And I have NO proof. Commence crying.
We arrived at Trainer B’s to see lots of smallish jumps. I mean as small as you’d expect from a pair of trainers who regularly set poles towards the top of the standards. And that was ok with me. We’re still getting back in the groove of jumping after the winter from hell, and hadn’t actually jumped a thing all week, thanks to work.
We warmed up over the flamingo cross rail a few times, then Trainer B set one of the big wavy boards as a vertical over the cross-rail. Oh, and the standard’s holes start at 3′. And the first and last time P jumped the wavy board as a vertical, this was the result:
So naturally that image was the first thing that crossed my mind. Trainer B must’ve seen the look of terror plastered on my face, and said not to look at it. I replied that it was quite the step up from the cross-rail. And he goes, “The cross rail’s still there, see?”
HAHA, Trainer B. Funny.
But I picked up the canter, came around and before I knew it, we were in the air. A full stride before the jump. P was NOT going to touch it. So…that was fun. We were in the air so long I had time to think, “Good thing he’s got a rubber bit in, since I just got left waaaay behind,” before we hit the ground. But we came around again, and he was much more reasonable in his takeoff.
So then we figured out courses, and Trainer B not-so-stealthily busied himself raising fences. And I found myself opening my mouth to make some sarcastic protest, then closed it. Because, you know what? I trust the guy. He knows P (I’d say he’s met nearly all of his personalities), and he knows me. He’s not the kind of trainer who just wings things to see how it plays out. He’s had a plan each and every single time and if he thinks those heights are where we’re at, then that’s where we’re at.
And we were there.
Besides one stop at the green shamrock jump (see picture above), which was totally my fault. We had rolled back to approach the jump, and as we straightened to it, I realized I couldn’t remember which way I had to turn to the next jump. We would have one stride to get our direction after landing, so I was a little panicky and I’m sure P could feel my uncertainty. Every fence I rode boldly (and with a forward pace, hooray!) was rewarded by him, ya know, jumping. We came around and jumped the green a few more times, and he jumped every time.
And our final test was a course of 8 jumps, including the 2 stride. And we nailed it. It was perfect. I pulled him to not a single fence, I rode forward, P responded and jumped what I thought of as our first true Novice height course.
Except it wasn’t. It was a mixture of Novice height and Training height, which I (wisely) wasn’t informed until we were done. I KNEW a few of those looked bigger than N, so good to know I wasn’t crazy.
It was without a doubt one of the best lessons ever. Despite the fact that everytime P stops, a little piece of me dies, it was educational and we got to end on a fantastic note that left me oh-so-hopeful.