Henry had his second Trainer XC ride yesterday and it was, in a word, freakinawesome. There’s video at the bottom, but I pulled screencaps for those who don’t want to dedicate 51 seconds to watching a video.
It rained all night Tuesday at my house, so when I woke up and checked the radar and saw the huge blob of rain headed toward the XC venue, I was sad. But magically, the closer it got, the more it dissipated, and before you knew it everything was clear and good to go. The cross country gods win again. I packed in half a day of work by 10:30 and then headed out, loaded up, and away we went.
It was so hot and humid… like 90 and sticky. I brought some ice water for Henry so that I could sponge him during the ride to help him stay cool, but turns out he handled it pretty well anyway.
The main objective of the day was for Trainer to jump Henry off the Training level Irish Bank, which freaks me out a little. Mostly because it’s giant and Henry still tends to launch off the banks (I’m pretty convinced he’s never going to just drop down them like a normal horse), so I have visions of being left in the ditch on the back side of the bank as he goes gallivanting around the forest without me. She also wanted to jump some of the Training combos, hoping to build his confidence a bit for his move-up.
Turns out, they did both of those things. Henry was a total rockstar! He jumped everything first try and totally gobbled it up. The more he did, the more he strutted. You could practically see his ego inflating as we went along. That’s perfect, exactly what we want!
He definitely did take a flying leap off the Irish bank with a big peek down into the ditch on the way down, and it was not beautiful, but Trainer did a great job of slipping him all the rein he needed, staying balanced over the back, and sticking out the awkward leap. Definitely glad it was her riding him off of that thing for the first time and not me! Really happy that he was so game about it though, there was never any question about whether he was gonna go or not.
He also jumped the Training double up bank to skinny combo, the T water, the T offset feeders, the giant brushy T ramp that gives me slight heart palpitations, PLUS the Prelim coffin and a Prelim box. I was SO happy to see him handle everything so easily! Trainer does such a good job of sitting up, waiting, closing her leg, and letting him figure things out; it’s educational to watch. Someday I’ll get better at that.
He cooled out quickly and was even a little wild when we got home – also good to see that his fitness level still holds up well in the heat.
If anyone needs Henry, he’ll be pimp-walking his way around the barn for the next few days, telling all his friends how great he is. I can’t disagree.