Fleck says "Who me? I'm amazing?!" But of course!
As usual we were treated like kings and queens. They ponies settled in well the first night and we didn't get to ride because it was getting dark when we finally made it. They slept well though and so did we.It was a gorgeous day to ride!! We had so much fun.
I decided that I would treat this weekend a bit like schooling but with more of a competition feel. In other words, I warmed up, but then I did some tough stuff and courses without as much prep as he might have with the typical "schooling" method. So we started out in the smaller area and hung out while Peri did some stuff. Then we warmed up over a few jumps. I think just two actually. Then I took him to the small ditch and wall on the treeline. He ran past it the first time. Honestly though it was because I lost his shoulder because he was beelining towards Tess. I fixed it and we jumped it just fine the second time and then a third and fourth and fifth. Then we moved on into the bigger field. We jumped a few more fences and he was on fire! He jumped the mound coffin craziness well. He jumped the skinny hanging log triple line quite well. And then...we jumped the big bench next to the BIG ditch and wall... and then we went on to the big ditch and wall. He peeked, but he jumped it on the first attempt!!! WHOO HOO!! So we did it two more times for my nerves and he jumped it fine. AWESOME!!!!
We jumped a few other things out in the field and I did a little mini course. Fleck was great. Then we decided to jump this upright coop bounce line. They were set offset but I decided to try them straight across first. Probably should have done them on the angle. ;) I didn't realize quite how big they were! And it was a true bounce. Fleck was awesome. He jumped in super big and bold and then pinged up over the second one. I was tossed way out of the tack and hovered in mid-air for what felt like forever. I really thought I was going to land on the ground, but he landed underneath me and was a gentleman and kept me on board. Holy smokes!! Peri was cracking up, as was I. What a good boy. So... I had to do it again, but I tried to compress him a bit more this time. I thought for sure he'd stop or hesitate after the first attempt fared crazy, but he just charged back at it. We were much more together this time, despite him still pinging fairly impressively over them! Jeesh. I decided NOT to try the angled line because I obviously wasn't sure of the striding. So we left it at that.
Then we jumped the bank complex with the ditch and the drop and he was fine. Then we did the little log to the log on top of the mound (the pimple thing). He didn't even blink as he soared over that. So then we added the corner on the bottom and he was oh so soft and lovely over that! It was a big corner too. We decided to call it a day and took them back in. He got to use his big boy ice boots for the first time and was good. The ice freaked him out a bit when he tried to move and he was a little dancy but he settled down.
Then after the icing we decided to turn them out a bit. And they saw the pig! They FREAKED!! At one point I thought Fleck was going to jump out of his window. And Tess was more freaked. So, we decided they'd be happier turned out and they agreed. They ended up spending the night out and never went back in their stalls after that. Wilbur is SCARY!
The next day was just as pretty and Fleck and Tess were feeling good after being out all night, despite the hard day before.
We warmed up and Fleck felt great and ready to go again. In fact, he got a little grumpy waiting his turn. So we decided to just do a course once it was our turn. We added in the ditch and wall again. And got proof today! YAY!
He also jumped the big trakenher without hesitating. It really wasn't that big of a trakehner, but still.
After one of the courses, we were letting the others go and catch our breath and Lauren mentioned that her pony wouldn't gallop. So I offered to be some encouragement. Poor Fleck! He's getting fit though, so... We raced. Fleck was not real thrilled about it and didn't give it his usual gusto. But we had a good gallop.
Then we moved on to the water complex. I decided to "school" this properly. But before that we jumped the roll top on the ramp with the large drop on the back side (just like at full gallop where we had the refusal). He looked hard at it but went when I said to go. It was really quite fun. And of course we had to jump all the ditch and walls on the way to the water. He jumped the one in the middle of the field and then also the one we had jumped before. I decided to not jump the slightly bigger one but only because it was a better line to the other ditch and wall off the slightly smaller one. But he was jumping them out of stride quite nicely in a forward gallop. (But not strung out and not lengthening the stride to it!).
So then we hit the water. And while I did start small and build up, he never once questioned. He even leapt off big boy style! No pitter patter steps! We even did the log to the big log drop in and the jump in the water and out over the chevron!! Such a rockstar!
Eeeks!! This one scared me! It just felt huge. Plus I know Fleck isn't a huge fan of big drops.
I am so proud of him. And myself! It was EXACTLY what we needed! Although I do think that perhaps when I school, I school at more of training level speed and that makes it easier for us both. I did try to amp up the speed when we did our mini-courses though and he stepped up to the plate.
After we finished, we pulled off tack and took them down bareback to the lake. Fleck was eyeballing the geese but did get in and splash a bit. :) Then it was proper cross country cool down with ice and poultice and then we headed home.