Thursday, February 27, 2014

XC School at Paradise!

We're so back baby!!! Fleck is feeling phenomenal and if I may brag for a moment, I'm getting it too!!! I'm finally able to ride again instead of just hang on. My hands are staying low mostly, my leg is getting better about staying put, and I'm feeling more like a thinking acting rider rather than just hoping Fleck figures it out. I'm sure he's glad for that! :)
 Hot stuff all proud of himself :)

We hauled up with Peri and Tess and got there and on around 2:30. It was perfect weather!!! Nice breeze and a smidge chilly in a t-shirt, but once we got to riding, it was perfect! The footing was great and she still had tons of fences set up. 

We warmed up over some stadium fences out on course and Fleck was a goof. He was attached to Tess and drifting towards her but settled quite nicely and was much more supple that I was expecting given his gravitational force towards Tess. But I had to laugh at him. We did a mini course to start... jump uphill over a vertical, downhill over a two stride, over a roll top, and then over an oxer. As we are cantering to the oxer, he see's a group of horses near us to the right. The oxer is up to the left a bit. I could totally feel/hear his brain going "Horses on the right, must spook left, oh jump... jumping, no wait! Horses on the right, spook left, wait the jump!". Hee hee... He's never been spooky like that. It made me giggle. I managed to get him to stay in line enough to jump and he wasn't trying to get out of it, but we ended up knocking the rail. I think with my foot actually because I know I hit the standard. But after that silliness he settled quite nicely. 

We accomplished lots of good stuff!!! I was able to work on my canter and get the right jump to it. We schooled over the offset angled cabins, both uphill and downhill. I just need to remember that when we're going downhill, it's easier on Fleck and me to plan to ride it in the tight 3, rather than push for the long 2. I'm not brave enough to push for the long two going downhill. Fleck did it, but it was all him. I abandoned him. It was much smoother and easier when I sat up and collected more for the extra stride. Going uphill was fine though. I was able to help him stretch out and nail it. :) Then we worked on the bank complex - double up and down, oxer to the down, up to the roll top, etc. I just need to remember to not have chicken wings! It makes me so much better everywhere without the chicken wings. And I need to remember to hold his face a bit, so I can help protect his knees. Hee hee... I giggled at this because on paper it sounds like I'm hanging on his face, but I'm not. I'm supporting his mouth and giving him a little something to hang on, so there's not so much pressure on his knees. Plus, in reality, it just keeps my upper body more upright so he doesn't have my weight on his knees too. 

We also worked on the coffin and I managed to get it pretty well when I wasn't coming off a long gallop but when I came off the long gallop I didn't quite get him back together enough. So I need to remember that. And same with the rest of it. I need to be working VERY HARD to get him bouncy enough for the prelim technical stuff. We then moved on to the sunken road and he was awesome!! We got it but the last time Beth wanted it tighter. She said if I wasn't really working hard, I wasn't getting the canter. So the last time through I was giggling and told her I felt like Boyd Martin on a green bean or something equivalent because.. man, that was a LOT of riding! She laughed and said exactly! 

We finished at the ditches, trakenher, and water. Fleck just sailed over Lellie's scary (to me at least) trakenher. It's angled so not so bad, but it kind of took me aback a bit. But he sailed right over it. In fact, he hovered in mid air he jumped it so nicely. We finished in the water and bless him... he totally is awesome! I got a funky line the first two times to a skinny prelim chevron out of the water and he hauled us up and over. Finally the third time I got the right line, the right canter, and looked at the base, and he nailed it!!! It was awesome. I definitely need to remember to LOOK AT THE BASE of the rampy chevron type jumps. For some reason, I can see my distances that way but looking at the top of them, I get lost. Hey, whatever works. :)

Oh, and she has a ditch and wall. Fairly decent sized ditch and the wall had some brush on it. I'm sure it's more intimidating filled in, but it looked kinda wimpy. :) YAY!!! I only say that because that's BIG for me. And we just jumped right on over it like it was nothing. Whoo hooo!!! Go us.

So yep... Awesome day schooling. Fleck was getting tired by the end but he still leapt straight into the canter every time I picked up my reins. And I must have been good lately about putting lots of money in the bank because there were a few times where he could have said no, but he didn't. He just said.... fine, I got this! And was awesome!! Beth said it was mostly because I had him in a proper canter most of the time, therefore he COULD adjust and save it. :) Plus, he doesn't have a no in him so there just wasn't really a thought of him saying no. Yay!!! Love that he's still loving his job so much. We both really had fun. :)


  1. That feeling when both you and your horse work together and things just... click is one of the best feelings in the world!

  2. Aww.. my friend is hoping to make her eventing debut at Paradise in May. Except your fences sound way scarier than what she'll be attempting!

  3. Sounds like so much fun!