Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Tulip Springs Show and XC clinic
Jasper and I arrived at Tulip Springs at about 4:00 on Friday. It was very strange to pull into a place and not know anyone. I was glad the 3 hour drive went by without incident but was still unsure of what to expect for the next four days. Jasper got to stay in an outdoor 12x24 pen that was very nice, and I got to park the trailer with all my junk in it right in front of it. I put his hay net up and filled his water tub and set up camp in the back of my trailer. Swept it out, put a horse blanket down, my air bed with sleeping bag on top. I made the mistake of leaving the door open. The next time I went in there I found a kitty and about 5,000 flies buzzing around.
We went for a hand walk to stretch out his legs. He is not a good traveler and arrives covered with sweat (and sometimes shaking) after his rides in trailers. We went out on the cross country course and jumped things I could jump too- like logs, ditches, baby banks... he seemed quite happy to follow me over anything. I couldn't help thinking of when he broke my finger because I stepped on a tarp and he flew backwards. What an improvement.
Carol, the owner of Tulip Springs, showed me a trail that led to some nice fields to ride in so I saddled up and headed out for a hack. He was in power walking mode but responsive. Trotted and cantered around the fields. What a good boy.
That night I headed to bed to find my air bed flat. I also found kitty claw holes in it. Tried to Duct tape them up but ended up sleeping in the cab of the truck. Luckily Serena's truck (Bessie) has a bench seat.
Saturday was a stadium jumping clinic and we didn't ride until 1:45. Did I mention that Jasper whinnied pretty much the whole first two days? Even when there were tons of horses right there in sight. Ugh. We did a lot of hand walking and grazing while watching the other riders. He hand walks himself as he takes a bite of grass and walks in a circle or two, then takes another bite of grass. My lesson was interesting. We did a lot of transitions and flexing for the flat part of it which wound Jasper up a bit (just because we've never worked at that intensity before) and he refused to pick up his right lead. I'm not sure what was going on with the other 2 horses during the flat, but one was having trouble and the other one ran off with his rider. Didn't bolt or anything, just cantered off past the dressage arena and kept going. The jumping didn't get a whole lot better. One horse refused to even attempt to go over the 2' jump and the other one ran off with his rider again. Unfortunately it took up most the instructor's time, but at the end Jasper and I got to do a little course- our first one! The clinician, who was also the judge for the show the next day, told me to trot in and canter out of combinations. And to take him in as many classes as possible for miles.
AFTER that though was one of the best parts of the weekend. Carol was out on the cross country course with some girls who were schooling so I went to join them. I had no idea what he would do about the big jumps and about the water- especially after the last time he "met" water and cantered sideways up a hill until he ran into a fence. We warmed up over some little logs and then did real BN jumps. He jumped everything without hesitation. I tried cantering in to one but he got confused and brought himself back down to trot to jump it. He even went over a jump that had big scary spaces in it. The water wasn't a problem and I got him to canter through. He jumped the ditches with water running through and went up and down the baby banks.
I guess that Cindy (my next door "neighbor") told Carol about the popped bed and and she offered to let me put my sleeping bag on a bed in the cute little house on the property that they rent out for people to stay in. That was above and beyond accommodating. She had already given me permission to sneak into the bathroom and use the shower.
Early the next morning we were saddled up and ready to enter out 18" class. The trot pole classes had just started and I decided to go in one so he could see the arena- which was a good thing because there were horse-eating roll tops at the end of the arena and they got a good hard sideways look. We won the class and after watching the video I can see why- he totally looks like a little Hunter Under Saddle. Hmm. Jasper, we are NOT doing Hunters.
The 18" division went well (2 jumping and a flat class). We trotted in and tried to canter out, and in one class he was on the correct lead a few times so we cantered around some. He picked up his right lead in the flat class and did very well in spite of being cut off a few times.
The 2' division went really well too- same thing. He never hesitated at a jump and was straight in his combinations. I just sat there quietly and let him figure things out. You're supposed to canter your courses at 18" and 2', and even though we didn't do that it felt quite smooth. Apparently the judge thought so too, because we were the 18" division CHAMPIONS and the 2' RES. CHAMPIONS. Now normally this may not be a big deal, but the champion ribbons are amazing. They really went all out for this show. This may be the fanciest ribbon ever. Pretty fun. And as Terri pointed out on his future Rolex resume' I can now put down "2009 Cross Rail Champion".
Karlin took the pics of Jasper and I and his huge ribbon. She is moving to California (boo!!!) and stopped in Kennewick on her way down. It was great to see a familiar friendly face and she and her cute dog spent most of the day watching the jumping.
Have I mentioned how nice everyone is at this place? Carol is great and wants everyone to have fun. Kate ran the weekend and despite being overloaded with things to do was always friendly and helpful. She even videotaped my jumping clinic for me. My neighbor Cindy was helping out with the show too. She gave me wine and videoed all my jumping classes in the show. Debra was also staying in the house and was very supportive. I also met a few eventers from the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area.
After the Hunter classes were done all the jumps got moved out and new ones brought in. I should have taken a picture of the jumper courses. Bright poles, roll tops, and they started big and kept getting bigger. Very fun to watch. The best part of the show was the Derbies. They are set up in the cross country field and are a combination of cross country jumps and stadium jumps. Fastest time wins. They also started at 3' and went up- zoiks!
My cross country clinic with Jil Walton was at 1:00 the next day. I was feeling pretty confident from Friday and was looking forward to it. He did really well despite some refusals. At first I was so surprised I didn't really know what to do. The jumps were high and he has never cantered in, so we eventually figured out that he just needs to trot in for now. Going from a 2' vertical pole jump to a 2'6 cross country jump is a big... jump.
Jil was great. I agreed with everything she was saying and doing, not just with me but with all of the riders. I would ride with her again. There seemed to be a lot of positive feedback from everyone.
We made it home without incident last night and Jasper is VERY happy to be back in his pasture with his buddies. Unfortunately he lost a lot of weight this weekend even though he had all the hay he could eat day and night and was getting buckets of supplements. I even put a blanket on him at night so he wouldn't have to use energy to keep warm. He stresses out and loses weight so fast. Not sure what to do about that one. He is not food motivated. When I got him out of the trailer his hay wasn't touched and his tub of cookies, apples, and carrots wasn't touched either. Oh, and he also rubbed out a nice 2"x 2" bald spot in his tail. My butt strap in the trailer is useless and he apparently leans on the back door. It's a nice addition to the battle scar look.
He's going to have some easy rides for a while until he gains a few pounds back. Then we're going to up the intensity of his rides a little bit. More transitions, more right lead canter, more contact. Mixed in with lots of trail rides and canters through the field. I think I need to make some standards to we can practice jumping something other than fence posts balanced on buckets.
What a GOOD boy.