OH boy, this is a long blog post (I apologize in advance for lack of media and also the amount of words)! First cross country schooling of the Spring. Hot as balls, yep. It was 89 on Sunday actually by the end of the day. When we went it was a bit cooler and there was a breeze but yes it was hot. (Sun was out too). Sunscreen was applied liberally. Had never been to Windurra so was looking forward to seeing how it all unfolded, pulling up to the place was a bit like pulling up to Disney. Which ride do you want to get on first (AND no lines)?
We rode with Sally at 10:30 so I knew it would not be TOO hot yet. I was nervous about how long it would take me to get there so I left an hour early (umm yeah I was there in 20 minutes LOL live and learn). SUCH a gorgeous place though. I mean like wow.
You park on the side of the drive after going thru the fancy gate and then there is a mailbox you walk up to to sign your waiver and drop you money in. I got to the mailbox and had printed my waiver at home so was putting that in when a Jeep buzzed by me and a guy with a yummy accent told me that he was out of waivers (yep Boyd Martin). I said, I brought my own and he smiled and took off down the lane. I didn’t even realize who he was till he rolled away.
Remus was in his trailer munching on hay as my friend Kym arrived a few minutes behind me. We finished tacking up and I put on my NEW boots I had bought Thursday (I ended up just going and buying at Dover and I got a pair of Ariat boots).
(Time will tell if they hold up but they are every bit as comfy as my Tuffriders were and the zipper stays up. WIN WIN! (I tried another pair of Tredsteps on (that is what I have for my show boots now see below) and didn’t think they were as comfy so I went with the Ariats. Nothing fancy but they will do. Meanwhile Tredsteps are going up on ebay soon. Size 9, I have the specs if anyone is interested. Will sell cheap, barely used!).
On we got, I used a nearby log to get on Remus (little knowing I would be jumping that log in about ten minutes). We went on the track to warm up. I would LOVE to have that track to trot on at home. It was so bouncy and soft and Remus was like wheee..he was also LAZY.
I was trotting on the buckle. My friend’s horse was spooking at stuff and Remus was like OH wait what’s that then back on the buckle he went. This did NOT bode well for his jumping up ahead. Sigh.
We got off the track and meandered around waiting for whoever else was going to be in our schooling with us. A few other people were schooling separately and one youngish mare was having issues with the water element. She started lunging her mare through it and then got on (patience, she had a bunch of it!) and I came over and said do you want a lead through and she said that would be great. So Remus went back and forth thru the water (he loves the water) and led her through. The mare was NOT happy even then but she went through.
By then Sally had arrived and one other person joined our lesson on a GORGEOUS, very fit bay gelding. It was two bays and a buckskin that day, my friends. Sally started us out over some logs and Remus went first and he was a bit lazy the first time so we went again. I could tell we were not going to have the best of schoolings (he was good as gold but man he was lazy). He really does not like when the sun and heat are on full.
We went over some other things smallish (while the two bays started going over bigger stuff). I went over to a couple jumps and passed on them (Sally gave me the option but then she said I had used up my credit and had to do everything else I was told to do that day, God I love that woman)! She cracks me up but gets me and Remus so much!
We went to jump two bigger logs and Remus rapped the first one pretty darn hard. And to be honest, I almost came off. Sally said he was in no danger of falling but it sure felt like it while riding. Not to mention I came so close to falling off (I even hit my nose on his crest I fell that far forward!! If he had zigged left or right (Trademark Remus move usually) I would have been a goner. We got it together for the second log (Tho i am pretty sure I jumped that one without my stirrup) and Sally pulled me up and said to go again. She told me Remus is not going to fall down and he is a pretty good jumper even if not ambitious and I have to give him some credit that he will not hurt me if he can help it. I have to say my confidence was pretty shaken. These other horses were jumping big jumps and I had issues with LOGS. Sally gave me a good talking to (She really is so down to earth) and never makes you feel silly or stupid. Then sent me over them again and we did better. Take home message: REMUS pick your damn feet up, Michele sit the eff up and RIDE. And he did the rest of the lesson (and I did). She said she think it bothered him as much as me cause he literally was jumping better (if not enthusiastically). We did a few more smaller jumps and then we came to the ditches.
We (Remus and me) have only done a ditch at Fair Hill (You guys who have gone Fair Hill Starters know the one, an itsy bitsy baby ditch). But Sally looked at me and said you got this (It was not wide but it was DEEP). Sit trot to it, she said and sit up. Remus was a bit hesitant but popped over it no worries. The second try he got it and jumped it like a pro. Sally was so pleased with him cause I think she may have thought this would be an issue though she was totally playing it off as it wasn’t but I could tell she was relieved. SO was I!
We went over to the banks then. I did the up banks and the down banks except for the big one in the middle. No problem. I think we used to have problem with the down ones before at St Augustine but for some reason we had no issues. It was like wow we got this.
We also did a couple pipe jumps where we had to canter over a jump go down in to this gravel pit and up a STEEP hill to the pipe at the top. He did very well with that both ways. I was worried he would mind the change in footing but he didn’t. The two bays then did some tables and other big stuff and we stood and watched and learned (our fave part!).
We finished at the water element. No real jumps for me there but we did do the up bank after trotting the water a few times. Um, the first up bank Remus went right up and hit his back legs on it. He recovered but I was like…umm wtf dude. We went again and as we left to leap up the bank I tapped him oh so lightly with the crop and he was fine. I think he was getting tired by then and we were done after that so it all ended well. To be fair I have never done anything in the water that includes jumping up (Usually at Fair Hill we have the jump after you get out and St Augustine you just trot thru the water and up the bank). SO I am glad I did not think TOO hard about it all and jinx myself.
Sally said she thought it was a great ride for him and me because we had issues and overcame them with little fanfare. Like hitting the log, taught him to pick up his front feet, Ditches and banks did not faze him at all. The water up bank he learned to pick his damn back feet up. Overall so worth the money!! (Sally loved Remus’ Lund Saddlery breastplate says it is one of the best fitting breastplate she has seen!! And it really kept my saddle from slipping).
My one thought after schooling is that I am not going to compete at Fair Hill in May. We aren’t ready (We need a fitter Remus and a more agile me on board) and a lot of my friends (Old and new friends alike) are competing so I am going to haul Starbar there from my barn and just go enjoy Fair Hill and not stress. I am going to do several schoolings at Fair Hill coming up with Sally (I wanted to do today (Tuesday) BUT work intervenes, see below) and plan on the July starter! I feel good about this plan. I will however sign up for a Blue Goose CT that is the day before Fair Hill. Cause why not?
Fun horsey weekend was had by me! YAY When I turned Remus back out he rolled and pulled his mask off. I went out to put it back on and he hauled butt and kicked and leaped and squealed the whole way out the field (Obviously thought I was going to ride him again). Ummm, where was that horse when I was at Windurra (Not that I wanted him to leap and squeal but a bit of forwardness would have not been amiss ). HORSES!
Speaking of Disney (full circle), now I get to fly to Orlando for exactly 24 hours later this afternoon. Work sucks but it does pay for those lessons, and boots and saddles and so on….sheesh….