Monday, July 9, 2007

First Cross Country Schooling

I took Brego down to San Antonio on July 7, 2007 for his first time to school cross country. There is a great farm called Indian Creek Farm which has a gorgeous cross country field, a large dressage arena, and two jumping arenas. For a very reasonable fee, you can trailer in an school in any of the facilities for the day.

Since this was Brego's first time, my goal was to simply "go clean". I wanted to see how he would respond to new fences and a new layout. Since he has only been jumping seriously since March, I am concerned that anything new will throw off this steadily improving confidence.

In addition to jumping cleanly, I was hoping to introduce him to water and to a bank. I did not necessarily intend to school him, but just let him check it out and see what he thought. Maybe he would process it a little and next time we came down, he would school them. Little did I know that my little adolescent Percheron was maturing into a very brave and confident boy!

I started in the lower jumping arena and worked on my departure from low fences. Through my own poor training in the past, I taught him that after a fence, he gets praise and the ability to stop cantering. This makes performing a whole course a little bit difficult when after each fence he says "Can I stop? How about now, can I stop now?". So we did a couple of low verticals and a small wall and worked on finishing the canter at the other side of the arena. He did surprisingly well!

Encouraged, I moved out to the cross country field. We went first to the water complex since it was a very warm day. He walked right in so we ended up schooling. Here is his first ever trot down a bank, into water, and jump out of the water. He is a bit awkward but absolutely so brave!

I then schooled some small logs to see if he would jump funny obstacles without getting a peak at them first. I don't think he ever peaked at them as he cruised right over them.

We finished up with the bank complex. I was a bit intimidated because, deep down, I sometimes question his athleticism and ability to haul his enormous draft butt over fences. Now he needed to jump up about 2'6" onto a grassy bank. Oh, and not kill me. He did just fine at the canter!

So encouraged, we tried to go down the bank. I let him trot up and held my leg and to my surprise he just jumped right off.

I think he's trying to tell me something... I think he loves eventing!

More Pictures Here

No comments: