On Saturday Bobby and I loaded up ‘da boys and headed to meet our trainer a couple hours away for an XC school.
With all the rain we’ve gotten lately we haven’t been able to ride much at home aside from road hacks, so I thought Henry might be a nut. Plus a cold front had just blown in. Plus we were supposed to school a lot of Training fences. I thought I might die. Or pee my pants a few times at the very least, because for some reason I think the Training ramp at this place looks freaking ginormous. I’m in this really weird stage where Novice looks tiny but some of Training still looks a little bit Kill-You-Dead.
Henry warmed up a little bit “full-on retard” but once we started jumping he was game on. I’m struggling with trusting him to the bigger fences and always want to override it the first time, which of course just messes up the distance. That was kind of the theme of the day… mess it up the first time, get it right the second time. We desperately need to school (or uh… just be able to ride, thankyouverymuch El Nino) more often. He’s super game, I just need to let him do his job. When I manage that, it all works out fine.
The offset Training feeders were hard, because the footing was still deep and a little slick over there and the approach makes it hard to line them up. I always feel like Henry is going to fall on his head. Graceful and coordinated, he is not. After a couple of stupid rides on my part, we finally made it work. Mostly because he is Good Pony. The good news is, those feeders looked so big a few months ago, but not anymore.
Then we went to jump the same stupid ditch he’s jumped a thousand times and his brain fell apart until Halo finally led him over, so Henry sat out the next couple fences while the hamsters repaired his brain cells. Once he was re-brained we jumped the Training/Prelim tiki hut (which also used to look big to me and now looks just fine) to another weird massive ditchy thing that of course he didn’t even blink at, because why would he ever be logical? Those both rode great, as did the Training water.
Then we hopped up and down a bank, then down the double banks, then did a little Prelim skinny, all of which Henry was great about.
What I really took away from the day is that this horse is a lot more capable than I give him credit for. For some reason it’s in my head that he can’t make it over the bigger fences if I biff the distance, so then I inevitably override it and – of course – end up biffing the distance. But every time that happened, he had no problem making it over, so really, I learned that I can just stop worrying about it. Pony has enough hops for this, he just needs for me to stop riding him like a monkey. I like it when the mistakes end up being the most educational part… and I didn’t even pee my pants once.