I don't know if it's possible to love Mo more than I already do. That horse was freaking foot perfect on Saturday from start to finish.
First of all, he loaded on the trailer like a champ. That evoked a sigh of relief. I drove him over there without any fuss and my good friend (who is also a vet, which is convenient if the stripey faced one got hurt) met me there to help out. The best thing about having a vet help you at a horse show: if your horse is a butthead, she's not afraid to handle it. Fortunately, we didn't test that aptitude.
He tacked up fine, lunged great, and then I walked him past alllllllllll the chaos: tents, flags, people wearing insane orange outfits or decked out in American flag crap (orange and white are Sharon's colors and it was the fourth of July, so people got awards for outfits. I wore an orange shirt but that was my only nod to the color thing). He was looking around (allowed) when the loudspeaker came to life when we were RIGHT under it. Whoops. Baby horse came totally. unglued.
Fortunately, my vet buddy was like "take him in the indoor!" which is where the warmup jumps were anyway. On an ordinary day, I think he might have found the indoor spooky, but since it muffled the sound of the demon loudspeaker--the announcer, by the way, was Brian O'Connor--he took a deep breath almost immediately. I hand-walked him for a couple laps and then hopped on. And man, is he ever a nice horse. He just relaxed right into a very nice trot and warmed up over the jumps great.
I was a little worried about riding him back out of the indoor, past all the insanity, and down to the jump field, which was PACKED with jumps. The way the course worked was that the first four jumps were stadium jumps, and then you'd transition right to XC, and last four jumps (in my course, two three-stride lines) were SJ jumps. After going through the finish flags, you'd have an opportunity to jump a "bogey" fence--either a chevron or a swoopy rail with a kiddie pool under it, complete with water and rubber duckies. I'm not sure if a stop at the bogey fence could hurt you, but jumping it would take four seconds off your time (so you wouldn't want to jump it if you'd been going too fast, I guess!).
|All photos by GRC Photo|
Anyway, I shouldn't have worried about taking him past the zoo and down to the field, because he had his big boy pants on and walked down on a loose rein like a genius. We waited our turn and then it was time to go!
|My heart melts.|
For the first time at a horse show with Mo, the announcer made a "Go Big" joke: "I guess if they don't go big, they'll have to go home." Cheesy, but it did put a smile on my face as I made the turn to jump 2.
|You can see the smile if you zoom in.|
I really like his approach to jumping. He's got quite the coil-and-spring, and he's neat with the front end, as he demonstrates over fence 4 here. You could see essentially this same series over any of the jumps. (PS: I bought the photo card, because it was $50 for 83 pics, and the proceeds went straight to Sharon. He was so good and I'm always running so short on media around here that it seemed like a no-brainer). I love how consistent he feels at his fences at this height. A lot of green horses are all over the place, but he has really great instincts.
He thought the first XC fence was a little funky, so he jumped it bigger than strictly necessary just to make sure.
And then afterwards, just excellence from the little man. His confidence grew, as it should on an XC course at a venue like this, and eventually he was taking me to the jumps.
|I SEE IT!!!!|
|LOOK AT IT|
He went right into the water, because he loves water. Water is splashy, after all.
|I think he wants to be an event horse.|
Although he IS still Mo so there was a bit of "celebrating" after jumps he found impressive.
I really think we'll be going BN in the fall. I mean, I think he'll like jumping things a little bigger since he already jumps like this even when he's relaxed. And while our canter departs aren't 100% yet, as Bruce Davidson says, "If you wait for the dressage, you'll never jump."
|He leaves the ground like he's an arrow being shot from a bow.|
It was interesting to me to see how he'd handle the transition back to show jumps at the end of the course, but he rocked it. Of course.
And then all that was left to do was canter through the finish flags...
|Notice how my genius baby also cleared the dead grass.|
Is there a better young horse around Area II right now? Who knows, but there's not a better one for me. We have our horrible moments and I call someone and cry and I feel all sorry for myself, but... I think he's the real thing. I know this was just elementary, but he loved it out there. And he did absolutely everything right. There's no crystal ball, so who knows how he'll do as the jumps go up. Part of me doesn't care, because he's so much fun that I'll ride him at whatever level he's comfortable at. But I also know that he's the most exciting-in-a-good-way horse that I have ever ridden. Most pros will tell you that they're all for sale for the right price, but right now I'm really not sure that having a million dollars would make me happier than having this horse.