So we headed out and took the back way in [we are covered by insurance plus we know the risks, we're not stupid!] and started with the low-level stuff to warm our boys up. My friend's horse is just coming back from a tendon injury so we didn't want to push little Jack too far... she stuck with mostly E grade [18" and under] fences and some D grade [2'2"] whereas I intended to jump the "big" stuff.
Our local course only goes up to C grade/Intro 1 [2'8" high 3'4" wide] but C grade is big enough for me for now... we are aiming to move up through the grades next year and might be going to the pony club in the next town over if we can manage it.
Aaaaaannnnywayyy. We spent a good four hours out on course, just popping over random fences, and somewhere after about the first hour I popped over the first C grade fence, a fence that terrified me 8 months ago course walking for my first ever ODE despite the fact that I wasn't going to have to jump it! It was one of those chair-shaped fences, and hadn't been cleaned out of the vegetables from the ODE at the start of the year so it had onions growing in it. I was freaking out, but pushed Monty forward and we cleared it first try.
We went through jumping everything that was safe [friend was sticking to the D grade stuff] and barring a few stops from both horses because they were in a funny mood, we cleared everything easily. Nobody fell off, and I find myself wondering why C grade fences were so scary.
The majority of the C grade course is well under-height but Monty and I did jump the two or three jumps on course that are actually at or close to height. Including the C grade tyres which sounds simple but is quite an intimidating fence... big and solid and wide!
We are ready to upgrade but I want a win at E grade before we do, just because 4th place out of 7 competitors and only 5 finishers isn't that great and there's no real point in upgrading if you're not at or near the top of your grade. Oh and our dressage needs a lot of work... not that it isn't getting that work, I just need to remember to push him forward when I'm nervous, and at this stage because of my lack of confidence I can't push him forward into a snaffle, so we're flatting in his jumping bridle.
Also discovered we CAN canter towards home on the buckle. He was still REALLY goey by the time we finished so it's not that he was tired! I think my trust in him has gone up a lot after yesterday.
...and the best part?!
This might become WEEKLY. SJ one day a week, XC one day a week, then 4 flat sessions? YES PLEASE.
No pics, we forgot, but maybe next week.