On Saturday I loaded Henry up and went down to Pine Hill to meet up with Bobby and Trainer for an XC school – Henry’s first time out on XC since JULY at Coconino.
The plan was to just hop around some Novice stuff, get back in the groove, and see how he felt. Henry on the other hand did not seem to get the memo about an easy, laid-back schooling, because he was Super Pumped from fence one. The Novice stuff was like Bam. Done. Easy. Boring.
Henny was in beast mode, for sure. So I pointed him at the Training ramp that I hate so much and he locked on, said “Bish, you best hang on” (honestly this was kind of the theme of the day) and absolutely LEAPED over it like he was channeling his inner Ballynoe Castle. Well, alright then. Guess Henny came to play.
After that we didn’t waste his effort on the Novice fences anymore (except for when Bobby and I tried to tandem jump the N log into the crater and kind of sucked at it. The video is amusing.). Mostly we just stuck to the Training combos, which I haven’t jumped before. Most of them were one-and-done, no prob, because my horse is a badass. Except for the Irish Bank of Death… it rides so awkward, I just could not get it right.
So we jumped through that combo (brush, down the hill, up the small bank, one and a half strides, off the cliff of death) several times, until I was marginally less terrible, then called it a day on that one. We’ll come back to it again later (unless it gets bulldozed before then, which I may or may not be willing to pay someone to do. Just saying…).
Then we went over to the angled feeders, which I thought would be tougher than it was. There’s really only one exact straight line through that combo where the striding works out, and it means that both feeders are jumped on an angle. Trainer said just line up with the tree beyond it, which worked out perfectly.
After that it was over to the up bank combo – train car, up the hill to the bank, one stride, bank, three bending strides to a skinny. I was a little intimidated by this one but it rode really well… it was my favorite combo of the day.
We wrapped up our day with the water. We jumped the Training tiki hut and ditch in the woods (which you can’t see in the video) then came out to the water combo, which is a little jump, two strides downhill to another little jump landing in the water, then through the water and out over the little chevron. Henny is always bold at water, no problem there either. We called it quits after that.
I was very pleased with how good Henry felt. He came out guns blazing, very professional, and stayed that way. He was forward (I mostly just tried to stay out of his way, really), he didn’t get tired, and he felt really strong and plenty capable.
And then Trainer and Bobby started giving me shit about moving up, and then somehow they talked me into filling out an entry for the January horse trial on the spot, before the post-XC glow wore off. So… I guess we’re running T next month. If I die I’m blaming Bobby.
Yesterday we went for a long walk and a stretchy trot, and Henry felt great. Maybe a little TOO great, there was some leaping and squealing involved. I guess he handled the schooling just fine…