After a very slow, stressful finals week, I was able to unwind by taking C on a jaunt to do a little cross-country.
Overall it was good fun! C absolutely loves jumping, even more when it’s not in an arena. He was thrilled to be out there, which translated to those boogery behaviors in amplified versions, especially at the beginning. He was a jigging, side-swinging, booty-bumping, side-kicking baby horse. A lot of it just felt like pent-up excitement, and the rest felt like the kind of behaviors he’s been exhibiting lately, which are just little opinionated tantrums.
Basically, T said that if he wasn’t going to do the jumps my way, he wouldn’t do them at all. So if he was impolite– kicking out when I asked for canter, jigging, trying to run off– it was endless circles in front of the jump until he decided it was more worth his while to behave.
To get over them successfully, I really had to manhandle him; he’s used to dropping his head directly into my hands and making me hold him up. Obviously a lowered head isn’t the best idea for cross country (never mind the fact that he shouldn’t be hanging on my hands in the first place!) so I had to remind him, over and over, to please not do that.
He seemed to tire himself out with the misbehaving at the beginning and halfway through there was a lull of wonderful. Over the last three fences, though, I think he made up for getting tired by getting amped, and I headed back to micromanaging land.
But this experience made me so, so excited for when we’re able to do more of it! Because my origins lie in hunterland, I was nervous and a little intimidated to get out there again, especially knowing that he’s physically stronger now and he’s been throwing that weight around more than usual. It was reassuring to feel that his enthusiasm didn’t entirely obscure his listening skills, and that I could bring him back to me– even if it required a little more assertive riding.
In a year or two, I can’t wait to see where we’ll be.
Also supplying some obligatory adorable photos from today, where I made C dress up holiday style and turned him out with BBS’s 4-year-old OTTB, G.
P.S. I am officially a college graduate now! 🙂