Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Sienna visits Cedar Peaks

Took Sienna to Cedar Peaks yesterday. Amazing facility -- I'd never been there before. Good day overall -- got to see some people I haven't seen in a while (although not nearly enough time to get caught up!), meet some new people, perfect weather (actually got some tan!), great footing, etc etc.

Tack C up, hop on, and promptly get told for wearing a standing martingale. hahaha oops. I *like* my standing. But I have had coaches in the past who are adamantly against it and apparently this one is one of those *sigh* So lose the martingale and off we go. Flat w/u in the stad/dr ring (HUGE gorgeous ring w/ just about perfect footing. 20x60 dr ring w/ white boards AND a full stad course. Not half bad :) Hack out to the XC course -- all on hills, rolling, etc. No real place to gallop but possibly the best low-level schooling I've been to in ON. TONS of PE-T jumps all scattered around of all different types/styles/etc. Lots of "little but technical" which is brilliant. Stuff you usually don't get to play w/ till prelim but baby sized. woohoo! So this particular coach likes to w/u for cross by going up and down banks. Theory is gets them to use their backs and generally get moving in a complete no pressure environment. C was a superstar for this -- no prob @ all. Although the more often we went down the more dramatic it got, but sobeit. Then jumped around a couple little logs -- still no prob. Except of course "you know you're *really* overjumping that" hahaha yeah there's a surprise! Ah well. Started doing some combinations and that went not so well -- partially cause they were a little bigger than she's been used to (real E as opposed to PE) and partially cause I was riding a bit stupidly :( Not so good on a green bean. @ one point I was told to follow another horse -- just fine till she decided this was a race and she could go much faster without me! hahaha n yeah I was loose enough to come off. Boooo. Stupid pilot error that cause while she was bucking it really wasn't bad -- certainly nothing on Zel in her younger years! hahaha Coach looks over at me "what are you doing down there?" other rider chimes in with "you missed it! She hit the long grass and decided she couldn't let her feet touch it." I told him yeah the jump was fine, it was three strides after that was a little exciting. "Well if you're going to do that you have to do it when I'm watching!" hahaha classic eh? So the type of thing I'd say to my students *g* On the plus side, teaching my horse that we gallop/jump/gallop/stop and graze has proven to be a good thing cause of course as soon as I and the horse we were following stopped (she stopped when one of the spectators alerted her to the fact that I was no longer technically *on* the horse) C promptly stopped to graze. Classic eh? Did make her easy to catch though. hahaha hop back on, go do it again w/o a lead this time and all was well. Lots more little fences (PE type -- some were scary looking but all little.) Spent a lot of time walk up, jog last few strides, hop over. Hope being to get her to rock back and use her hind end, gymnastic style. Build strength/power/etc. Given her own choice she'd *much* prefer to canter -- but long and flat. N we all know how well *that* works! hahaha Did the first "ditch" (read "terrain change") beautifully. Wasn't having anything to do w/ the 2nd one at all. But this was very intimidating too. Not too wide but quite deep and stone dust (which she really doesn't care for - although is getting better about) on either side. And skinny. Fully winged -- giant tree on one side, trekhaner (that'd be a big ditch with something over it) on the other -- but skinny. Anyways -- wasn't having anything to do w/ that. N in return was doing the "rear-spin-left-bolt game again. She hasn't done that since like wk 2 @ Denny's -- n she's a lot stronger now :( I was not happy. Some brave and kind spectator was able to help me get her going forward by clucking etc from behind her (yeah long-lineing), so I took her down and over the first ditch n then hopped off and led her over the scary one -- several times :) When she was getting the hang of that I hopped back on and got one of the other riders to give us a lead (which she wouldn't take before) and this -- after a couple tries -- worked. Still though I wasn't entirely happy w/ how it went, but sobeit. Went and played in the water, which she's a superstar at so that was good, n then jumped some more baby fences and headed home. She was *bouncing* on the ride home -- clearly not too tired!

But yeah I was fairly disappointed w/ my own performance which clearly didn't help C w/ hers. My coach had another group heading out to school T/P so I took C's tack off, gave her a drink, and took her back out w/ the T/P group in-hand. This meant I got to run up and down the hills w/ her to catch up w/ them, and I lead her over just about all the jumps (which she was *still* clearing by a ridiculous amount) and back and forth over the ditch till she was bored w/ it. Was very happy about that part of things -- hopefully that'll help for future attempts. That and that we're going to go back and school Grandview w/ Bob again. hahaha but she's def getting the whole "gallop and jump" thing down. Not so interested in just quietly hacking around anymore. Ah well.

Fortunately for me other horses and lessons all went *very* well last night. Nicole had Ned going like a superstar -- even if he *is* afraid of chipmunks! hahaha N those poor chipmunks have *no* sense of self-preservation at all. Not so bad w/ Rye who does the elephant and the mouse thing so they don't need to be afraid cause he's not going near them, but once Neddy got over his initial concern he was all about trampling them and they just sit there looking at him w/ cute chipmunk faces... Very sad really. But all did survive thanks to Nicole's driving skills :) Tricky to steer around critters that blend into the ground, but somehow she managed it :)

Ok back to the barn to try again.


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