That’s right. Leo has been in Florida kicking booty. And I FINALLY got to see him.
I drove down with the owner of Trainer B’s home base farm super early last Thursday AM and made a bee line for his stall before the car came to a complete stop. And I’m fairly certain he remembered me, as he promptly tried to climb out of his stall when I stepped back out.
Trainer B flatted him and it was all I could do to not pull him off and take him back over myself. But I showed a magnitude in self-restraint because Leo was going to his first Beginner Novice!
Things Leo has remembered:
Things Leo has learned:
-And…How to stand super chill on the trailer while all your friends get on and off for their ride times (hallelujah)
Since he was in the lowest division of all the horses entered that weekend, he had the last times of the day. And even though the show grounds had calmed down by the time he was getting ready to go…he still hadn’t been off the farm since arriving in Florida in December. So it could go either way.
But this was his dressage:
Which looked to me like a huge improvement over the last 2 (and only 2) times he’s been to a show and done dressage. But the judge noted tension in like every movement so he scored a 38-something. Whatevs. I love him.
Then a few hours later was SJ. I legit held my breath when Trainer B pointed him at jump 1, a “big” oxer. But Leo never even hesitated.
He had 2 rails down behind, likely due to distraction, but LOOK AT HIM
What impressed me most was how he handled it. No, no one wants rails, but Leo USED to get super upset and leap in the air then try to bolt when he’d hit one. And being a Super Ammy, uhhh, calm yo’self. But he made the jumps look so easy (though that’s likely due to Trainer B).
The next day was XC and now Leo hasn’t jumped a full XC course since Virginia with me, and Trainer B only has a few plain logs and a corner in his field. Honestly, the course looked a little spooky (to me, seeing it through a green young horse’s eyes) with TWO waters, both dyed a shade of blue he’s never seen before. But OH MAH WORD, he absolutely nailed it.
The only thing that would’ve made me happier is if I were riding him (duh), but I’m super thankful to Trainer B for making it happen. He had a lot of rides that 4 day show, and did even more coaching, and with Leo going last at the end of loooong days, it would’ve been easy- and understandable- to not give him great rides. But that clearly didn’t happen, and Leo was able to get yet another solid experience under his belt.
There’s one more show for Leo in March and the tentative plan was for me to go down there again and ride him, then compete, but the show starts the day we’re supposed to be closing on our house, so likely I won’t make it down there again and Trainer B will ride him. Then after Carolina International, I’ll get my horse back and be able to boop the snoot on the daily!