Dare I say it - spring is here! And what a perfect weekend to go jumping!
I spent all day Saturday at the Marlborough Jumper Derby - and even got a little sunburn on my left cheek! I'm loving that sunburn - but, I know, I know, it's so bad - don't worry, I've pulled my sunscreen out from the back of the closet. Time to get back into the daily sunscreen routine! Isn't it a wonderful thing?!
I had several students riding in the Jumper Derby yesterday - one in each of the 4 groups, which made for a very long day, but also gave me a great excuse to hang out and chat with many friends that I haven't seen since the fall season ended. And it's always a great learning experience to watch so many different horse and rider combinations - many at their first outing - to see how things work and don't work! And there was the return of the devil pony! For those who were reading this blog last fall, you might remember the devil pony at Full Moon Farm's starter horse trials. Okay, it wasn't actually the same little pony that showed up at Marlborough yesterday, but maybe it was his brother or cousin who took over the reign of terror! I was just getting my first student settled in the warm up when the devil pony was let loose - apparently, literally, his child just sort of let him go. And the terror began - back and forth that little pony ran as fast as his 4 little legs could carry him - through the warm up area, back through the crowd - 4 times he raced back and forth leaving a trail of fire behind him! Finally, 3 of us pinned him in the warm up area and Beth Wheeler collected the reins and freed them from his legs - when she returned him to the said small child she so kindly said "now, don't let your pony go again, okay?" - I probably would have sat down and laughed if there weren't so many bolting and spinning horses, riders jumping off in all directions, and general mayhem to keep clear of! Despite growing up watching our miniature horses terrorize everything from police horses to the Budweiser Clydesdales - it still never ceases to amaze me how much "real horses" freak out over tiny terrors!!
But back to the Golightly Gang - what a great day! I was working with a very diversified set of goals for the day - one was there to survive her first outing of this kind ever (and she did so with great success and valuable lessons learned); one was there to beat the demons of 2 years ago when she fell off twice at that horrid fake ditch that apparently has "HORSE EATER" written all over it (and she did - even finishing 4th in the equitation judging of probably 30 or more riders!); and one to raise the bar 5 inches to complete the Novice division (and she did - with just one rail down!). All goals accomplished! If you're local and haven't been to this event before - mark your 2012 calendar now! It is a wonderful day and everyone is so encouraging - and there was even quite a crowd that provided big cheers when horses finally decided to go down the bank or over the mini-tires!
While Katchi sat out the Jumper Derby this year, he had his own big jumping day with Sharon White today at Allan Sport Horses. Katchi really rose to the challenges Sharon set today, and I was really pleased with our ability to work through some issues and make Katchi jump better and better. He only "barfed" once - which definitely gave the spectators their money's worth (free to audit, by the way!). We came around to a vertical, one stride, oxer, 2 long strides, oxer - and barfed all over it - the lesson learned was that Sharon thought Katchi was listening to me so intently through the corner that he didn't even see the jump until we got there. It still amazes me how we can barf all over a triple and leave every pole in the cup - one thing I can never fault Katchi for - no matter what he does, he always takes care of me. Thankfully, Katchi and I both had our eyes on the jump the second time around, and had a great jump through - adding a triple to our show jumping courses for Prelim will be a big test for us!
I often wonder (and worry!) about what I should and shouldn't share about other people on my blog - but this one is just too good not to share, and Sam Allan already suggested she should feature it on her website (I totally think she should!), so... the quote of the month is... I LOVE THAT STICK IN YOUR PANTS! Sharon made a spot-on assessment that one of the horses in our lesson was rushing away from the fences because her rider was making too much of a move over the top of the fence. So, Sharon said - put your whip in your pants and lets see if that will fix you. After much debate over the proper whip to stick down her pants, the very brave Jennifer Clover, started the course with a bat stuck down the front of her pants with the whip end ready to bat her in the nose for bending over too much. AND IT WAS AMAZING - her horse looked almost like a hunter going around the course - maybe we should all ride with a stick in our pants! :)
Katchi's first 2011 horse trial entry went in the mail this week. WOO HOO! Our first event will be Fair Hill April 22-24. I thought it would be really fun to start off the season with one phase a day and lots of time to watch the CIC horses compete - nothing like a little inspiration to start off the season. Hopefully if I watch enough 3* horses before my Training level cross country, I'll be fully inspired for NO TIME PENALTIES!!