This Saturday morning myself and two other ladies from the barn trailered over to Stradivarius Farms in Santa Paula as a schooling outing in anticipation of the hunter/jumper show next Saturday the 28th. Let me cut to the chase.
Hemie. Was. Fabulous.
Well, okay, there was one minor deviation from fabulousness. Before we even left our ranch, as we were loading up the horses, somehow Hemie got a little panicked in the trailer, tossed up his head (safety snap worked and popped off), and he (carefully) bolted out of the trailer and ran free down the property. His tail was flying up, he was snorting up a storm, and looking exceptionally cute. I caught him without issue and loaded straightaway without issue. He was also fine loading back up to go home after our schooling.
In a way I’m glad we had this little incident. Now I know what happens when my horse gets panicked and loose. He’s fine.
But back to the fun part. Hemie was a bit antsy when first tied up and getting his tack on, but besides that he was an absolute gentleman. He longed out great, was patient for me during mounting (and unmounting to help head a friend’s horse, then re-mounting from a weird bench), and was perfectly behaved during our warm up. And he handled the giant chipmunks like a pro.
|Not us. Borrowed from Strad Farms website. Note giant chipmunks.|
Next we got a lesson from Laurie in the jumper arena. I got to watch Laurie school another young horse first (always very informative for me), while Hemie and I cruised around the arena so he could get a good look at all the jumps and their decorations – including, but not limited to:
plus a HOT BLUE roll-top jump, and of course all sorts of gates, flower boxes, and even a few metallic-paint covered jumps.
When it was our turn to go, Hemie was ready for action. We went over a small vertical a few times. Laurie had me practice using the whip to encourage him to march on towards the jumps. The first time he went over fine, but the second time he refused. Straight and relaxed. So that told me that I needed to have him a bit more forward. Better to have a little too much horse on the landing than to not make it over in the first place was the motto for the lesson.
I didn’t make that mistake again. Hemie was very game and excited. I could feel him prancing like an excited kid, and Laurie laughed at the delighted look on his face as he got a chance to tackle these exciting, new fences. We did several hunter lines and bending lines. I am improving (though not fast enough by my tastes) at not catching him in the mouth over jumps by getting left behind. And I also felt really good with my lower leg positioning.
But most importantly, Hemie and I enjoyed every minute of it. And I was able to ride him well enough that Laurie didn’t have to hop on.
Our first show in just one week! Bring it on.