Here there be dragons...

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GRS Goes to Checkmate

On Sunday Sienna and Ned went to Checkmate to school XC. Both horses got there and behaved like old pros -- looked around, not the least bit stressed about being in a new place. So same game as on Sat -- we went over to start in the sandring. Ned was an absolute superstar! Nicole got on, was able to w/t/c no problem. Had some *really* nice trot work -- through, forward, round etc... Super. I lunged Sienna for a few mins before I got on -- she was a little ADD -- esp down where the other horses were standing in the paddock watching, but otherwise excellent. She jumped around the w/u like a pro. Even the skinny oxer (ummm never having done a skinny and having done all of 2 oxers) no problem. hahaha brush boxes, scary things, all good. Jumped the stad fences like an old pro. I was pretty impressed. Ned started out as a star but wasn't too impressed w/ the bricks from the Checkmate wall. Really didn't want anything to do w/ it. Had Sienna lead, but he wasn't about to take the word of some scrawny little chestnut mare that this was safe. hahaha and so, trying to avoid a battle, got Paula to lead him over it in-hand. hahaha and once she'd done that they were good to go. Did it a whole bunch of times (w/ random Xs thrown in to just to reassure his confidence). A few times though -- cleared the 1.5" fence by an extra 3'. By the end though he was hopping over it no problem.

So out we go on XC. Well Si was an old pro, but you'd swear Ned had never even SEEN grass before. Shying at things that are only in his imagination and bouncing around. *Really* surprised his rider -- but she chilled out pretty quickly when she realized he wasn't going to do anything other than bounce (never tried to do a thing wrong). So we went over a random log on the ground -- Sienna leading and Ned following. He was perfect. Let them go over by themselves both walking and trotting. Complete non-issue. By this point he'd pretty well stopped shying at things -- learning fast. Next field I took Si up and down the baby bank a few times -- then it was time for Ned to follow. He was very disconcerted about this. Poor guy just didn't get it. So again, got Paula to lead him up. And he did it -- but took a HUGE leap which entirely unseated Nicole. Oops. So Ned trotted away for a bit till he finally remembered what grass is for and stopped to graze. Unfortunately he stepped on his reins and broke his bridle in the process :( Fortunately he chilled out enough that Nicole and Paula could catch him. So I had them rig the rein to the noseband and we went back to the trailer where I (having played this game before) had all sorts of extra pieces that could rebuild a bridle (albeit I expected Sienna to be the one in need of new pieces not Ned, but sobeit :) Nicole, who was fine, hopped back on and we headed back out. Jump another log which he LOVED. His whole body lit up with "I can DO this!!!" -- should've seen how proud he was of himself. hahaha so I let them jump that one a few times. But anything that didn't look pretty well exactly like a stad fence he was very concerned about. So mostly I had her work on just letting him see the world and chill. W/T/C as appropriate and every once in a while hop over a *really* straight forward PE fence (which he always cleared by miles). By the end he was hacking really well. Able to go away from and towards Sienna w/o losing it -- and ok w/ her leaving him (the first time not so much, but after that he was good). Still really not sure about things, but willing to try (ie walking over the bridge). N did they ever have some absolutely AMAZING flat work where we learned that Ned can FLOAT. Was very impressive to watch. I had him skip the first water cause I know he's not a big mud fan and the entry point was squishy, but had to go through the 2nd one cause it was on the way home... Again, Paula to the rescue. She returned Saturday's favour and led him through the water (although she was smarter than I and wore crocs so didn't have to take shoes off :) He had a great time once he was actually IN the water splashing and playing and generally soaking Paula So I don't think that'll be an issue for long. This water crossing is about perfect to school though cause the entry/exit is entirely sand so no squishiness. And then we hacked home. N by this point he was hacking like a pro.

Sienna otoh totally got the whole concept. Awesome rhythm, keeping her pace to anything we went to. Even up/down the new PT/T bank -- no problem! Jumped all of the PE and most of the E course. Woohoo :) Such a superstar. N totally kewl w/ going through the water and giving Ned a lead anywhere needed... I was pretty thrilled.

So we untack, and had a little picnic :) Horses grazing on dandy lions w/ water (which both played in and neither really drank much of). People w/ the wonderful basket of food Nicole's mum sent N basically hung out for a bit, generally enjoyed the nice day/good weather, groomed horses, put everything away, turned trailer around, etc. Loading was a bit of an issue cause Ned really didn't want to leave -- not the least bit concerned about the trailer, just not particularly wanting to go home. A bit of a frustrating note to end on admittedly (although my little horse loaded like a star :) but otherwise another great xc schooling day!


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