After obtaining my WB mare Cally I decided this would be the year I'd finally try XC. Until I decided that she probably wouldn't be suitable for it at all & we'd stick with the hunter ring... The gals all decided they were going to go to an Intro to Eventing Clinic last Sunday & I thought - why not? No I did not load up Cally but Dani, my 14.3hh (maybe 15hh) 7yo AQH mare. And it ROCKED. It was just so exhilarating & nothing like feeling so proud of your horse for doing something she's never done before in an entirely new place.
It still kinda scares the crap out of me, but was soooooo much fun. Our clinician was awesome she really focused on solid Dressage foundations that transferred to a good XC ride which took with me since Dressage is all I've been doing for the past 5ish years. It was VERY obvious I'm a bit out of shape & need to focus on my leg position and getting stronger in my body again. Almost took a couple of spills due to rider error. I need to stop looking at my jumps. As the clinician told me "Your mare would jump the moon for you. She's an amazing little jumper. You look at the jump though so then she's like 'am I supposed to look too?' then decides it must be pretty scary." LOL so definitely got some work to do. It felt wonderful to hear her speak so highly of Dani too.
Dani & I had just jumped 2'6" for the first time ever last week >.> I took H/J lessons for years when I was younger, have been jumping quite frequently with Cally (and the hunt coach that used to be at the barn has helped me a bit), but us together have never jumped anything big.
Our Jumps: I felt confident with this height. Also didn't feel the need to raise them since we needed to work on me and my balance. Little jumps work just fine for that.
These were the scary haybale jumps I almost fell off after both times LOL. Was literally hanging off her neck having to haul myself back on. She was such a good mare though & didn't freak out.
Then us actually jumping! Yes I know my faults & what went wrong >.> Our final round - which they didn't take pictures of - went much better and smoother. I actually stopped looking at my jump & just let her take care of me LOL. She refused this one every time too >.>
*cringe* I swear I do know how to jump much better than this...
Cantering up to the jump, this looks like a refusal in the making LOL
Everyone at the barn makes fun of me because I told them this mare was crazy. And really. She was. When Dani was younger it was always a rodeo to ride her. She was hot, spirited, & wanted nothing to do with my agenda. Eventually she calmed down in our little makeshift arena and I started feeling far more confident about her. I could trust her enough to let my little sister ride & she was making huge improvements. Trails were still an issue though or going anywhere new. In just the past few months being at this new barn though she's been amazing. No longer the little mare that would absolutely tweak out or spook like crazy. Her first trail she rocked. And after that she's been doing wonderfully. We can go run around like crazy in the front pasture then slow down for an easy walk. She can take the lead on trails although prefers the back or middle. Like I said earlier we took our first big jumps together (we always messed around with cavaletti at my place) just a few weeks ago & she was amazing. Then this. Doing something entirely new, cantering through the pasture, leaping over scary jumps (I just need to remember she isn't the crazy mare she was & I need to trust her more!). Fearless. It's just wonderful knowing I have a horse who would do anything with me & I feel like is a true partner. But yeah Sorry went on a bit there but this was just a huge deal for me LOL.