The weekend update: mostly good... but still looking for better and best!
To start with the almost-weekend, on Thursday, Katchi and I headed up to An Otherwise Perfect Farm for a gymnastics clinic with Jim Wofford. I've done about 100 of these clinics, and they're always excellent. They always make Katchi jump smarter and more careful. And they take the pressure off me, as the lines just sort out the horses - so I can think more about fine-tuning myself. At the beginning of the lesson, I offered that Jimmy might want to wrap my reins around like the last lesson. He thought for a moment, and said, "well, let's see how it goes and decide later." And he never made me wrap up my reins! Woo hoo! We also talked more about my "self-critiquing" issue mid-ride. Jimmy said that I have enough knowledge and skill to know what's going on - so when I come into a fence "wrong" instead of freezing and saying in my head "oh dear! it isn't perfect!" - I should be saying - "oh goodie! Now I get to show what I know and DO SOMETHING to fix this!" I hear ya Jimmy. I hear ya.
Next up was Debi riding Roxanne at her first recognized HT - Difficult Run. In the past year, Frying Pan Park has really put an amazing effort into that facility. The footing was excellent with many new jumps. Debi & I walked her XC course before dressage, and we were both in high spirits for her debut performance! Dressage was good - Debi is used to competing First Level dressage, so we talked a bit about how a BN test can actually be harder because it's too simple for a horse who is used to tougher questions. But, she finished dressage with a very respectable 30.0 putting her tied for 3rd. Off to show jumping - always Debi's biggest concern. After an absolutely beautiful warm-up, she pulled 2 rails on course, but it doesn't matter - Roxanne jumped everything without question and Debi RODE her every time she started to be a little naughty. Next up - the fun part - XC! After watching 2 horses have "brain farts" at the first jump - Debi started off in fine form with no brain farts in sight! Into the woods, and back out - over fences 6, 7 and 8 - then back into the woods. Half way done and looking stellar! I was all ready with the video camera to catch her at the last 3 fences - I could already see her big grin in my mind! BUT WAIT - something catches my eye - it's Roxanne walking with Debi WALKING behind her! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? WHERE DID THAT HAPPEN? Between fences. ugh. Apparently Roxanne came out of the woods into the cow field near the old bank/mounds, and hopped left - hopped right - and hopped left again. 2 hops were good - 3 hops were too much and Debi ate grass. The officials were quite wonderful though and made it clear to Debi that she had the option to continue (so happy they knew the rules that a fall is only elimination if it happens related to a jump!) - but Debi decided she was done for the day. The grass stains on her white breaches told me she was probably right. But, darn. Darn. She was so close to a great day, until...
Today was Kerry and Atticus at the BEST jumper show at PG Equestrian Center. What progress these 2 have made in just a few months! When I first started working with Kerry, Atticus was crooked - to say the least. He is now straight - or at least straight-ish! And, gee, what a difference it's making in his jumping! Too bad for the few rails they pulled - but never mind. They were the most polished team out there, and that makes me grin from ear to ear! A happy horse and safe rider who are balanced, straight, and talking to each other - now that has future success written all over it - ribbon or not in today's rodeo.
And my final note for the weekend update is to my mom. When you retire and buy that horse farm, turns out you don't need to buy a truck. Just have the towing package installed on your Toyota Solara! Seriously... apparently! (See photo below). As Kerry said, "Better not be on any hills. It may pull it, but it won't stop it." Oh my. Aren't horses the most wonderfully trusting things in the world. Can you imagine what this one must think every time his "limo" arrives?