Ahhh, I love this kid! We had an amazing weekend together.
Although, I must admit... I did cry a little bit when we left Flecky behind. He just looked so sad and bummed that he was missing out. But Missy had given me my Christmas present which was a bracelet with Fleck's name on it, so that helped!
And it also helped that our weekend was AMAZING!!! I am soooo proud of the rugrat. He's growing up! We went to Gibbes for a XC clinic with Beth. And it was a blast!
We got there Friday evening and went for a quick little hack. We mostly just walked around and did a tiny bit of dressage. I hadn't ridden since Tuesday, but... was running out of daylight. Then Cindy and I went to dinner at Cracker Barrel. Yum!
Saturday was grid day. We did the zig zag poles to work on straightness and then did some gymnastic lines. One was a skinny bounce and one was a bounce to a one stride. They were all kept very low as we were working on form and straightness. My form, Dan's straightness. :) We discussed full seat (dressage seat), 3 point (rolling our pelvis slightly forward but not our shoulders and putting a bit more weight into our thighs and calves) and 2 point (jumping position). Beth wanted us in 3 point up to the fences. (Like my lesson before) so that we could go with the motion of the horses and not get left behind or be too ahead. I also need to think about moving my butt backwards over the fences. Then we realized that I needed to keep my hands low and on his neck and keep my elbows in. So... I got bungeed. ;) Yep, Beth put a bungee around my elbows so that they would stay at my sides. (I think I need this for dressage too!). It really helped, although I'm not entirely sure my elbows are my biggest problem. I think it stems from my hands coming up rather than grabbing my next strap. So I focused on keeping my hands down and it helped. Dan was a good boy and straight for the most part. We did good on our square turns. (Thanks Ann).
Sunday was XC technical day. :) We started at the water complex and warmed up over the small fences there. Beth had me keep my hands low and at the neck strap. It made a big difference in how he was going. I think the combination of keeping my hands low and doing the 2 point allows Dan to use his back well and not get hollow and get that behind my leg feel, and when he uses his back well, he feels good, and when I'm in 2 point with low hands, I can follow him so much easier and not get left behind. So anyways, we warmed up, then went and did the clover leaf on the pipes and then did the banks. Dan stopped at the down bank but I think I lollygagged up to it instead of powerful cantering to it. But the second time he did great. Then we headed back to the water and had fun. We jumped a fairly big log in and out of the water, plus a smaller one, and then Beth let me play with the jump IN the water again. SO MUCH FUN! We also worked on angling the log before we headed into the water. Danny did that just fine. In fact, Danny was great for all of it. He was well behaved and happy to go and do and after we went through the water again, he was all proud and sassy and got all fired up. It was so much fun!
Boring Up Bank
Boring Down Bank
Trotting up and Down the Bank
So then Monday was course day. We warmed up and Beth laughed and said that Dan was the only horses that didn't look tired. ;) We started at the ditches and Dan stopped the very first time over it. In his defense, the horse in front of him had a meltdown and took a good 20 minutes to get over the ditch. And Dan spooked, stopped, and then sniffed the poop on the edge. Once I got his head out of the poop, he jumped it. Which makes me wonder if he wasn't so much stopping at the ditch as stopping to smell the poop. ha! It wouldn't surprise me. After that he was fine with it. We then did a few courses and he was good and happy to go and do, but rideable. Then we went and did the bounce poles, which was fun. Then we went to the second water and did a mini course. Dan felt great!! He was forward and going but rideable and balanced and game. It was soooo fun!! We jumped some fairly big fences and I was like "we've GOT this!!! We're ready for Paradise.. ready for recognized shows!" Yahoo!!
Then we headed to the bank complex and Dan did the up and down well, although he propped a bit down the down bank the first time, but not the second. We did a mini course and we went up the little hill and jumped a little log and then looped around to what looked like a little black pipe from my view before I started but was actually a fairly substantial three tire stack (flat, but still.. wide at the bottom) jump. I didn't actually ride to it and chickened out and Dan stopped. So then I realized I was being stupid and rode up to it and he jumped it well. Wheee!!! So much fun. We pretty much quit with that as the other horse had a meltdown at the banks now too. But it was fine as Danny was awesome. I sort of wanted to do more as we had been sitting for a bit and weren't tired, but he did a lot and I was so proud.
Go Dan Go