Saturday morning I had my first xc lesson with new trainer D. The last time we saw an xc course was in November, which also happened to be where I met trainer D, when P & I participated in her xc clinic.
Since FINALLY getting some media on Friday night, I couldn’t go back to media-less again, especially for this, so husband dropped kids off at the babysitter to come with. And he didn’t disappoint- 27 videos. Hell yeah.
P was well(ish) behaved as we warmed up by trotting around the field each direction, until I asked him to canter and it was “GALLOP NOW WE GALLOP AROUND ALL THE JUMPS WE MAKE OPTIMUM TIME E’RY TIME”
Then it was time to jump. We started over the tiniest of logs and P was like “DIS NOTHING WE MAKE IT INTERESTING”
See me hunched over fearing for my life? Yeah, great way to start the day. But he made it.
We jumped the little log like 6 times until he calmed his little demonic self down and I started sitting back rather than throw my upper body forward. This was considered acceptable by trainer D:
I’m happy to report it did NOT take as long as it usually did, although as soon as I did it correctly, we moved to the next fence and I had to start all over on my upper body control. OMG, I KNOW what to do, my body just goes into self-preservation mode and fetal position = safety. Except it really doesn’t. Fetal position ACTUALLY = increasing the chance you’ll fall or getting a bloody nose. Why can’t I comprehend this?
Anyway, this was the front of the next fence:
And we jumped that fine.
Then trainer D asked us to jump it the other way so I turned around and P asked “WTF is that?”
And I said, ” I dunno” and slumped forward so he refused. Doh.
So we backed up and then I actually asked him to jump it and he obliged. And we did it again each way a few more times before Trainer D deemed us competent.
Ok, more than competent. P freaking rocks.
Of course, the tail end of that jump was this:
So we still have some things to work on.
The next jump was a N log. When I did the clinic in November, trainer D asked us if we wanted to jump that log along with another participant who was actually running Novice. P was going along great, but that log terrified me so I politely declined. It doesn’t look like much from the video since Matt decided to go rogue and ignore my videoing directions (I just asked that he get side shots) and he’s at the top of the hill.
Here I made a pretty bad mistake, but self-preservation went into overdrive. I asked P to trot as directed and he leapt into the canter and I was not exactly aiming for the log so I circled him…right before the jump. Bad KC, bad. Trainer D’s words: “If you point him at a jump, you’re committed. You can’t circle him in front of it, you’re teaching him it’s ok to not jump what you’re pointing him at.” Chastised, we jumped it a few more times.
Then we moved onto ditches. P has (surprisingly) never made any fuss about ditches and today was no exception. So we jumped it a few times each way and moved on.
Now onto the banks.
P has never been a fan of the up bank, though he’s always good at going back down. Something about him facing uphill makes him nervous and he wants to gallop. This was up bank #1:
This time I actually thought I was going to come off. But I didn’t, so we did it what seemed a zillion more times. Coming down he’s much more civilized.
Then we finished with the water. Nothing major, as P was tired and my ankle was throbbing. We just trotted through it each direction and trotted around in it for a few minutes. Zero hesitation from P, as he headed right in and happily splashed around.
All in all, besides the stupid mistakes I made, it was a great learning experience. Despite my fears, P didn’t completely forget about xc in the past 5 months and while I have ALOT to work on, I came away with knowing exactly what I need to work on and a plan for doing so. I’m definitely going to try for at least one more lesson with trainer D before the HT on April 30th, if I can find a weekday that works, and for sure going to have a dressage lesson with trainer J since she’s free most weekends. I cannot WAIT for the 30th to be here- I’ve missed xc so very very much.