Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cross Country Schooling

Sometimes, I over think things.

We went cross country schooling at the same place where we schooled last week. Oh, and I measured the LOG from last week and it was 3'6" in the middle, where it was cut down. So, yea, I am an idiot for asking him to do that, but he is the Best.Horse.Ever.

Back to today, one day after the iffy hunter trials. Brego was a complete star schooling cross country today. He walked, trotted, and cantered through water without hesitation. He jumped up and down banks. He jumped everything that was asked without question.

I did not get a chance to school a roll top, but I am sure he would have done well at that.

We were both feeling yesterday's ride so I kept the schooling to a minimum and then took him out on course. The course was relatively short, 13 fences, all of which he has seen before, but not today. Everyone knows that with horses, every day is a brand new day.

Delicious Irony of Jumping in front of horse drawn-rake.

So I just wanted him to go around a course clean. I walked it in advance and the footing was perfect, not wet anywhere. We started at the top of the hill and then jumped 13 fences as we worked our way down and back up. He was very good. He looked hard at the first two fences and then got down to business. We had a minor disagreement about which way to turn at the bottom of the hill, which resulted in a loss of momentum, but he recovered and then flew up the hill. He had a nice forward gallop and just got better and better. At the top of the hill, he was tired and I could feel him start to lunge to make it to the top, but he stayed in front of my leg. We jumped one more log and we were done. What a difference from yesterday.

Top O' The Hill

I then went back and schooled a 3' coop. He was getting in close every time and then jumping round over his shoulder to clear it. Looking at the pictures, it's easy to see why. He was exhausted. His back end just couldn't push off from a longer distance. The boy was tired.

Guest Rider showing me great form! Thanks, S!!

We jumped one more fence, a 3'6" hog back oxer, and called it a day. He was safe and I didn't feel like he was protesting on the approach, and he went through some athleticism to clear the fence. But it's very clear he was tired.

Tired boy with an excellent effort.

I feel really good about where we are right now. I think conditioning and fitness is the biggest issue. He needs more dressage work to get him stronger through upward transitions and then the jumping from a normal distance will take care of itself. As a big horse, I don't think he should be taking flier fences, but it would be better for his front end if he could get more balanced back.

Brego gets tomorrow off. I will be turning 28... no, wait, 24!! and I am going for a sunset cruise around Portland. I love Maine. Then dressage work through the week until Thursday where I have an official jumping lesson. Woo hoo!

Next weekend, we are going to the Stuart Pittman clinic to work on cross country. I can't wait to soak up some knowledge.


Anonymous said...

That is so awesome! Brego is such an athlete! That is a beautiful course too!

amy said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Anonymous said...

I like his expressions in the first and second pic. The first one he looks serious and determined while in the second he looks confident and proud :).

McFawn said...

You are doing a great job with Brego...very impressed. I think you generally look tight in the saddle and good with your hands, too, but consider putting your stirrups up two holes. In the two pics in this post it looks like you almost have to stand straight up just to get a teeny bit off his back...short stirrpus are uncomfortable at first, but it will make it much easier in the long run!

Daun said...

Thanks, everyone@!

McFawn, you are 100% correct. I have been raising my stirrups and this is the shortest hole. After I saw the pics, I knew I needed another shorter set of leathers. My stirrups look away too long. The guest rider is about 2" taller than me and they look appropriate for her.

Thanks for your insight and I am going to punch some holes tonight!!