We arrived Sunday, after they'd gotten a few inches of rain over the weekend, and there was mud everywhere. We put Royal with two horses new to the farm, a mare and her yearling colt. Triplets, the lot of them.
Monday, it was still too wet to ride outside, so we toodled around in the indoor arena for a while. There was a lesson going on, so we stayed out of their way until they were done and we could od some jumping. There was a bunch of jumps set up from the previous day, so we popped over those. He was a little looky at first but gained confidence over the girds. He was NOT a fan of the stand-alone flower boxes, but I was satisfied when he was willing to at least smell them.
Tuesday it was nice and hot, so it was SWIMMING DAY!
I didn't know if Royal would need some time to reintroduce himself to the Really Really Big Puddle, but he just walked right in and splashed around like we never left.
So I hopped on and we went wading.
|Love this one.|
After that, we started walking out into the deep part of the lake.
And again, and this time we swam for a while.
All in all, he seemed pretty comfortable. The water was colder this year than it has been the last two year, but he didn't seem to mind.
Wednesday, I planned on doing some flatwork/dressage, but another board arrived who wanted to do some jumping, so we did that instead. He was a bit spooked by the fillers on the jumps (A single barrel? Evil!) but before long he was flying over them without hesitation in good form. He still tends to get a bit distracted by other horses or noise, but I'm hoping at shows that all the distractions will combine into white noise.
Thursday was actually Dressage day. He's gotten pretty good about holding the contact at the walk and trot, but tend to invert going into the canter. So I just waited until he relaxed and patiently kept asking for the canter until he was able to pick it up without tossing his head. He's getting a lot less claustrophobic all the time, but it's still a work in progress. I was pretty happy, though.
Friday I wanted to have a more relaxed OnLine session and focus more on connection, and it seemed to help. He's getting back to his previous mode of always checking in and not having his head in the clouds all the time. But there was also some jumps set up in the indoor (again), and he kept drifting towards those. Horse likes to jump, what can I say. The Flower Boxes of Doom were back, and he snorted at them at first, but soon flew over the 3+foot jumps in perfect form. So, maybe not so relaxed, but productive.
Saturday was X-C DAY! It had finally dried up enough to ride, but the grass was really long. The long winter and wet spring meant they couldn't get it mowed, so we had to ride among the long grass. I set up a couple jumps in the outdoor for warm up, and he barely glanced at them. He got right up to the base of the vertical a couple times and popped it, but then we were able to find a better spot. It surprised me because he tends to favor the long spot, so getting close was unusual for him. Still, he never tapped a twig, and we went out to the course. There weren't many jumps set up, just the barrels and the tires and the bank (which was always been there). The barrels and tires presented no problems, but on the way to the bank, we came across a large sloppy mud spot that neither of use saw until we were right on top of it. He skidded to a stop, unsure of his footing. We backed up and he kind of skittered across it, still not sure of how to navigate it. Once he figured out he could walk across it, he relaxed. Then we headed to the bank, where he hopped up and down it like it was nothing. I'm still figuring out how not to get popped out of the saddle on down banks, but usually relaxing my back does the trick.
Then, on Sunday, we had to leave. Royal traveled well, and though his roomies were said to see him go, he was happy to be home.
And now my focus is prepping for Roebke's Run. I feel pretty good and ready, but we'll see what happens when we get there. For now, I'm reviewing my dressage test and watching this video from last October's HT:
From what I can tell of the video, the terrain is fairly straightforward. Steepleview is all hills, which asks a lot of questions before you jump a fence. This also looks a lot bigger than any x-c course I've ridden, so I'll have to be careful not to get lost.
Still, I'm excited. Nervous, but excited.