Ahhhh. It seems to only rain once a week here, but when it does...well. IT DOES....
I have never been xc schooling so much in a 2 week period in my life, I love it! It gives me a chance to chill out and focus on the ride instead of thinking "XC XC XC!!!"
Wedensday Amy and I were in the barn cleaning the unseeingly endless pile of tack that a sole four horses create when I got a text from Buck's groom, Carly, "Be ready to pull out in 20 minutes with horses tacked, schooling at Longwood". I am a very planning and organized type of person, and this style of touch and go is very foreign to me.
I texted: "ok"
In my head: "AHHHHHHHH!"
20 minutes later I have 2 horses loaded. This is Thomas and Lusty's first time out xc since Galway last November, so I was expecting a bit of frisky. Took a while to get to Longwood (beautiful facility by the way!!! Met the owners, poor things just had a random truck knock over an electrical pole on their property so were dealing with that. Never a dull moment at farms!)
Lusty was fantastic totally in her element, and was very patient when we jumped only some smaller things and worked on flow in the gallop, coming back for technical questions all while keeping her in front of the leg. We did a roll top skinny one stride to a down bank that she particularly had fun with ;)
Thomas was a perfect angel. He was sticky on a couple of fences so I galloped him forward after. Buck said that was the right response, only thing he would change is to gallop forward while turning. Not only does that engage his hind more, but then made it easier to collect after that for the next obstacle. He mentioned that young horses aren't able to collect from a gallop on a straight line yet. I hadnt thought about that but it makes perfect sense! Also, turning as quickly as possible to get to the next fence (especially if it is the same fence again) helps the horse remember what you are working on (instead of randomly cantering a large circle while they focus on something else)
The next day was the rainey day. When I woke up it was beautiful and sunny just like any other ocala morning. That quickly changed. A fog rolled in like I had never seen; it was thick and solid, not touching the ground and expanding upward only as high as a mountain range. Being from oregon, I had to do a double-take. It looked like, honestly, like a solid white mountain range. It got weirder.....the sky then took on a brownish color. I have never seen a brown sky before, even the smoggiest of LA skies did not look like this. The sky was angry....then the rains started.
I was able to ride 2 horses dressage before we planned to leave for Bruce's to XC school. (Lusty btw is doing very well, her top line is growing nicely and she is really liking Buck's saddle). One of the working students informed me that the storm would be hitting a climax around noon, the time we were set to pull out of the farm. Of course. Thunder likely. Lightening likely. I love schooling, but not enough to die over.
By the time we got to Bruce's, luckily the worst of the storm was over, and it ended up being even more beautiful than before the storm. Amy took Atlas schooling on his second time out ever, and I was seriously impressed, wish we could keep him! He was cool, smooth, and honest to his fences, figuring out the terrain quite well!
To catch you up to date, today was pretty chill. I did trot sets on Fizzy, while a friend from Bruce's came over and trot stetted Thomas with me. We hiked up our stirrups to "jockey" height and held our gallop position instead of posting. Great core strength workout! And if that wasn't enough, I galloped lusty on the track 4 miles. We start with twice around the track at a trot, canter 2 times around, switching leads every half circle, trot, change directions, then go at it again the other way. IF we were actually galloping it would have been easier. Instead it was a fairly slow canter, keeping lusty round and connected while I am all the way out the tack was not easy. My triceps are sooo sore. Don't think I have had such a workout in a while!!!
With Lusty all iced and wrapped with sore no more, I am looking forward to tomorrow when we go to the Wellington Derby cross!!! We will leave around 1pm so we can work the horses in the AM, and drive back that night late late late!!!
Jump like you mean it-WW