But when jump trainer P had to cancel our typical Saturday lesson, Brita and I decided to take things into our own hands. So off we went!
|horses look happy and ready to go!|
And of course, readers love getting the gory details first, so we'll cut straight to the part where I
fell off voluntarily dropped from my position clinging to the horse's side like a monkey.
Still not entirely sure what happened here, other than one stride lines of oxers have posed problems for us in the past (ahem, HERE and HERE) - so perhaps this one stride line of raised logs had the same effect? And let's just forget that we've jumped this exact set of fences a ton before... that was last year and this is this year. So be it.
|the exact moment shit got real. technically still mounted at this point|
Those efforts were unsuccessful, alas, so I just dropped to my feet. Boooooo Isabel! (but seriously tho, thanks for just kinda standing there while I flailed around instead of taking off bolting!!)
|nope, no longer on the horse. finally. tho the shadow kinda makes it look like the horse is on me?!?|
|wicked would like to announce to the world that he felt VERY ALIVE at this moment|
The rest of the schooling was actually quite positive and uneventful. (Even if I didn't feel great about it). We did most of what I set out to do:
- keep the height in my comfort zone, we want confidence!
- cover all the important questions
- get in, get it done, and get out. no need to wear the mare out after the day prior's intense dressage clinic!
And I couldn't have been happier with Isabel's warm up - walk trot cantering all through the field around all the obstacles (including a preemptive check for groundhog holes). She was nicely balanced and mostly connected to the bridle, happily going up and down the hill.
Per our last xc lesson with Dan, Isabel was responsible for our canter lead as we changed directions. No signals or input from me - just the expectation that she'd figure it out. And she did. The mare behaved like a seasoned event horse out there - so we at least have that going for us!
|three stride combination|
So we did lots of related distances - 4, 3 and 1 stride combos (one of which was decidedly less successful than the others... thank goodness N has a minimum of 2 strides!). And the occasional strange fence (hi carrot jump!!).
|nom nom nom!!|
But actually the lessons from last summer stuck and our ditch efforts rode really well in both directions. I was very pleased that I (mostly) kept us on our rhythm rather than allowing that last hesitant stutter stride before the ditch. Isabel felt slightly uncommitted to the up side of the Irish bank, but up she went, and down she happily dropped on the far side.
|ditch in foreground, up and down Irish bank in background|
Also worth noting - my saddle pads slipped quite a bit after the red roll tops in the second video, sparking concerns that the trial K&M saddle had climbed up Isabel's shoulders. Upon unceremoniously dismounting at the one-stride, I double checked and the saddle itself looked good - like just the pads slipped. But saddle fitter J is taking a look anyway.
So. First cross country school of the season is in the books folks.