Here there be dragons...

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

Graduate Riding School goes to Glen Oro

Nicole took Mr Ned to school Glen Oro on Sunday. Cold and drizzly (what happened to summer????) argh! But otherwise a good day. We had the property to ourselves which was kinda kewl -- supervised by three dogs who came out to great us and inspect the beast.

Ned was a little bouncy -- now those of you who've had the pleasure of meeting Ned will understand how exciting that is cause really, Ned doesn't bounce. Ned is far too dignified to bounce. But bounce he did :) And it was sort of amusing from the sidelines, although it took a bit before Nicole agreed w/ that *g* Their first canter circle was a candidate for the 8 second award. But Nicole was good -- she diligently followed rule number 1! Woohoo :)

We warmed up in the stadium area over all the very nice very scary looking stad fences, but Ned quickly gained his confidence and before too long was jumping round the course like an old pro. So we headed out on XC where Ned got to learn all about trotting up and down hills. hahaha taking huge power strides on the flat and tinsy-tiny-tippy-toe strides down the hill. But at least he was thinking n that counts for a lot when you're out on XC.

Then the games begin. Ned cleared his first PE fence by an extra 2' @ least. Gorgeous bascule, knees up around his ears, and Nicole - used to Ned's exuberance by now - rode it beautifully. Went around a few more times till he was treating the PE fence like, oh I don't know, a PE fence. hahaha and then moved on to a variety of different logs that together make up the PE and E XC course. Wasn't entirely sure about about the big log in the treeline, but Nicole convinced him this'd be an ok idea and so for her he took a courageous leap and launched them into the other field :)

Ironically his biggest fence of the day, a PT stack of logs in a tree-line, was the only one he couldn't be bothered to overjump. Classic eh? Just cleared it w/ just the right amount of space -- although *did* make it significantly bigger than it needed to be by jumping on an angle, but that's not tragic :) Preparation for T level tables eh?

Now Neddy has not historically been a huge fan of banks -- either up or down. But today Nicole got him to go down the tiny baby drop (which he treated as though it were Rolex :). So *slight* overjump but reasonably willing and oh-so-proud of himself after the fact. And then we went up the rather large prelim bank by virtue of Ned was following me on a long rein (as we'd been doing walking inbetween the different parts of the course all day) so Nicole stayed quiet as though we were still just wandering around the course and I climbed up on the bank so he, w/ a little encouragement, climbed up after me. hahaha graceful, it was not. On either of our parts >;-P But calm and quiet and confident it was. And then he was able to just walk down the other side, good to go :) Nothing to it :) I was sooooo impressed w/ him for that :)

Felt the need to inspect the horse-eating tires for any demons that might be residing there, but once he ascertained nothing toooo scary was involved jumped those beautifully. Add in a few coups and a few more log piles and there you have the PE/E course!

There is, unfortunately, no water on the entry course.... However, we went and played in the upper level water obstacle instead. hahaha Mr. Ned was a pro! Walk/trot/canter in and out, both directions, no hesitation. Didn't even stop to sniff (although did try to grab a snack @ one point!). Compare this to the horse who @ our first outting at Checkmate this spring had to be lead through the water -- and even *then* it almost didn't happen! Always fun to watch a horse's confidence grow :) I seem to recall at that outting we could count on one hand the number of jumps he actually did too as the rest were just too much for his little brain even w/ a lead. Now, out on his own, he got to the point where he'd jump into the field and look for the next one! Nicole had to redirect him when he decided the intermediate table was the next obstacle on course. Ummmm not this year hon :)

So after the water we put together a few mini-courses (mini cause I still wanted them to be in sight! So they could only go in a field or two at a time...) Every one went well and by the end he even had the "follow the mowed path" concept down :) hahaha Next year: real shows!

Overall an awesome day :) Congrats Nicole for an awesome job done AND for sticking to rule #1!


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