So... today was... interesting. ;) I had told a friend I would take her riding so I went to borrow a friends new horse. I was going to let Crystal ride Fleck and I would ride the other horse. Well... the other horse would NOT load... well, not true. She loaded right up, but when I went to put the butt bar up... she came flying out the back end. I knew she had loading issues, but wasn't expecting it to be quite so difficult. It really probably would have been fine had it been a two person job. Oh well. After trying for 40 minutes, getting significant rope burns on both hands, having the pin on my butt bar get broken off and having my side door lining busted up... I gave up. I got her in the trailer twice and turned her out. So.... Crystal rode Fleck while I walked alongside. Then poor Crystal... I told her she could trot and/or canter if she wanted. She got about 8 strides into the trot and Fleck spooked sideways and she came off. Oops!! Luckily she wasn't hurt and we got her back on and finished the ride.
After that I wanted to ride and Christina and I had made plans so I got on and took him out in the XC field. Crystal wanted to see us jump so we hopped over a few of the big tables and roll tops. It's fun showing off :) Hee hee... Then she had to leave so Christina and I played some more. I jumped a few jumps and Fleck was being....careful. He was jumping well and not patting the ground or hesitating, but... not super exuberant about it. The ground was awfully slick though and I didn't have studs in. Then I decided to try the "alley oop" thing and he did that well. Someone from a prior clinic had put the big prelim coop in front of the log into the water. It was a one stride. Not huge in size, but definitely a prelim question. So we attempted it. Ha!!! It took a few tries. I am honestly not really sure why, other than those are the types of jumps that Fleck does not like. But we got it. The second to last time he jumped it, but not gorgeous so I gave it one last go. And WOWEE!!! Fleck put on his big boy pants (after the 8th attempt, so one could argue that he it counted at this point) and jumped big and bold. He jumped the coop in great and then I could feel him thinking but he said "nope... I got this" and did the one stride and jumped boldly into the water! And JUMPED into the water... not deer hopped and landed on all four feet. He jumped in and cantered off. It was awesome!!! I'm so proud of him. And of me... for not giving up and giving him good rides and getting us through it.
I don't think it's his knees bothering him. I think it's just... this is REALLY hard for him and those types of questions scare him a bit. It's hard for him to be big and bold when there's more than one thing at a time. And I'm sure it's because I"m not riding him big and bold. So.... you know what... that's perfectly okay. I know that I'll either have to keep picking the easy prelims and/or run P/T's or we'll have to figure out how to get our bravery button back. We're going to Chatt Hills next weekend for a clinic with Buck Davidson who is supposedly really good about instilling confidence. So.. yay! Hope it works. :) And I'm sure some of it will just be more and more time and experience.
Our current plan is the Buck clinic next weekend, then mid March Pine Top at P/T. Yay!!! That's going to be so fun. They're stadium courses are some of the toughest prelim courses I've ever jumped and I'm not quite ready to tackle Prelim XC there... and their training courses are usually quite fun and challenging, so I"m excited. Then in April we'll do prelim at Fence. Assuming all goes as planned. Yay!
So yep... frustrating morning turned into quite a good day. After we played around jumping we had a nice long trail ride and Sham and Fleck enjoyed each others company. We stopped to chat and Fleck was licking and slurping all over Shams neck and then Sham was nibbling on him. Hee hee.. Such cute boys.