Monday, April 8, 2019

One Small Step for Chimi.... One Giant Step for Me

This past weekend Chimi and I had our first adventure in a really long time. And it was the perfect clearing of head space/gaining momentum/getting out of the funk and starting fresh! On Saturday we headed off to Windridge and went CROSS COUNTRY SCHOOLING. Though the jumps were small and we rode with tiny children and their feral ponies, the weather was perfect and it was a fantastic day. 

Proof that I rode my horse!

The Pony Club that I'm a Horsemaster member of (yay for never growing up!) had a mounted meeting with local trainer, AT, on Saturday. She's a pretty accomplished rider, and a friend, so I knew that she would be a good person to have eyes on the ground to get us started for our first time out in almost a year (seriously- this coming weekend marks the 1 year anniversary of "Dammit Chimi" and that was the last time we did anything other than fun trail rides with Sara before the Hoof Crack of Doom and the Never Ending Rain of Winter)

We met up with AT over by the water jump at Windridge and she did the typical "hello, who are you, what are you up to" meet and greet with the 4 of us. It was really cute listening to the kids talk about their ponies and say "we're jumping 18' cross rails. My pony doesn't pick up his right lead. My pony's herd bound" It was super adorable because they were really into talking about their ponies! AT was such a trooper and taught the kids how to do a half bridge and it was great to see the kids figure out how it worked and for the girl who's horse was a bit of a turd (ok a HUGE turd) when it came time to cantering she had so much more control over her feral creature by using the half bridge. It really might of been the highlight of the day seeing those kids' faces light up and learn something helpful! 

the most adorable feral pony zooming past Chimi- seriously wanted to steal him!!!!

Anyways after practicing change of pace and transitions we headed over to the warm up area where AT had us start over a pole on the ground. With Chimi she had me really work on his pace to the pole and not let him charge forward bc he felt like it. She wanted me to bring him back to a walk right before the pole and just walk over it to keep his brain in check and prevent him from charging at the tiny thing. She said that when she was down in Fla this past winter, the 5* horses that were coming back into work after their month or so off would spend a lot of time reintroducing the basics with poles. It was nice to hear that even horses that have run around Kentucky have to start over again and that taking your time to start slowly was the key to their success as they bounced back from poles on the ground to being 5* bound. 

After playing around with the poles on the ground she set up a tiny X and after everyone went over that a few times I asked her if she'd take Chimi over some of the bigger jumps. I wasn't feeling confident with myself after the fall in February and I knew AT would be a great person to take Chimi over the jumps if he did something squirrelly. Thankfully she obliged and popped him over some of the logs and he was perfect! I wish I had it on video to watch over and over again how she rode him to the jumps, but she gave him such a solid ride and with the prep work with the poles and adjustability on the flat he gave her a great ride and didn't do any of his shenanigans. I really took it to heart watching how soft her elbow and arm was b/c that's one of my weaknesses. I tend to get stiff and lock my elbow when approaching the jump which then creates a shit jump, gets Chimi mad at me, makes him want to pull more, which then makes me get stiffer in my elbows- basically a vicious circle of crap riding. 

Not crap riding- coming out of the water at The Fork
After enjoying the brief jump school (seriously- she was probably on him 5-10 minutes) we headed back over to the water to enjoy a splash before calling it a day. The kids were so funny because as soon as they got their ponies in the water it was non stop trotting back and forth! I took Chimi in briefly but the kids were having so much fun zooming around in the water that I just stood off to the side and basked in the happiness from a successful XC schooling. 

A lot of people struggled with this line- the flag came down many times and there were quite a few glance offs of the corner.
On Sunday I headed over to TIEC to watch some 4* action and had such a great time. The weather was perfect yet again, overcast and cool but no rain. I wish I had gotten Sharon White's save of the day on video b/c her horse caught a leg and lurched over the sunburst jump almost unseating Sharon  but righted herself back in the saddle and 5 strides later jumped a massive corner that was DOWNHILL from the first jump. I hope the jump judge sends the video of it into Eventing Nation or something because it was EPIC and deserves to be seen!!!