Monday, June 18, 2012

XC in the most BEAUTIFUL place.

Rural Idaho.  Who knew it could be so beautiful?

I went straight from work to the barn on Friday, soon to be picked up my friend Morgan and her huge fancy trailer.  Huge as in she almost wasn't able to get turned around, thank god for goosenecks.  We were headed to the Fran O'Reilly clinic at 100 Acre Wood Farm in Princeton, Idaho.

The further south you go in Idaho, the more rural it gets.  After two hours you're in the middle of NOWHERE.  I was seriously wondering who in their right mind would choose to live out there, I mean, why?  The dirt road "driveway" was at least a couple of miles up a fairly good grade, and then we arrived.  On the top of a mountain, on the top of the world.  360 degree views of mountains and forests.  Beautiful sand dressage arena, rolling green hills with cross country  jumps.  A beautiful "off the grid" house insulated with straw bales, run by solar and wind power.  Lunch on both days was a huge potluck in the kitchen.  A bunkhouse (for free!) with a full bathroom.

The morning of day one was a group dressage lesson, a lot of what I learned in my last lesson with Jessica was reinforced.  The afternoon was cross country, and everything went fantastic

 until the giant 5 foot ditch.  I wish I would have gotten a picture of it.  He stopped but it wasn't dirty, he was just like "what the F*** is THAT?"  Fran informed all of us that a horse's stride is 12 feet so they can practically canter over it.  (This was after the two horses before us absolutely refused to get anywhere near it for what seemed like hours.) Jasper did not believe her and jumped the hell out of that nasty thing.

On day two we signed up for dressage tests.  We could ride any test we wanted any amount of times, and she judged them and we got the sheets back to look over before we tried again.  I rode BN A twice and Novice B twice.  Our scores basically sucked.

In the afternoon (in the hurricane winds) we got to pick our our own XC course, ride it, get some instruction, and re-ride any parts we wanted to.  I asked Fran if she thought we were ready for the bank, and she said sure, just walk up it and drop off.  What I meant was did she think we were ready to jump up AND down, and she said sure but if you decide to do it then you have to do it.  The side nearest the spectators was 2'6.  The back side was an uphill approach (or a downhill drop) so and was quite a bit taller.  We warmed up, trotted up the ramp to the bank, and he barely hesitated before dropping off.  Picked up a canter and leaped up the back side of the bank.  I was expecting a halt, or at least a walk, or some sort of hesitation, but he pretty much launched off the other side.  I don't know what I was doing besides flying through the air with no contact with saddle or horse, but in the video you can hear me scream a little.  And I don't think I got organized or got my reins back... ever.

THEN in order to teach me a lesson about staying organized and getting my reins back she made us jump something after the bank.  The first one was hard but it was a long ways away so we had some time to get it together.  Still jumped the second jump badly.  Oh, I need to keep leg on before all the jumps?  Even when I forget?

The last run we jumped up the short side of the bank and down the BIG drop, then had NO time before a giant black skinny ramp-tiger-trap-ish jump.  She told me if I couldn't get my reins back to make a big "V", which is what I tried to do, and did it badly.  Jasper, somehow, at the last minute decided we were close enough to jump it and did.  It was the second time he bailed me out this weekend.  The first time was another skinny tall wooden thing up a pretty good hill.  I got him in at a horrible distance (you can hear me say "uh oh!" in the video) and he went anyway.


 I don't usually anthropomorphize or put human feelings on animals, but I swear Jasper was pretty pleased with himself after the bank jumping.  I can't explain it, you could just tell that he knew he did something pretty great. 

The only photos I have are stills from the video, but there was a gal there taking pictures.  She's going to make CDs for everyone, I can't wait to get them!


EvenSong said...

Gorgeous place! And you and Mr. Jasper are lookin' good, girl!

Ruffles said...

You guys look great!!

Val said...

The first photo is frame worthy!

That was a very exciting and interesting video. Thank you for sharing. You and Jasper look professional. The launch off the bank was worth a squeal for sure. Wow!

Barbara said...

Beautiful country and looked like a very fun clinic!

Grace Miller said...

Looks good Megan.
I hear Morgan Shank went; do you know what horses she brought?

Dom said...

stunning! wow

Anonymous said...

Looks like a fun day! You guys looked like you got a lot out of it. What a gorgeous place too!