So I graduated. From college. Finally ><
I was originally Class of 2001 at Texas A&M but got detoured and so at the wonderful age of 34, I finished this past May. To celebrate, what do you think I wanted to do? That's right, cross country lesson at Pine Hill with Ruth!
My lesson was really awesome. After having a challenging lesson the week before with Emily, Katy's confidence was a bit shaken so I wanted to do some things to build her back up to baby!beast mode so we could continue on. The jumps that she had had an issue with in the H/J lesson were the green roll top and the big panel jump. Considering the crazy jumps she had jumped out on cross country before that, I was a bit at a loss for her issues.
I felt pretty good heading out there and Katy was on her game. Granted, she was a bit nervous about the jumps but her dressage warmup was really nice and we moved onward to the course. The first obstacle was a narrow walk through a set of flapping triangle flags strewn across the whole course. She snorted and blew, but bravely walked through them and I was happy that I just worked on keeping her forward and straight. I can learn!
The rest of it was a progressive dissection in what was causing her confidence issues as walking over a log she had jumped before made her a bit uneasy. She did it, but normally she's trying to move towards things, no hesitation. My goal was to get back to that on this day.
After my lesson got Katy rocking and rolling, Erica and I went back and I then took her and Piper out for schooling. Back in March, I'd mentioned a show in June and we decided to make that our goal. Step one was making Piper workable for dressage as the first phase. Her dressage was looking stronger lately but when there were jumps around we were less certain she'd focus well.
It took about 30 minutes but we got somewhere. The next step was to work her on some easy jumps to get her nice and relaxed. That took about another 15 minutes but she realized that she got to play if she stayed balanced and relaxed so we decided to work on the real issue: showing her at Beginner Novice or possibly Novice level? The courses nest close to each other so we decided to walk the courses and try things out.
We hit the water jumps first and she did great on both sets. Along the way up the hill we hit a Novice roll top and she blew over it without any issue. Not one to give into the higher level so quickly, we kept walking the courses until we hit a rather large log to a beginner novice box versus large log to a novice/training level table with brush. I checked the footing and we did the BN one first. It was almost too easy for her so we came back around and did the Novice one. Twice.
She worked it out juuuuusssttt fine! The rest of the time we worked on trying out Novice vs Training level questions to see how she would do. Everything we threw at her, she did great. We need to work on some straightness but she hit everything without issue and had a great time.
As we came out of the woods we worked on a drop that she'd done before:
After that, I decided to push our luck and we went to the stairs. I gave Erica a run down on how they worked and that we would just do the bottom one. She picked the one right in the middle which visually was hard for Piper to reconcile so I had them go to the side where it looked like they were jumping into "somewhere" vs "nowhere" and Piper jumped down no problem. Very cool.
To finish up we were to do the Novice bench at the finish line and Piper cleared it with ease. I gave Erica the option to jump the identical but bigger Training level bench and she went for it. Check out that pony!
Very fun day and can't wait to go back out! Happy graduation to us!