As for me, I am exhausted and in serious pain! Katchi had straw imprints all over his side and neck this morning - he must have slept flat out last night. I imagine he's even more exhausted tonight! All the campers were walking a bit slower today - big smiles, on slow legs! And then, after XC all morning, the evil physical trainer made us do squats and the plank and all kinds of other evil things. I almost fell over when my leg gave out trying to do a one-legged squat. My mom took a nap (in front of us!) while the riders suffered this main - it was cruel.
So, let me just do a quick XC update, so I can get to bed! Bottom line - I LOVE MY HORSE! He really was great today, and I had such a wonderful ride! Phillip had me try him in a new bit - we replaced the happy mouth with a big fat loose ring single jointed snaffle. Phillip liked it; but I've got to get used to it (Katchi too!). Pretty early in our session, I had a little "discussion" with Phillip about whether the bit was working - I said that I felt like Katchi was tucking under to evade it. And Phillip said, "when he does that - where's the problem - in your hands or your legs?" - yea, I get it, he's behind my leg, not the time to take back and then complain the horse hates the bit. So, I was then made to gallop around to the corner and KICK HIM - on a loose rein. He sure jumped better! Funny that!
My one big ick today was over a HUGE table that we'd already jumped several times - then I started jumping it like crap, so I got called in to talk (felt a bit like being sent to the Principal's office!). Phillip said that Katchi is more careful than most horses, and because he's so careful, I have to ride stronger than other riders. I have to ride him stronger so when he's careful and goes up - we still jump across the fence. And sure enough, I came around much stronger, and just sailed over the table!
We had one really interesting situation in my group today with a greener horse who was really facing some big questions he'd never seen before. We were jumping a quite large narrow rolltop, 2 strides, to the ditch. The horse had cantered in and stopped twice. Phillip then told his rider to trot the rolltop. Considering it was at least Training, if not Prelim, height - I know the rider was thinking - really, that's trottable?! Horse came around in trot and hopped right over it and the ditch - like it was the most natural thing in the world to do. Phillip called us all in to have a quick talk about the importance of slowing things down sometimes to let the horses understand the question. He said that the answer is not always in getting more aggressive and faster - sometimes the most simple fix is just buying the horse a little extra time... trotting!
My personal favorite question of the night came compliments of a request from the Chronicle of the Horse Forum - Does Phillip like being called "P Dutty"? And his response????
Phillip: "It's fine" (said with a very sly grin!)
Evie: "I think it's great!" (said with a huge grin!)
If I got this right, I believe Phillip said that Holly Hudspeth started calling him that first - or maybe she was the first to say it to his face! :)
And here we have Connaught - "Simon" - enjoying retirement in Phillip's backyard! He's hanging out with Lee Lee's Model Cadet (resting from Bromont) and an OTTB give away that is Evie's horse!