Guess who finally got a pro ride on XC for the first time ever? That’s right,this guy:
I’ve had this brewing in the back of my mind for a while. Henry is super solid at Novice but I feel like he just needs a bit more confidence to run Training (at least with me), and since a few of the Training fences still make me think I might die, who better to put those miles on him than my coach? I’ve never seen her die, not even once. She’s the confident ride he needs right now.
I was both really excited and a little nervous at the same time. The only other pro ride Henry has had was the one last year from my dressage trainer. No one else besides me has ever ridden him XC. He’s a pretty solid dude (I’ve broken his spirit) so I figured behavior-wise he would be ok, but I kept thinking “What if she hates him? What if she’s like ‘omg this thing is horrific, you’re gonna die!’ or ‘Nope, he needs to start all over.’?”… those are all sane, rational things to lay in bed and worry about… right?
She got on, was warned about the spookiness while walking (which he displayed approximately one minute later when another horse spooked and he split all 4 legs in different directions with his belly two feet off the ground), and off they went. Luckily within just a few minutes she said she loved his canter, and then once they started jumping she said she liked him, and by the end she loved him and was trying to keep him. Because Henny is the best.
He jumped through the water (after spooking while walking past the hose), the ditches (after giving them all the stink eye as we walked up), the banks (superman impression is still solidly in place), the Weldon’s Wall (more stink eye), and then the mound, taking all the Training options with no issues. Coach praised him highly for how adjustable he was and his rideability. I explained that yeah, that’s the problem–he always does what I tell him and I have horrible judgement! Poor Henry, he is long-suffering.
So I’ve decided to have her run him Training the first week of Coconino. My pride really wants me to be the one in the irons, but the horse’s greater good trumps my pride any day of the week, and I really think that having her run him will be great for his confidence. And, after all, the whole point is to build a smart, happy, well-schooled horse, so that’s what we will do. He can have a good run around Training the first week with her, do the Novice 3 Day the second week with me, and hopefully come home having learned a lot. Besides… it might be fun to just play Owner for once.