But, once you've been foxhunting in wind driven, 40°F blinding rain (opening meet 2009 baby!) what's a little drizzle, right?
|Blessing of the Hounds, October 2009|
We arrived and Daatje munched hay in the trailer while I went to the ring to register and check out the first practice course. When I saw the itsy-bitsy cross rails in the ring I immediately relaxed. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm a weenie about the jumps, quite the contrary. (Put me on a pony that's game and I'll jump anything they will, it's happened!) But, with fences *that* low, Daatje could walk over them if she got a mental hang-up and that thought totally made my day. My goal was to make this a positive experience for the little lady (and me too!)
We were running a bit late, so I walked the little course once just to get my bearings and went to bridle the big girl.
She's such a champ when it comes to travelling. Unloaded herself off the trailer nice and slow and waited patiently while I finished tacking her up and hopped on.
At ringside, one of the gracious volunteers of the WNRDC was offering coaching to anyone who wanted it. I figured it'd be awesome to have eyes on the ground and feedback while I rode through the course, so we took advantage of it.
The teensy 18" cross rails went quite well. Better than I expected, actually. Daatje looked at the flowers and some of the brightly colored fences, but (and here's the kicker) she didn't really care about the surroundings! (yay!) She was attentive and listening to me quite well.
So, off we went on another 18" round of the 7 little fences. Smooth and forward. In fact, the coach kept telling me to slow down! In between rounds we sat on the rail and watched the other riders go. We completed two rounds at 18", two at 2', one at 2'3" and ended our day with a course of 2'6", which rolled along pretty smoothly considering Daatje was pretty pooped out by then. :)
So, there you have it. We did a course of 2'6" away from home, in a strange ring over strange fences........and had it been a competition, we would not have been eliminated! She didn't even touch a rail.
Hmmm....does this mean a 2-phase or odd jumper show could be in our future next year?
Wouldn't that be cool.
Next up is the WWH Hunter Pace on August 11th. I'll be riding with a new pace rider I've never met who has an OTTB that may need a babysitter. :) There will be photos.