Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I have the best pony in the world!

After deciding not to load in the morning, and me thinking that it was possible we wouldn't be showing, we loaded Spice on the other side of the trailer, and put pressure on her hind end with a broom (and then she proceeded to poop on Fred who was holding the broom) before finally stepping all the way up onto the trailer. Once she was on we were home free. We shipped out and arrived at Sedgefield 40 minutes later.

Stepping off the trailer was difficult, since it's a straight load without a ramp. She tried to turn around, but I was in front of her to keep her from doing that. Once we were all unloaded at the show, and after Fred held her while I entered my classes, I spent the next hour walking her around the grounds. I met up with Anne and said hello, and I think the photographer snapped some shots of us together. I then headed back to the trailer and began to tack up. I rode her all around the grounds, around the jumper ring, and then flatted her for about 25 minutes in one of the schooling rings. I jumped a few crossrails and concentrated on our turning. I then headed back to the trailer, untacked her, and hung out some more.

Our division was supposed to run at 12, but the Short Stirrup ran late so they didn't end up setting up the ring for the jumpers until about 1. Then I walked the course with Anne and some of her other students. I've found that I have learned to ride from my eye more than I have from the technicalities of the steps. It was a bit amusing to watch everyone worry about the strides as I stood back looked at the lines and guessed correctly how many strides the pony would take inside the line.

In the first class I thought we were doing the power and speed, but really we were supposed to be doing class 185. Needless to say I was very pleased with the way she jumped around even though we weren't clear on what we were competing in. After how well she did in the first class I talked to Anne about the possibility of moving her up. She thought it would be a good idea to do one more 2'6 class and then the 3' Child/Adult class. "After all, whats six more inches?". I agreed, we had schooled 3' a few days before, I felt that she was perfectly prepared for this endeavor.

In the second class, I pulled the second rail, but I had let her get out from under me a bit. Because we pulled the rail, we didn't jump off, but I got off and gave her some time to just chill. After about 45 minutes, I got back on and began to warm up for our 3' class. I wasn't too concerned with jumping fences, but I did school a big oxer and a big vertical, focusing on relaxing my elbows and riding the turn from my legs rather than trying to balance her through the turns myself. I realized that I have gotten her to a point where she is able to turn herself, but I'm so used to riding horses that needed so much help and support that I have reverted to old habits by trying to support her. I need to relax and let her do what I have taught her to do and balance her own body through her hind end. All I need to do is sit back and get good spots.

Our little girl was absolutely fabulous in her 3' class. While she pulled the first two rails thinking they were still 2'6, it was as though a lightbulb went off in her head before the third fence and lasted the rest of the course. She really came back to me, balanced back on her hocks, and used her body over each fence. It was really great to feel her as she actually began using her body over each fence. And even better to know that she didn't feel challenged at all by the height. While the only ribbon we got was a fourth in our second class, I am extremely proud of how hard our little pony worked, and how focused and happy she was to do her job.

This little one is going to do great things! I think with more practice at this height she will have no issue being competitive against other bigger horses. And just yesterday I got a hit on a potential future owner for the little one, a lady who would be perfect! So everyone cross your fingers that this will be it!

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