Today was my second day on the job and I have hit the ground running. I am so loving the atmosphere so far...everyone is super laid back and really excited to see how my flex schedule I get to determine will play out for this summer. (I am hoping this means some week night events!!).
|I am so amped to do ALLLLL the events|
I also had planned to school at a venue we havent yet, but is also the same venue Tillie and I will be doing our first novice event next in may. They only had today and May 1 open for schooling and Ill be enjoying the many views at Rolex on May 1st.
So I scrambled after work to load up and make it to this place (Which Brita and I got terribly lost) and we did just in time for the officials to tell us we had 30 min to school. Not a ton of time, but I was determined to at least see what they had. My goal was to gauge my confidence, and Tillie's, to see if the move up here was something that would be a good thing or possibly a confidence shaker.
|Tillie ready to go!|
I am super protective of my confidence right now. Tillie and I are in a great place and it is almost terrifyingly awesome. I don't want my excitement to cloud my judgement so this XC school was meant to test how confirmed I felt.
30 minutes is barely enough time to warm up and jump around, but it shockingly worked to my advantage because it set us up as if we were at an event and jumping jumps in stride we wouldnt see prior.
|a very sweaty but proud Tillie after schooling|
Our hack up to the field with all the jumps was our warm up so some walking, then some trotting which lead to trotting over a tiny tiny coop and a few logs, did the water to a telephone pole jump which developed a canter. It is pretty unseasonably warm right now so a long warm up wouldnt be ideal on a day like today either.
So we went right for a stair step bank up...We walked a bit here to let us both catch our breath and survey all there was to jump and try to put them in an order.
Once I had a good idea of the layout, I popped over a few inviting BN jumps, one was a bench, another coop and a house looking jump. She was lovely and adjustable here so I continued on and set my sights on the novice stuff.
|Very proud mom! and a tired Tillie|
I chose to pop her over a blue bench a few times to A) let her know the height is higher and B) make sure we had the adjustability, especially in the more open canter.
My goal for today was simple, jump the novice questions. Ride downhill including banks. Open up her canter and let her gallop.
|down bank from last year when I was soooo petrified|
Once I felt like she was going over the warm up fence ok I sat up and continued on the start stringing together some jumps. Tillie made it feel easy, she tapped a few at first, mostly because I was burying her too much but I could hear Dan in my head saying get your bend, half halt then soften when she does and ride forward.
Operative word being forward.
So once I trusted Tillie more, she really fell into a nice rhythm and I let my curb rein slide out super loose. We jumped a split rail, two stride combo, cantered uphill to a skinny red house, jumped the bench and another split rail looking thing which opened up into a hand gallop....then it was a large novice sized log in a tree line to get to the other field.
|More old XC pics because I didnt get new ones|
Tillie did balk a bit at this, but with some leg took it no issue. Another gallop (this time a more true gallop). In the past I have been so terrified to let her go because its resulted in her head between her knees and bucking/dolphining through the air. This was the first time Ive galloped her...I mean really galloped her and I get why people LOVE to do it when its right.
After a quick inner-smile, a large black tube jump presented and we took it out of the gallop after a quick "pay-attention" half halt. This one landed down hill which did nicely to back her off...I was trying SOOOO hard not to grab at her since down hill terrifies me, but I could hear fellow blogger Emma in my head say how well downhill compresses and to let it happen.
|Galloping like this from last fall is what i am trying to avoid|
I pulled up to trot at this point because we were approaching a down bank. Yes, an awful terrifying down bank. Which BTW was HUGE and I didnt realize it until we were a few strides out and it was too late to back out. Brita yelled "YOU GOT IT!" and down we went!
We landed and I had to reorganize all my crazy reins from letting them slip on the downhill approach to a ditch filled with fresh mulch. The ditch was in line with a few trakenhers which I noted to circle back to...Tillie took a bit of a look here being close to the tree line, odd coloring of the mulch and lighting, but she responded with a nice jump so another good gallop up the hill was her reward.
We took a bit of a breather at this point....watched Brita jump some things and when we caught our breath I picked her back up and jumped a roll top both up and down hill. God I love to torture myself! But I am determined to get over my fear of downhill.
|looking forward to returning to Loch Moy!|
We continued on to then jumped a crazy looking angled table which was uphill but had to do a half circle around to canter down the hill to jump a skinny chevron which set us up to the trakener. I had to use my crop for the first time on Tillie's shoulder here, but she is so brave, she took it from a nice stride despite never seeing a true one before.
We did jump this a few times both ways and even did the next height up just to make sure it wasnt soooo scary to Tillie.
I gave her a HUGE pat on her foamy neck and we cooled out while Brita finished up with some jumps. I cooed to Tillie super impressed that given especially that we werent able to fully school, but just go right for it, she took it all in stride.
She took a few flyers and a few chips here and there, and those we did jump more than once to find the right distance, but I was over the moon at the ability to open her up a bit more and expose her to actual novice questions and still feel pretty darn good.
We did finish with the stair step banks down, but that was mostly for me to reinforce down banks arent that scarey.
so long story long, our brief xc schooling was a huge success and totally got me feeling a lot more relieved and ready to enjoy going to Rolex. I managed to convince a good barn friend to ride Tillie a few days just to push some buttons while I am gone, but I am no longer worried we will lost our momentum while I am there.
If anything, Ill come back home like last year and be super amped to do more!