Twice in a week. It may be a miracle.
Now to pick a topic. Since my riding and Steady is pretty much limited to walk/trotting/cantering around in circles, popping over a small jump here or there and going out on trails as much as possible I think I will steer from this topic for the most part. Pretty much our entire season can be summed up in a few sentences. The highlights: trails, XC schooling, a few lessons here and there, Pony club camp, XC schooling, him running us into a tree, almost always steady as a rock, a few moments of ridiculousness like bucking and excitement after walking over a log and his over zealous self on a XC course. Other than that the horse is as nice as they come.
So much so that I am a bit jealous that my daughter gets to just happen into this super cool fancy horse that will take her as far as she could possibly want to go in the next few years. I really do not think she knows how luck she is. I mean she is grateful but how could she know. She is a kid. She has no concept of fancy horses. She just loves horses and that's the extent of it. They are all amazing in her eyes. Am I losing my horse or am I winning as a Mother? Or maybe both?
She gets on my horse and they look like a matched pair. I may have to start handing off teaching duty to someone else because my anxiety with those two going XC might just send me to my grave. Though for as many antics as that pony has pulled on her I have no doubt she can handle Steady. She is sad that all that work she is putting into that pony and she has to give her up. I try explaining that it is exactly how I feel but it is just the facts of life right now. While her ridiculous height will come in handy in many things in life, pony riding will never be realistic.
How is that pony and E doing? Oh my they are the bomb diggity( I don't think that is still a thing people say but I did it anyways). They have turned into a fabulous pair. They just completed Pony Club D rally which is the equivalent of eventing in Pony Club. They have different levels depending on the individuals tested level of riding. Her division is right about Beginner Novice.
Their dressage is a work in progress but they put out a steady and obedient test. There could be better bend and more connection in areas but still they are solid at the level they are at. Dressaging is hard for the pony. Jumping on the other hand comes easy for her. You would never think the way she is built but really she is just a natural and always has been at going over all the things.
Let me tell you walking the courses with her I was like, "aw hell this is fo realzy" but a coach can't let on that is actually going through their head. They gave these kids a solid stadium and XC course. I knew there wasn't going to be very many "gimme fences". And she'd need to ride every stride. I have been kicking myself ever since that I did not video their stadium round because OH MY holy crap, it was beautiful. Like the stuff of dreams. That every rider wants to have. The course is on a hill so there is terrain and the course involved. That kid made every right decision on that course and it was executed perfectly. I'm not joking. Everyone stuck around to watch the Haflinger stumble through the course because she was the last to go and every single pair struggled. Some with several refusals and even one retired on course. When those two got done I think everyone simultaneously had to pick their jaw up off of the floor. Everyone was in awe of how awesome they looked. We got many complements and comments on them after that. No one saw them coming. It was pretty freaking cool.
Cross Country- again solid challenging course. 12 jumps and 4 1/2 minutes was optimum time. I didn't know how pony would handle everything. This was their first real Cross run. Was she fit enough? Brave enough? Well Yes and Yes. They SAILED through the course.
|Not a great photo but this is them sailing...|
I was admittedly not completely confident. Trust me when your child is out there you can think of every single thing that could possibly go wrong. There was only on question that caught the pony off guard and they did end up with 1 refusal because of it. It was an honest blip for the both of them and honestly I did NOT love the jump at all. After they completed several jumps winding through a small open area they turn past the edge of corn field and just 30 feet or so there as a jump pushed right up against the corn. You really could not see the jump until you were on top of it and horses don't love the idea of running right along the corn. Then to top it off the jump was narrow. like maybe 8 ft across then add how close it was to the corn there was really only 6ft of jump. Maybe. It was a recipe for a run out. And that is exactly what happened. She re-approached and jumped it no problem it was just a non friendly jump all together. The hilarious part is that Lilly screamed and hollered the entire course. Something we must work on but she still was completely capable to do her job. Jumping, barrels, logs, a bank, coops, rolltops, ,pheasant feeders all while screaming at the top of her lungs. I think the biggest think with these Haffies are that they are too smart for their own good. Most horses it is enough for their brain to deal with a cross country course and if they are distracted then it means they loose focus on their job and have a bad run. Haffy? Nope they can be completely focused on their rider, the jump in front of them AND wondering where all their friends went. Seriously its crazy.
But we love that pony to death. My daughter has been to hell and back with that pony and she would rather cut off her right arm than live without her. They ended up winning their division! While I think that is a pretty cool thing to walk away with the first place medal more than anything else those two both walked away with more confidence and pride than anyone can imagine. They had nothing handed to them, ever. They had every reason to give up and don't think the thought didn't cross my mind. But it never crossed the kids mind. They just went about it the good old fashioned way of a whole lot of hard work. Many bumps along the way and just never giving up. Now you haven't seen the last of these two, they still have goals and things to accomplish but this marks a big milestone in their journey and I just feel privileged to be able to watch it all unfold in front of me.
And to see your offspring on a XC course and know the adrenaline and excitement in their soul in those few moments, there is nothing on earth like it. It is like you are out there with them and riding every jump.
Kelcie and Penny also did D Rally. At their level they only do dressage and stadium. She would have loved to do cross country but she also is perfectly happy not going for higher certification just yet. The did fabulous on their dressage test. She did go off pattern at the free walk but otherwise had a great test. Then they too sailed through their stadium round. They only did itty bitty cross rail and the course was super simple. It was great confidence booster for her. She also got first in her division of 5 little riders. So proud. She takes everything quite seriously and gives everything she does %100 though she does not have the unwavering confidence that her big sister has so I have learned to tread lightly and let her go at her own pace. If I push too much it may just push her backwards. It is a delicate balance. But that was only one of her many accolades from the weekend...but that will be for another post.....
BTW If you have kids or if you are thinking of having any in the future just enroll them in Pony Club now. You won't regret it! Go Pony Club!