Apollo and I are attending a hunter schooling show on February 27!
Thanks to a boatload of encouragement from Coach D I’m actually feeling excited instead of terrified. The atmosphere is apparently extremely relaxed and it’s a very beginner/green horse friendly show. I’m volunteering for a show in the same series at the end of January. It will give me a good sense of how things run.
Tried to make Apollo pose next to one of our tiny fences... NOPE.
We’ll be doing the following classes in Division One (aka “Bold Beginner”) with fences at a maximum height of 18”:
2. Working Hunter Over Fences
3. Handy Hunter Over Fences
4. Hunt Seat Equitation Over Fences
I have only a vague idea of what those classes are actually looking for. I know the first one is a flat class! And handy hunters are trickier courses with tight turns. That’s about it. Save me google! If anyone has any tips or suggestions I’d happily welcome them! :)
My struggle with showing (and with life in general) is that I don’t really want to do anything until everything is perfect. Apollo is a bit racy/spicy over fences at this point and my jumping skills are incredibly rusty. We are working on those things! Coach D's favorite thing to say is "progress not perfection" and that's something I really need to hear. We are not looking very hunter-y for sure. But he’s incredibly honest. Since we’ve been jumping over tiny things in the last month or so he hasn’t refused once. Even when I set him up horribly. I trust him to jump all the tiny things for me. I’m not exactly expecting to pin in a hunter class (even a fat/fuzzy schooling show) with a blue eyed painted plowhorse flying around at mach 1...but we’re going to have fun and enjoy the learning experience.
I’m happy to report that Henry is really improving these days too. His ground manners are much better. There is plenty of room for further improvement but I’m so happy with how he’s been doing. The farrier trimmed him on Monday and he was almost perfect. Good boy Henry! Only 15 days until he goes to school - pretty exciting!
I’ve been trying a bit of a new approach with him. Instead of constantly nagging him/correcting him when he’s pawing, untying himself or generally fidgeting...I wait until he’s standing politely and then reward him massively (with my voice and/or pets). I do positive and negative reinforcement with Apollo and Mystic and it works really well for them, so if Mystic was pawing I’d say “hey!” and she would stop and then I’d reward her. Henry seems to get more worked up with any negative reinforcement. It’s almost not worth doing it. The only time I still do it is if he’s being mouthy (trying to lick me etc).
I had a long chat with his trainer on the phone last Friday. He sounds like such a nice man. I wanted to give him a few notes on Henry:
2) He can untie himself.
3) He’s weird.
He didn’t seem too phased by any of it. Henry will be living with a buddy (which makes me so happy because if he was living alone he would spend every waking moment trying to escape). The trainer is also happy to feed him his daily grain. I’m welcome to watch anytime (I’ll likely be visiting every Saturday morning).
I’m happy to report that Mystic and I are doing really well too!
Our lovely bracelet arrived from Beka of Straight Shot Metal Smashing! Mystic's show name (means "little fiery one" in Italian)
Thank you everyone who left me suggestions about getting her more on the bit! I rode with them in mind last Sunday. I felt her pace was much steadier and she was more respectful. Still struggling with giraffe-like tendencies but it wasn’t as extreme as at my lesson (hooray for small victories!). I rode in the DK again (because I forgot to grab the Verhan). As soon as she started trotting I felt incredibly unbalanced...so I mostly stuck to a walk. But that was just fine as I didn’t want her to get super sweaty because my time was slightly limited.
Last Sunday pic! :)
We did our first canter together at our Thursday lesson last week! I remembered the Verhan (thank goodness) and I felt a million percent better riding her in it. She threw a little woohoo buck in at our canter depart and I felt calm and balanced. I'm pretty sure if she did that while I was riding in the DK I would have hit the dirt. I think we will have a lot more success with me feeling balanced! :)
Little cantering pony!
I can't wait to catch up on reading blogs today!!!