I’m a classic overthinker so it should surprise exactly no one that all I’ve thought about since Sunday is the XC schooling, uh, experience.
Focus on the good. DO IT. DO IT NOW.
The highs of that day definitely outweighed the lows. By FAR. P used to have pretty much a 95% stopping rate at new jumps, and even familiar jumps were 50/50. He’s never jumped ANY of the Novice jumps at Windridge, so those were all brand new to him. And I estimated we jumped about 60 total times, since many of the jumps we repeated multiple times. He refused 2 separate jumps two times each, for a total of 4 refusals. That’s a 6% stopping rate. Yes, I did the math.
So why can’t I stop dwelling on it? I’m not sure. Maybe because I just can’t figure him out when it comes to this issue. He was so bold over the first couple jumps, then the spook at 3 was somewhat understandable. But the spinning and bolting like that at 4 was really uncalled for.
Was it because it was the first time we were heading away from the other horses?
Was he angry that I used my spurs when I felt him wiggle?
Was he legit scared of the stupid, plain rolltop?
Was it because he stopped at the previous jump, even though he ended up jumping it, and just felt like being bad?
I. DON’T. KNOW.
Living the dream.
This is where I try to lighten up. First of all, I have a horse. Do you know how many years I wished for a horse? Literally decades. My kid-self would dropkick me from here to outer space if she heard me complaining about my horse.
It’s really happening.
Back in January, I wrote a post about a dream I had, where I accidentally walked a Novice course instead of BN, so Trainer B made me do that division. I told him about it because HA HA, and then his response was this:
When I saw that, I laughed out loud. Because sooooo funny. But the joke was on me, because we really did it, 5 months later. Yeesh.
Jumps are looking doable.
Yesterday I went to Trainer B’s for a lesson. His wife told me that B had talked to the owner of Windridge after we schooled there, and the log we took going uphill? Training. I said, “But it had a white number!” But apparently it’s only Novice if we had jumped it the other way, from flat ground. Jumping it uphill bumps it up to the Training division.
And the last combination we did- the half coffin to log thing? It didn’t have flags, Trainer B assumed it was Novice (he’s not allowed to have opinions on jump levels anymore), but yep, that was Training, too.
In Trainer B’s words, “Look, you were schooling Training and we didn’t even know it!”
Don’t get me wrong- I still look at some Novice ones and my initial reaction is, “Yikes,” but for the most part, P is making them seem possible. Like the bench jump that he skipped over without a second thought…when I say that jump, for whatever reason, crept into all my thoughts of Novice, I’m not exaggerating.
And I even found myself watching Trainer B and his working student jumping the (flagged) Training jumps, and going, “Hey, that’s not so bad.” Shhhh, no one tell him.
Sharing the Fails.
I don’t really hold back on this blog. I mean, I write it for me and no one else, and the purpose of this at the end of the day is to detail our training (and to have a place to put all the hundreds of videos and pictures of my usually-adorable horse), and the fails are part of it.
That being said, I went through a recent phase where I would sort of mention failures, but wouldn’t post associated media, mainly the stops. My reasoning was that I didn’t want to see it myself. I didn’t want to dwell on the stops, and just wanted to post perfect pictures/videos. Kinda like most everyone’s IG account.
So when I was writing the post about XC, I had a block of text about the refusals, then videos of our successes. I hadn’t even looked at the footage of the stops at that point.
But you know what? Not posting it doesn’t make me forget it, as much as I wish it did. And maybe a year from now P will have never stopped at anything again (hush, I can dream, right?) and I can post the gif of the insane stop/spin/bolt move he did and laugh at it.
One of my favorite blogs to follow is Tales from a Bad Eventer (seriously hilarious…and oh-so-relatable), and I appreciate blogs like that because it’s honest and gives me some hope. No one is perfect 100% of the time and it’s ok to show the uglies, too. Plus, the fails are funnier.
Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy working with Trainer B?
Seriously, I can’t believe where we are now vs a year ago.
In June 2017, I went XC schooling with Bette at Windridge (same place we went this past Sunday). Except last year not only did P refuse pretty much all of the tiny starter jumps and need a lead over for many of them, those tiny little starter jumps looked enormous and daunting to me.
It’s pretty incredible, really, and I owe it all to him. He never gets upset, he never makes me feel less-than, he’s just so methodical and well, genius, that I know we really lucked out. In all my years of re-riding as an adult, I’ve never felt more secure in the saddle, more confident on my horse, and more equipped to deal with (most) issues that arise.
Priceless stuff right there.