This involves a "Meet the Fences" the first day where you get an hour and a half of coaching on the xc field and then on day two there are three options of your choosing between dressage, a pace round through xc or xc with the jumps. If you are entering for year-end awards, you need to choose dressage and xc plus third of your choice. If not, you can chose what ever you like.
I may be mad to sign up for this but I will certainly have a method to it. Step one was get Savvy jumping jumps and begin to build up our strength. Just cantering one circle in lessons had Savvy and I huffing and puffing but now we can do four circles before dying, so winning! As for jumping, Savvy just improves every lesson and I am so proud of the little fluff bum for making the effort.
Step two, get to the park.
|Emm mom, this is not our riding lesson barn... -- Savvy|
Ground work is well within my comfort zone regardless of how crazy my horse gets because redirecting a horse from the ground does not get me too worried. Heading to the park for a lovely stroll with my pony seemed like the best idea to:
#1. Find the xc course because this park is huge and I was not even sure how to get to it (and the map is dumb).
#2. Let pony sniff some jumps, see all the scary things and just chill out and eat some grass in the soon-to-be derby location.
This day exceeded all my expectations. If you have not taken your pony on a walking hike, I highly recommend it! (Although my feet would have preferred if I had ridden my horse instead by the end of it, Next time better shoes!)
Upon heading out from the parking area, I only had a vague idea of where to head to. I knew the xc field should be in a southeast direction and there should be a horse path, but I wasn't seeing one.
I crossed a road, heading off through a field and only mildly felt encouraged when I came across a small sign with arrows and a horse on it. Savvy was doing great at this point, although slightly excited about the car traffic close by and slightly perplexed looking as to what was going on.
We continued through tree paths and fields and had some interesting encounters with giant rocks. Savvy lost her shit at the first big rock, puffing up and arching her neck like only an Arab could. I filmed the second one but it was no where near as hilarious as the first.
I started to feel like there was no path to be found in the direction I needed and decided maybe I should be heading back in the direction of my trailer. At this point I crossed the road for a different view heading back and in so doing discovered the old xc field. Not exactly what I was looking for but decided to head over and check it out.
There was some really interesting but huge obstacles in this field. There was absolutely nothing small enough for me to lunge Savvy over except for one really old drop off wall. Still, it was fun to wander through and show Savvy all of it.
Heading back, Savvy was a star. She had gotten over everything and looked so relaxed and content to wander with me, eat grass along the way and didn't even worry as cars passed as we walked back along the road.
This was the best idea for both of us. I am glad I had a chance to feel out being in the park on my own without the stress of trying to ride a nervous horse.
For my next step, I plan on heading back to the park with Savvy saddled up. I will still head out leading her, but work on riding in the spots that feel the most comfortable to do so.
As long as the weather continues to be so wonderful, I feel like we might be ready to go by May 13th!