Thursday, July 16, 2015

My First Fall

I knew it was coming! And I jinxed myself because my facebook post was "for those of you worried about me falling off Dan, Don't be! But do worry about me standing on the truck washing the trailer. Managed to fall off the truck and hurt myself". So yep... It was doomed to happen. At least it was a good fall. 

We had decided to head to Cedar Ridge since it was the closing date for NEH/FEH. I was thinking I would decide based on Full Gallop and then Cedar Ridge's schoolings and see. But I had already decided he wasn't ready before cedar ridge but we had plans and it was going to be fun. Besides, he is getting some time off from jumping and it's fun so I figured why not do one more schooling before we put it to the side for the rest of the summer. ;) Peri picked us up and hauled us there and Tess was in raging heat. She LOVES her Dan. So he was thinking he was hot stuff already. We got there and he kept trying to load himself back on the trailer because he was bored. He was so bouncy when I went to get on that I decided it was best to do some in hand work. He was even bouncier so then we all decided it was best if I lunge him. So I did. And he was wild. He let out a few big bucks and kicks. But after a little bit he settled and yielded his hindquarters quite nicely with only the littlest motion from me 3 times in a row. So I decided it was safe to hop on. I got on and we hacked to the field. He was bouncy then too. He's better if he's in front, but he was still very hyper. When we go tto the field I asked if we could all just hack around the edge first so that he could take a few more breaths. And he did. He was pretty good. 

Liz and I sat and watched Devon warm up and she jumped a few things. Then Peri went off to warm up and Liz and Devon were talking so I took Dan up to the top corner to work. He kept throwing his shoulder out and breaking into the canter and throwing in some crowhops. So I worked him through it. And then it happened. He leapt sideways and got me slightly off to the side. Then I saw it coming. Devon was coming down the skinny to the water drop combo and Dan unseated me to the side slightly just as she jumped the log. He didn't settle and as Devon splashed into the water, Dan let out a big buck. I was already unseated so I just couldn't save it. I went flying off and landed... pretty much in a belly flop. It was rather humorous. It didn't even really hurt. I got up after cursing him briefly and watched him gallop madly back to the group. Poor Peri thought he was coming right for her, because he was, and waved him off with her crop. So he let out a big fart/buck and squirted off. He ran amuck around them for a minute and then headed into the water. Devon managed to catch him for me and I got back on. And made him WORK! And he was good. He was still distracted but I was able to work him through it. Then Devon wanted to do a whole course so they called me back to the group. 


He's quite happy to stand and watch while others go play, but his brain can't quite handle working himself while others are playing. So we sat and watched Devon go and he was fine. Then we took turns playing and I even took him out while others were jumping and made him work some too. He was fine for the most part. It's just that first 15 minutes or so that really just takes time to get his brain. It's not nasty... just playful and distracted. But overall it was a great day. There wasn't much out there for the babies. The smallest was BN. But... we managed to go up and down all three banks. Although down the big one from a trot turned into a party!! I felt it coming. We were trotting politely and then the last step turned into a launch and off the bank we flew, landing with his head down in a big buck. I rode him up and made him canter up the hill and then work his hiney in small circles at the canter til he settled. "ooops... sorry mommy... but that was so much fun!". So then we politely walked down them twice and then very politely trotted off them. He's smart and fun though because he typically just drops off them instead of launching. We did the ditch too. He looked at it for a split second and then went. And he did the water happily too. He even dropped off the big BN bank into the water with only a seconds hesitation the first time and none the second time. We even trotted down it once. Without a giant leap too. :) 

I wanted to jump a little bit so we started with the BN coop in the line of three. I kept it fairly simple. We did the walk to it but trot the last few steps and he was very polite and happy over it. He landed cantering politely and I was able to pull him up easily. There was no grabbing the reins and pulling his head down and no bucking. Yay! So then we did it both ways. Then I decided to be brave and take him over the scoopy thing. It's pretty small but it's upright and solid and scooped. Dan walked/trotted right up to it and over and then landed in such a polite canter that we kept cantering on over the coop and he also jumped that quite politely and landed politely in a nice canter. :) :) I was even able to half halt a bit and set him back a hair so that he got to a nice distance to it. Yay!! We then watched them a bit and played over the ditches. I ended up taking him over the half coffin! It was a skinny coop too. Very skinny. We walked over the ditch and then walked/trotted over the skinny. Peri said he squirted out and around it, but I didn't think it was that bad. She said we would have missed the flags. So maybe, but it wasn't like he was trying to get out of it, more that he was just confused. We did it another time or two and even trotted the ditch and cantered over the skinny. Yay! I let him canter up the hill bold and then the girls made me trot him up the hill. He was fine. He was over his "brain freezes" so he trotted quite politely up the hill. But they were right, I didn't need to make it a habit of cantering up the hill. 

I wanted to finish over the log that we hadn't jumped yet. It was BN height maybe and painted solid black. It was raised ever so slightly off the ground. But Dan trotted over to it and then walked/trotted it super politely so we went ahead and cantered over the coop again. Yay!! He was SUPER good. So then we went to the water complex and had a good splash and headed back home.

So yep. I really think he's going to be a total blast once we get it figured out. For now, he just needs more time to grow and figure it out. I think the walking up to it and letting him trot at the last few strides works best for us now. It doesn't give him time to build and for whatever reason, he doesn't build on the back side. Maybe it's because it gives him time to read it? I don't know. But it's working. :) And he's going to take me to the fences once we get it and I can let him be a bit bolder. But first he's got to learn the footwork. He's so gung ho and cavalier about it but he needs to learn where his feet are. 

Super pleased with him!! Despite him dumping me. ;) And somehow my ankle is sore and swollen. I don't know if the stirrup clonked it or when I landed, I landed on a rock or something? But it took awhile to show up. 

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