I’m not usually one to brag, but today I’m going to a little. Things are going remarkably well with my creature.
We’ve hit that sweet spot in our relationship – the time period where you’ve had years of learning each other’s quirks all the while your horse has been aging and learning to become a solid citizen. I had this wave of realization when I took Simon to the San Antonio show in February that we have figured out how to horse show together. That’s not to say we’re laying down perfect courses or winning championships. You read this blog, therefor you know that’s not true! What it does mean to me is that I know how much lunging he needs and what kind of warmup. He knows that jumps aren’t going to kill him and that his job is to truck around as relaxed as his little Thoroughbred brain can go.
At home, he’s rock solid. Our lessons lately are about the subtle nuances of pace and distances and landing on the correct lead (I’ve given up hope of lead changes… this is the new plan) versus things like surviving the course or being terrified of oxers. In short, this is an excellent place to be. Plus, we even managed to pull this off yesterday…
Yes, it’s only 4 jumps. Yes, I cheated by landing right (his favorite lead) every time, but hey… I think that’s close enough to cross “jump a course bridleless” off my goal list. I’m sure I’ll ride more bridleless in the future though, especially since I ordered one of the fancy neck ropes!
Right now if I had to sum up my overall goals with Simon, it would be to make us the best team we can be. My eye for distances has been a lot better lately, but there is still lots of improvement I need to make on my courses. Leads and change are always going to be hard for us, but I’m giving up the dream of the auto-change OTTB. Instead, I’m focusing my efforts on getting him to land reliably on the correct lead. If we have to do a change, we’ll manage the best skip change we can. Getting around a course without adding and the occasional skip change is probably going to be the best we can do, so I’m working towards that.
I’m hoping to show him in the 2’6″ and 2’9″ all year, and have this
secret not so secret dream of getting to the 3′ adults by the end of the year. We’re never going to be the polished warmblood hunter pair that’s winning in the show ring, but we have the potential to cruise through a solid, pleasant trip. As I strive towards our personal hunter ideal, I’ll be clocking in as many show miles as we feel like doing. We might even sneak in a little local A show this summer in the name of fun and experience… you never know!
As long as the nerd horse is sound we’ll keep up this pursuit of happiness together.