Monday, May 27, 2019

Cross Countr-weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

Chimi rocking out at his very first Beginner Novice at FENCE
So last Monday!!!! Originally this cross country schooling was scheduled for April but the weekend it was supposed to happen it of course poured rain and was rescheduled. Windridge's HT was fast approaching so the schooling had to wait until after the HT (b/c the rule that no one can school XC at the facility 30 days before the show) and then Trainer A was in England visiting family right afterwards. So the rain date ended up being this past Monday which truthfully worked out soooo much better for me. It gave me a good solid month+ to get Chimi really going and work on the things AT had us working on back in April at the last XC schooling.

I didn't get any pictures from the XC schooling so enjoy theses older pics of Windridge.  This is Joey and Becks in 2011? 2012?
I honestly didn't know what to expect. I haven't jumped Chimi over a solid jump since unknown time last year but I had been practicing over a small 2' vertical almost every day the week leading up to the schooling. Height is not the issue with Chimi, it's all about getting his brain working so I set up trot poles and random poles along with my 2' vertical to get Chimi's brain thinking JUMP without putting wear and tear on his body.

It must of worked b/c damn, Chimi was frickin PERFECT. We started out at the warmup area and I worked on adjusting Chimi's pace in each gait. He was responding beautifully and then we popped over the X a couple of times. Then right after that Trainer A said ok jump the oxer. It wasn't very big but was on the wider side for such a small oxer. It for sure was the biggest jump I've jumped since warmup at FENCE HT last in April of 2018!!!! I took a deep breath, relaxed my body and boop! Chimi sailed over it like it was nothing. After that my confidence grew in leaps and bounds and we settled into cross country mode!

Gus Pony and me jumping over the log between the trees circa 2012. This jump was on the course that Trainer A made up for us this past XC schooling

After popping over the solid warm up jumps we headed over to the water complex. At Windridge the water jump is basically in the middle and you've got jumps all around it. Trainer A had planned a simple course using the starter jumps (b/c the people at the schooling were all basically at Starter level) It started out with a red roll top, go through the water and then over a red coop thing with a log on top. Chimi and I ended up going first and Chimi SAILED over the little roll top, FLEW through the water and the proceeded to haul ass to the little coop thing and I check him best I could. Damn horse was feeling great and the little jumps were not stopping him!

Gus at WR 2012...The coop with the log on top...I guess it's actually a BN jump with the log...either way Chimi was like WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE over it

Trainer A kept adding jumps to the course until we had ourselves a decent 12 obstacle course built up. It was basically roll top, through the water, over the coop w/log, turn left and over the cabin, around the prelim corner to the log between the trees, around some other jumps and over the green steps in the shade, down and then back up a hill to a bright blue roll top, backwards over the cabin, to the coop w/log, through the water, and finish over the red roll top. When we did the entire course Chimi was on FIRE. I'd get him lined up to the next jump, close my legs to say that one and he never hesitated. Thankfully there were enough turns in the course that I was able to slow him down so he didn't run off with me b/c he was feeling so good. I finished up over the last jump with a grin from ear to ear. The jumps weren't what we were jumping a year ago but it didn't matter. My horse was back and it felt GOOD. I was ready to end there b/c we'd already been out a good bit but Trainer A was not ready to call it a day.

Chimi used to jump ditches like this! Thankfully he now plops over therm :)

We headed over to the bank and ditch area and I thought "oh shit down banks. Can I please be done?" We had the break through with the down banks last year but I wasn't sure if Chimi remembered. Trainer A looks at me and says "go up the little bank, down the bigger bank, and over the ditch" I looked at her like she was smoking something and was like "The BIG bank?!?!? That thing is huge!" She said "no it's not! It's smaller than the one you did at FENCE" I said "No way! They're the same size plus it's been over a YEAR since we did that!" So she said "ok fine, come down the little bank, over the ditch, up the little bank, and then down the big bank" She wasn't letting me get away with not jumping down the novice bank. So I took a deep breath, gathered my reins and off we went.

The ditch and bigger bank in the background (I know it's not huge, but I'm pretty sure it's on the Novice course?) This was one of the pony clubbers at PC camp in Juneish 2013

We went around the trees, and trotted down the small bank, Ploop! No big deal, We cantered over to the ditch and again Chimi was like ploop, whatevs. I circled back around, forgot I was supposed to go right and go up the small bank and instead popped back over the ditch like it was nothing, and then Chimi canter politely up the bank, again like it was nothing, and the I hear Trainer A call out "Just relax! Take your time!" I brought Chimi back down to the trot, took the biggest breath and went into zen mode and ploop! The next thing I knew Chimi had plopped down the novice bank like it was nothing. I had the biggest damn grin on my face and was not paying attention to where we were going and ended up heading back over the ditch at an angle, but Chimi didn't care. He just popped over the ditch like it wasn't there and got a million and a half good boys and pats from me. We ended on that note and I couldn't of been happier! To come out XC schooling and pop down my nemesis jump like it was nothing after a year off, well I can't even begin to  say how freaking ecstatic I was!!!!

Gus on the other side of the pond at Windridge

After this cross country schooling I really feel like we're ready for forward momentum. I want to get back to taking regular lessons and hopefully head out to some events this fall. Unfortunately Trainer A has decided to retire and isn't teaching regular lessons anymore. She still enjoys getting out and doing a cross country schooling every now and again but doesn't want to teach every week. 

More Game Face Chimi moments please

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Riding with Friends: Hunter Paces for the Win!

This past Sunday and Monday were some of the best riding days I've had in over a year! Ever since Chimi's 6 month vacation due to the Hoof Crack of Doom followed by the Never Ending Winter Rain I've been a bit out of fun horse related activities. It sucked. BUT FINALLY we've gotten enough rides under our belt that Chimi's fitness is mostly back and we've reach a place where we can DO ALL THE THINGS again- WOO!!!!

Picture doesn't do the view or trail justice. But this was out and about on the Hunter Pace 

Sara had contacted KC and I a bit ago and asked if we wanted to go to the FENCE Hunter Pace on the 18th. Sadly it wasn't at FENCE proper (bc it was Carolina Region's Eventing Rally at FENCE that weekend) but instead it was at this private trail location about 20 minutes away called Walnut Creek Preserve. I'd never been there before but had heard the trails were amazing and that we'd love it. So off we went!

Waiting for the start. Finn and KC just chillin
KC was borrowing my little guy Finn for the hunter pace and since I was scheduled to take Chimi XC schooling the next day I decided to bring my mom's horse Mason. Mason is a pretty cool guy and I was excited to see what he'd be like out in the trails. After some trailer issues delayed us actually leaving my house on time(grrrrr) we finally got everything working again and we headed out to meet Sara at the Hunter Pace. (Normally I hooked up the trailer the night before to make sure everything is working but my step daughter graduated from high school on Saturday so that put a major wrinkle in my normal preparation!)

KC and Sara did a great job of talking about the hunter pace already so I'm not going to hash out the same details (b/c I know you guys have probably already read about the hunter pace twice already!) but I will add a few other details :)

Nice wide grassy paths- perfect for trotting or cantering!

Anyways once we got there and checked in we waited for this group of crazy people to leave the start in front of us and then it was our turn! Since this was Eeyore's first hunter pace, KC was on a strange horse, and I didn't know what to expect from Mason, plus none of our guys were super fit and the temp was rising quickly, we went in the trail rider division which is a slower of the two divisions. This worked out perfectly because we could go at whatever pace we needed to to make sure everyone had a great ride. Out on the trail we  really had such a great time. The trails were wide and grassy in some places or well cared for dirt paths through the woods. We had plenty of opportunities to trot and canter and enjoy the day. Laughs and merriment were enjoyed by us all and we were passed a few times by riders and other times we overtook different ones. It ended up being a looooooong ride (about 10 miles) and as soon as we got back we downed glasses of tea b/c thats all that was left at lunch. We said our goodbyes and we went on our separate ways.

Some pretty mountain laurel we saw out on the trail

The next day I got a text from a friend who was also at the hunter pace and she said "Congratulations on your placing!!!" Ummmmm whaaat???? I quickly jumped onto the hunter pace series's website to check quick results and there we were- highlight in red for 2nd place!!!!! We were 28 seconds off of the optimum time (which you don't know, it's part of the fun and competition of hunter paces) So not only did we have a great time but we'll get a ribbon to boot!

Mason- such a goofball! 
And then the next day.... well you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out how that went :) But to give you a tiny hint Chimi is a F-ING ROCK STAR. Gah I love that giant horse!