugely fit (something else we keep in check so he remains ridable for his owner) but watching him go around he looked like he was packing ME around... trot the jump, land trot on, and so forth, no running, pulling or anything bad, just leg on and jump the jump. It was really great to watch the video and see just how far he has come. He never was particularly brave, but didn't bat an eye at any of the questions presented at the show, once he jumped a couple of fences, he started to see his spot and stay on task. His eye was following mine, it was a really great start for him for this year. The height was not exciting for him, but we're going to keep it small and simple and iron out some of the wiggling, but I think this year will be a great one for him.
My fun ride for the day was a pony from THF. Teddy belongs to a young girl that is away at school, so I have the pleasure of sharing him with Kerry Milliken during the week. I also get to lesson on him with Kerry which is really great... He's a similar ride to Steve just in a smaller package so it helps me in more ways than one. Teddy is a bit of a firecracker and we've been working on getting him to just relax. He gets up to a fence and condenses his stride to a teeeny tiny size and explodes and runs on the other side of the fence. It's getting much better, smoother and more relaxed, and when I missed the 2'6" warm up, I was like "crap." BUT he's a good pony, we get along really well and when the fences went up to 3' I said, well, they'll come down if needed! This pony packed me around today in the 3' (mind you I haven't shown 3' since the summer before my senior year in college!!!) It was SO much fun, I couldn't stop!! He had a couple of fences that were tense but nothing out of control like he can get. Not only was this a "proud" moment for the pony but also for myself... I was able to think about my riding and position over the bigger fences and not worry about what the baby underneath me might do... I ride more green horses in a day than most people ride in a year... it takes its toll!!! It was confidence boosting though to ride, make some little mistakes, not have them cost me and learn from it... Steve is green, and my main show horse at this point, it's good to know that I'm ready to be bumping him up a level and that I can be the rider that he needs for that level...
Anyway, it to sum it all up, it was a really super day for everyone, the facilities there are wonderful and everyone was so so nice!!! A really super start to the season :)