Today was the FEH show. Our first year in 4 years that we didn't do it. But that's okay. The 4 year old test was a little bit too much for us. I probably could have pushed and done okay, but... why?! I could have also done the NEH (Future Event Horse and New Event Horse) but again, I just didn't feel like he's ready. He likes to jump and so far, it's been fun. But he (or more likely *I* ) doesn't know how to adjust himself to the fence. So if he doesn't get to the right spot, he can't figure out how to get over it without knocking it. Which is fine for stadium. And even fine for smaller XC fences. But... I'm not really thinking it's fair to do it to him at bigger XC fences. And, quite honestly, I'm a little afraid that in the excitement of a show atmosphere, he'll buck me off again. ;) I'm still a little afraid to let him canter a whole course, especially in a show atmosphere. That stride is HUGE. Fleck "bolted" today and my GPS clocked him at 25 mph. Dan bolted and it clocked him at 39 mph! That's a HUGE difference! So yep.. I'll admit it. I'm chicken.
Plus, I really think it's in Dan's best interest to not push him. He still needs to walk to the fences and then trot/canter. He still needs to learn to control himself in the open fields. He still needs to learn how to adjust his stride and pick up his feet. If we had gone, I think he would have been over stimulated and he wouldn't have jumped pretty. And I don't want to scare him. Or hurt him. So we stayed home.
But with that being said... that doesn't mean that I wasn't a little sad we missed out. And that doesn't mean that we can't work on our jumping. :) So we headed up to the jump ring and I dropped all the fences to tadpole size and we played around. We started with flat work and then trotted and cantered over two poles on the ground. He can judge the distance at the trot, but not so much at the canter. Then we jumped some of the fences. hee hee. Poor guy. He just doesn't get it yet. When he gets to the right spot, he can jump happily. But if not, he can't figure out how to adjust and so he knocks them. Doh. I'm no help either. I haven't gotten a feel for his stride yet. And I don't think his dressage work is balanced enough yet for me to really rate him most of the time. But it's okay. We're learning. We played over a few fences and he can jump quite nicely when he gets a lnoger spot, so he has enough time to pick his feet up. And he's non-plussed about it. He doesn't get too mad when he misses and he never thought about running out. We played with trotting and cantering. Cantering is definitely harder. But we had some decent jumps.
So then we went for a hack to the lake. And... while we were out there, since Ann had set up some stadium fences in the field, I couldn't resist! So Dan jumped his first skinny and first stadium fence in the XC field. He knocked it down. And I think he broke the pole too. Doh! But!!! Then he cantered nicely and jumped the next vertical quite nicely. And he didn't bolt on landing. He was very polite. So we went and played in the lake. On the way back home... I saw the barrel fence. I couldn't help it. We walked up to it so he could see it and the goober almost walked over it. So then I turned him around and trotted up to it. I let him canter the last stride and he just sailed on over like it was no big deal. And then he realized that it was a big deal and he was hot stuff and he sort of galloped off like a big boy. I managed to wrangle him back down without too much effort. I made him jump it again and be a bit more polite on landing. And he did. So whooo hooo. And yes, I realize it was a barrel on it's side and small. But it is a big bright blue barrel and a skinny, so... kind of a big deal. It's his first time jumping a barrel. :)
He's so much fun. I really hope that I can help him be a good happy clean jumper and not mess him up. It's time to start jumping lessons soon and get some help. :)