Yes, that’s right… I managed to work my helmet camera without messing it up. Granted, it required a lot of constant help, but whatever. Details. I left a special Betty White cameo appearance in the end of the video, because ❤ Betty.
On Saturday I hauled Henry a couple hours east toward Houston (pretty sure my truck and trailer could find their own way to Houston by now) to school at High Point. We’ve never been there before but we entered their derby next month so I wanted to go scope it out.
Bobby is dumb and was out of town, and everyone else had other commitments, so I asked my friend Amy if she wanted to go be my Scooper. You know… the ground person that can scoop you up and take you home in case you die. Luckily Amy also likes to take pictures, so this was really a win-win for me.
We did a brief w/t/c warm-up in the front field and then went further in to the XC field. Henry was a little backed off and looky, which is kind of typical for him in a new place. I jumped a little log and then strung a few smaller fences together in a row until he felt more forward, then formulated a plan.
I entered the derby at Training level because I’d heard the courses were pretty soft, and that’s definitely true. The T course is more like N/T… most of the fences are Novice size, with about 3 fences that are T height and then a couple of combinations that are N height but T technical. It’s kind of the perfect in-between levels course.
I decided to just follow the T course around and string together groups of fences as we went. He hopped over the little brushy fence at 1 just fine
and then the angled 3 strides from the tires at 2 to the little table at 3.
The skinny white T height ramp at 4, he wasn’t so sure about. He kept wanting to bulge way out to the right, so I had to get after him a bit but once he jumped it he was fine with it. That was also the point where I felt XC Henry mode engage and his superman cape appeared. Which makes sense, because it’s usually jump 4-5 on course where he’s like “oh my god I’m having the best time and I’m so amazing look at Henny go!”.
I trotted him over the little faux ditch at 5ab the first time, since he can be a little ditchy. Monsters live in ditches. Monsters that eat horse feet if they stay too close to the ground on the way over.
Once he was being less dramatic about the ditch we cantered the ditch bending line combo, which he didn’t seem to care much about, then we looped around to another line of fences and cantered the novice chevrons, then circled back around and jumped the green Training ramp.
No problem with those either, so I kept cantering and jumped the up bank-down bank combo. He’s never done that before but it was no problem.
Except for the one time he stumbled on landing and we almost died. Great save on Henry’s part, I have no idea how he untangled himself from this pretzel.
After the banks, the Training course rolled back around to a T size rolltopy thing. I thought he might be a little bit backed off here considering how he felt about the white ramp, but this one was no problem.
After that some other groups of people wandered into the area so we walked around and waited for them to move on, then tried the water. Training had a small bank down into the water with a right turn out over a little bench. He’s only jumped a down bank into water once before so I thought he might hesitate here too, but with XC Henny mode engaged it was game on.
We did the water a couple times and then strung together the last half of the course.
If anything he was getting a little too bold by that point, so after we jumped the last T fence I had him canter that one again, a little more politely, and then circled back to the last fence on the Prelim course, a little skinny log.
Then it was many pats, a short walk to cool him out, and we were done.
Overall it was a good day. The facility is definitely very low key and the course is a good confidence builder for Henry and I at this point. I think the Training derby will be fun!