I took Thomas, Ted, and Lusty up to Yelm, WA so I could do a little jumping and help the crew prepare for the show! Aspen is always one of the most exciting recognized events of the year. There are a ton of vendors, parties, and delicious catering for volunteers (major incentive;) After doing a ton of mulching, ponies were jumping well on tuesday, and had dressage lessons with the fabulous Jean Moyer on thursday. Lusty felt the best ever; moving forward and connected in all her gaits. For those of you following Ted's shoeing drama on my facebook page, we finally got everything sorted when professional event shoer Brian Strelow fixed Ted: he ran the whole weekend in his regular shoes with no lost shoes x-c!!! Ok, back to friday....
We have been working very hard on Ted's counter-canter to walk transitions. He does canter-walk transitions very smoothly, but for some reason he has trouble keeping his hind end under him in the counter-canter for the walk transition. He warmed up so well, keeping in mind what we learned from Jean the day before. As we went down the center line, Ted puffed himself up and decided he was going to show off, what a handsome boy! He did the best test ever, fantastic lengthenings and transitions. I was so proud!
Next on to Lusty: I have to say we had the best warmup we have had together. It has been so wonderful getting to learn and grow with her. I feel like we are becoming a great team. We had some difficulties getting tense about halfway through the test, but all in all, I was thrilled with our progress.
Thomas had been a superstar all week as I had been treating him for tender soles. He was still a little footsore, but put in a solid test, scoring a 30, not bad for a 4 year old!
Tremaine Cooper put together one of the most challenging and intimidating intermediate courses I have seen in a while. I knew if Ted could get through this, we would be well on our way to qualifying for a two star. There were big galloping fences, angled coffin combinations, angled two strides, corner-corner lines....He was so good! I made a mistake and held too much on the upbank-bounce, so he ran out of steam ontop of the hill, but came right around and did it perfect the second time....gooood boy! Lusty decided that prelim was beneath her and shot out of the box like a bat out of hell. I had to do alot of managing on course so we ended up with time penalties, but I made a good decision as she behaved very well the second half and jumped much more safely.
For Thomas, the warmup was the most challenging. It seemed that all the other riders thought he had a target on his head and kept running into him! He would stop, spin, bolt, and take off bucking....so fun. Also the golf carts driving by were very threatening...apparently....Even so, Thomas was a little trooper in his second beginner novice course. It was pretty scary for the little thing: shiney barrels, slat tables, water and a ton of terrain. He was sure the photographers were going to eat him, so cute! By the end he had it all figured out and was taking fences in stride and relaxed.
Early sunday morning, Ted was ready for a big and challenging course. He was very good and brave, jumping everything as best he could. We had a scary moment over a big wide orange oxar at fence 3, but we picked ourselves up on the backside and made the sharp turn to the skinny and finished the course! If anything, it was a true test in guts and tenacity, and I am sure we both passed. I never like to see 3 rails on my record, but I know it was a great first go for Ted's very first intermediate, good boy!
Lusty was a true pro in her show jumping, it felt like a hunter round. She is just a beautiful jumper and made every jump feel effortless. For Thomas, in our attempt to ward off eager beginner novice riders, my wonderful groom, Amy Spink, tied these cute red ribbons in his forelock and tail. Alas, the thought of freaking out a baby pony was too tempting for our competitors, and the ribbons proved ineffective after about 5 minutes :( Even so, he settled beautifully and jumped his round like a pro.
A great weekend at Aspen ended with Ted in 8th and Thomas in 3rd, winning some prize money in the Zeit Open Beginner Novice Challenge. Good ponies, good lessons, and ready to learn more at Inavale Trials in 2 weeks!