Monday, October 5, 2015

Pushing the Height

Ugh y'all, I'm way behind on posts. And here's the thing: there are many exciting possibilities afoot in Camp Rainbow at the moment. Those possibilities are demanding quite a lot of my attention, which they deserve. That might mean this blog slows down again for a bit. But we're heading into winter anyway, so. I'll do my best to stay on top of interesting lesson recaps and show stuff, if for no other reason than I really enjoy looking back on those, but if you don't hear from me for a bit, don't fear for my life.

Anyway, another exciting thing is how well Mo is going (aside from how cranky and annoying he was on our trail ride this morning). We have, more than a year into riding him, gotten the jumps up to 3' in a school. I don't expect they'll stay here--M's novice horse doesn't necessarily always jump 3', depends on the exercise--but it sure felt good to know that he'd canter down to the middle of a slightly bigger jump and spring over it in as relaxed a fashion as he does the smaller stuff.

All the jumps below are pictured at their final height, not the starting height.

These two verticals are set on the diagonals, so they made for a good figure-8 exercise to get him warmed up. You'd come right lead off the rail to the blue one, around the top of the ring, and then left lead back over the black one. We did that a couple of times until he found a rhythm and was chill.

Then we snuck into this oxer at a bit of an angle because there was a skinny two strides before it, and I wanted him to find each element individually before tackling them together. The first time to it was a tiny bit disorganized and we pulled a rail, but we got that figured out.

The first time we did the skinny I came in between it and the oxer and trotted it, but after that he had to canter it, and eventually we did the skinny-to-oxer line. First time through needed more engine but nothing really went wrong; second time was fabulous.

I loved that the ring was a little flooded, because these barrels were in and out of the water. This one threw him for a bit of a loop, but we got it together and eventually he trotted back and forth over them like NBD. This seems like a legit BN question to me without the water element.

We also played over these verticals. Mo doesn't care about the liverpool. He hasn't seen the carpet in awhile, so he took a peek the first time but was fine after that. They could be ridden in a four-stride line, or each vertical was a five-stride bending line to an oxer. He was good with all of that--always made the steps, never lost his rhythm.

This is probably our biggest accomplishment of the day: he trotted to the rock with no rail over it and jumped it the first time. I had to ride to it a little bit, but he did it, and because the rock has been an issue for us, I hopped off at that point and he was done. 

When I was dismounting, M was all, "Can he please just go BN at the next one coming up?" And it's true. Compare those oxers to, say, anything we've been jumping at shows so far this year. They're a whole foot taller. I think it's good to school above the level, but that's 1-2 levels up from where we're showing. And, frankly, elementary is boring now.

So that's the plan: BN on October 18 at Loch Moy (if you're going and you're not already my friend on FB, add me and maybe we can meet up or something). We're going to go XC schooling one more time, and then I think we've got it. The dressage won't be perfect, but it wouldn't be at elementary either. And as Bruce Davidson says, if you wait for the dressage, you'll never jump.

I think plenty of people would have the horse jumping bigger than this and competing at a higher level at 13ish months in. And that's fine. Philip Dutton would likely already be running him Training. For me, it's not worth the risk of confusing or frazzling him. I know in my gut that he's got enough scope to go Advanced if we want to (not sure that we want to). But I think that eliminated-at-intro to reasonably-attempting-BN is good for one season with a rider who hasn't ridden in a horse trials since the 90s, you know?

The weirdest part is that I'm excited. To event. Ha!