I have never been one to have interest in following celebrities. I really could care less about 'famous' folks. Just not drawn to it. But I tell you what I absolutely get all ridiculously giddy about a BNT in eventing. One that has big time medals under her belt. I just want to latch on and never let go. But thankfully my mother taught me better social skills than to be a total creep so I keep my creepiness at bay. For example while tacking up to go out and school XC Dorothy spots my husband standing by my trailer and says she needs his muscles. He helped her do something in her trailer. We were sitting and talking a few minutes after and I said "that's awesome you just got to help Dorothy Crowell". His response was, "so, I got horse shit on my pants". "yeah but it's Dorothy Crowell's horses shit!!" He was not nearly as impressed with it as I. Though don't get me wrong he gladly helped that is just Ryan being, well, Ryan. Now on to the days events.
Days earlier I had responded to someones request on Facebook in Cincinnati wanting a ride down to Kentucky Horse Park to school on Saturday. I drive right through Cincy to get there so I offered to pick her up along the way. I stalked her profile just to be sure she wasn't a serial killer or anything. And all checked out just fine. She appeared to be like what I think of all of the eventers I have ever meet, horse loving, passionate and nice people. Low and behold she was all of those and she brought along her husband and student whom where just as great. She had a beautiful and lovely horse Luna. We stopped in picked them all up and were on our way.
The day was all I had hoped it would be. I think I may have found a trick to keeping Steady calm at a new location(alfalfa, alfalfa and more alfalfa). He was quite wonderful. He stood tied to the trailer calmly and was even eating. This is a miracle in and of itself. Horses coming, horses going standing tied all alone happy as can be. Whaaa?? Yup! It happened. KHP is what it is, KHP. It is everything every horse person could want. Beauty in all directions whether it be the rolling green hills, miles and miles of white board fences, beautiful horses grazing in nearby pastures, beautiful horses competing in dressage and jumping in nearby arenas, beautiful horses galloping those same hills and fields that we see the greatest riders alive ride on.
It is just simply KHP.
The only difference this time showing up to KHP was that I had my amazing horse along with me which just took heaven to a new level. Not to mention having my best friend (my husband) along who didn't seem to act like he hated every minute! That is great news people, there is hope!
I wasn't sure who I would be riding with for my lesson and it ended up I went out with Dorothy who was riding a young project and John her husband who was riding his Novice/Training horse. It was great fun! Steady got a tiny bit excitable but not at the level he has been in the past and that was a relief. I wasn't sure how he would handle the biggness and the busyness that was KHP on a schooling day. Between jumps he was walking on the buckle. He was in true Steady fashion a bit too eager to jump all of the things and through out the lesson I was shown that I just hold him too much and don't give him a chance to do the right thing on his own. Our jumps stayed small. I mean I don't even think we jumped a Novice jump but I was ok with it. My entire goal in going was to make it a relaxed and positive experience. I had one shot at making this happen at KHP before showing up to compete there in October. I say it was what Steady needed but in all reality it was exactly what I needed too. I have to admit I was nervous about competing there. I mean the only time I have ever seen someone ride at KHP is at Rolex which just makes the whole place seem huge.
But going out and riding the 'real' jumps did make it seem like just another venue and that helped me more than anything to wrap my mind around it.
My biggest lesson learned was to LET GO! Don't hold him before and after I need to give him 2-3 strides for him to choose the correct pace before I first ask politely and if that doesn't work then ask rudely. What a practical and perfect lesson that fits right into our training. Low and behold when I would remember to do that it was almost like I could feel a sigh of relief from Steady. Like, "ahhhh she isn't going to grab my face so I don't have to drag her along and run.!" It was a big light bulb for both of us. He was quite lovely. We kept the jumps small and though I do love to jump myself some big jumps that is not what we needed. We jumped the jumps that we will be asked to jump at Team Challenge and made it a great experience. There is no doubt in my mind the he will jump any size jump I ask him to but in building on his training in the best way possible we have to work on the plain and simple basics and that is exactly what we did.
Steady obviously never hesitated at any jump I pointed him at of course, the horse loves to jump too much for that. The only thing we did that we have never gotten to do before was jump a jump in the middle of water. SO much FUN! I just love the canter that water produces and then to jump in it was awesome. It's like a little kid jumping in a mud puddle for the first time and realizing how fun it is. Hey and the log in the water was decent size so maybe we did jump a couple bigger things. I think it is just that my definition of what is "big" is changing and hey that is a good thing!
Never fear we can't possibly get through any experience without some excitement though! There was rainbowish beginner novice size bench and we jumped it going one way then turned around and jumped it the other that was toward the open field. I can't know exactly what caused this but upon landing it felt a little funny. Maybe a little slip or maybe it was belligerence but he took about two strides upon landing and kind of hopped then a huge stride and produced a huge buck and again leaping and bucking. I stayed very calm and pulled him up and smacked him. Dorothy then said, "wow I can see why you don't want to let go". Which from her stand point I can see what it appeared but honestly that has NEVER happened before. Don't get me wrong he does plenty of other things that can be terrifying if you don't know him but buck upon landing is not one that he has pulled until Saturday. At this point I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and that something was just off about it. Whether it be the way I rode it, the way he landed or a lapse in mental stability but I surely won't hold that against him. But can we please talk about my bronc riding ability? I am sorry but I wish it was on video because I would think it would have been quite the display of athleticism on his part. But I rode it like it was no big deal chastised him and we went on like it was nothing. When in reality is wasn't "nothing". Though I must admit when she said, "ok go back and canter that jump again" I was like, "really? canter it? going that direction?". It was of course fine but I did second guess wanting to repeat. The only other thing that could have been better was one of the ditches that we jumped. I don't even like mentioning it because I had a momentary lapse on this one and rode it as if I was asking him to just stumble down into the ditch instead of actually go over it. It was clearly not my horses fault on that one.
The rest was jumping logs, down banks, up banks, houses, over ditches, little half coffins and coffins, through the water, tables, rolltops etc. All things that now to us are just more everyday type stuff which if I think about it that in and of itself is pretty awesome!
Huge appology for now media to accompany the trip but they day was full and living in the moment of the wonderful day I didn't take out my camera.