We were obviously too late in the game to worry about things like memberships or sanctioned shows for the 2012 show season...
I went into our second show with 3 goals:
Goal 1: no “counter-flex” on our trot circle to the right – achieved!
Unfortunately, he also wanted to jump into canter every 4th trot stride… Not so helpful for consistent connection or impulsion. L
Goal 2: ask him challenging questions on the stadium course – achieved!
I forgot to take into consideration his aversion to jumping uphill, so he refused jump #3 after I asked for a very tight turn out jump #2, which had also come after a very tight turn. These are all things I could work on if I had a jump course at home, rather than just one jump. Yeah, did I mention that I only have one jump at home to practice over?
Goal 3: Ride a fast(er) XC course with no refusals or run-outs, and canter through the water (last time he only trotted) – achieved! We incurred 0 (yes, that’s right, ZERO) XC penalties – achieved!!
I won't take you over the course again, but this was from an e-mail to my mom describing our cross country run:
"I rode a fire-breathing dragon on the XC course.
We were within time (and Holy Cow did it feel fast!) and he never even blinked at a single jump. In fact, it was as if he remembered every jump, and he charged into them! I think somewhere, he figured out what the XC phase was about. He ran like a demon, and I worked like hell to bring him back a little before each jump. Of course, I brought him well back before the jumps he had refused last time to make sure I had him between my legs and hands. I took a very long approach in collected canter (which meant that I must have really been racing somewhere else to make up the time) on one jump in particular. Not only did he canter through the water with little resistance, he actually pushed out of it straight for the next jump! Despite riding that mile or so long course in 5 and a half minutes, I was still holding him back… Only because I wasn’t sure I could bring him back to me if I allowed him to really open all the way up. The difference was, this time I BARELY held him back, where last time, I kept him in-control the entire ride. There was one long section between jumps #5 and #6 that I did allow him his head (fire-breathing dragon!) and I had a long enough stretch to actually consider “Am I crazy? What has possessed me to gallop at breakneck speed across an open field and jump these things that won’t fall down? Is this really what I want to be doing?” Then jump #6 came into view, he zeroed in on it, and I felt a resounding “Yes” to my last question. I guess technically, that makes the answer to the first question “yes” as well! LOL
Then, we approached jump #14 (remember the one where I explored that non-traditional jumping position?). His ears went up, and he charged right up to it and launched right over it! However (poor pony!) I heard him knock a back leg on it pretty solidly. He’s never done that before, although he has pulled rails down by dangling hind legs. I bet he doesn’t make that mistake again on the XC course!! He cleared the stone wall with ease and went roaring to the finish line. Needless to say, it took a while to get him stopped. You think he was grinning last time, you should have seen him yesterday!"