|Someone had to be group hottie|
And a giant gust of wind hit me in the face. By the time we arrived at the facility, it was grey clouds, intermittent rain, and cold wind. Not little breezes--it was the sort of wind that makes you feel like you're going to blow over. Constantly, with gusts that were even worse.
If we'd been at home, I would have just gone inside and not ridden. Since we'd hauled 5+ hours out of state AND Ellie was on hand to document AND Courage really doesn't care about wind, I reluctantly got ready. By reluctantly, I mean I pretty much hid in the barn and whined until the instructor actually came in for a moment between lessons. Then I realized I should probably get on.
So I gritted my teeth and climbed on and nearly got blown off my horse. Hate wind.
We were able to step through it, then took a couple awkward hops when we tried trotting in. Still. Can't complain for his first-ever ditch exposure.
|I do love this picture|
Again, in the interest of not making a big deal about it, we just let him stand and have a look, then a more experienced horse trotted by and jumped it.
With some encouragement from the ground, he hopped over it.
Then to demonstrate how badass he was, he flung his head into the air and galloped off. The only bugaboo was that I had tipped forward, so his head hit my helmet brim and ZOMGZ THE DITCH BIT THE COURAGE AND IT WAS SCWARYYYYYYY!!!
So Courage got a fancy trainer ride.
It was actually hysterical once I determined he wasn't going to kill her. She rode him up to the ditch and let him look, then closed her leg. He went backwards, so she used her spur.
And he proceeded to have an epic melt down for the next five or ten minutes. It wasn't even about the ditch. He didn't like the spurs and he thought that if he just expressed himself clearly enough, she would give it up and take them off.
|SPURS ARE DEVIL|
And then after ten minutes, he trotted up and did the single riveted ditch and the grown up ditch like a champ.
After they got it smoothed out, I climbed back on to a much calmer and more submissive horse. We hopped both ditches smoothly and moved on to banks!
To me, banks are the easiest cross country questions that exist. It's just super fun terrain. I'm good at terrain. As such, I was absolutely thrilled that Courage thinks the same way.
We kept it to the baby bank (calm and positive), but I was quite pleased with the little man. He walked up and down with no trouble at all. I was careful to sit up on the landings so we had no unfortunate helmet interference and all was well.
And then it was course time!!
|Not sure why all the build up|
Courage got super distracted going to the first log, then wanted to stop, then waaaay over jumped, then I lost a stirrup and there was flailing. Oh well. He was willing into the water and our friends cheered when he jumped the baby ditch on the first try out of the trot.
I finished the course feeling ok, but more just wanting another shot at it. We got it done, but it wasn't pretty. (Noted: those of you who've followed my XC drama know that this is HUGE for a person who used to have big issues. I wanted more and I wasn't afraid.)
First the down bank at the trot.
Then we cantered one of our tiny logs. Not gonna lie, it was pretty awesome.
Then we had some rotten luck. We were trotting confidently up to the grown up ditch just as one of those gigantic pounding-the-ground horses came galloping by doing the training course. C-rage was all "Why is that horse making such a commotion?"
|The ditches are scared of Courage, so they lay flat.|
And he's like "But seriously. That horse is totes going to blow a tendon in his first race if he isn't careful."
Me and Courage: "DITCH!!" Brakes!
Courage "Dammit, why didn't you tell me this was coming up? You know I am the best at ditches."
Oh horse. We circled back around, walked until we were a few strides out, then trotted over the ditch.
|It's what jump jump horses do in fields|
TROTTING THE WATER LIKE A BOSS
He wasn't bothered by the splashing and acted like he'd done it all his life, even if the wind was gusting so hard that it was a little like riding in the ocean, if the ocean was only ankle-deep.
|Yup. Did that.|
Even our instructor was quite pleased with his progress. He's now been exposed to all the elements of cross country and is forward and willing to all of them.
Plus I have so many stunning pictures to document the experience, which just makes me happy.
|Field jump racing. So hot right now.|
He is the best at field jump racing.