I'm exhausted. Like so exhausted I had trouble driving over 40 mph on the way home and am having difficulties typing this, lol.
Our ride was good and bad. In true Jetta fashion she was a jerk for the majority of the time, but I shouldn't be surprised. So I'll start from the beginning.
At noon we tacked up and headed over to the cross country course. It's not too far away and since I don't have a truck or trailer this weekend, I just walked there on Jetta. Let's discuss the most terrifying things ever: 1) Three horses (full-sized mind you) turned out in a big pasture. SO TERRIFYING! 2) Barking dogs that are in an enclosed yard. Ok, I'll admit it was slightly scary since they were snarling and being very aggressive, but come on, they're separated by a fence! 3) Mini ponies. We all know these things are very scary little mutants that suck big horses' blood right? So it was an interesting ride over, though not too bad. The trucks weren't troubling at all (go figure) even when a big old diesel flew past us, not even bothering to slow down a bit.
Once there we had to just hang out and wait for the rest of the gang to show up since they were trailering in. Lots of lessons were going on so I stayed out of the arenas and just tried to hang out on the grass. Ha. Jetta and the phrase "stand still" do not go together. So we waited, and we waited, and we waited. Finally, 40 minutes later the group was ready to go. I don't understand how horse people take so long to get ready?! Geez. Jetta was thoroughly upset at this point so we did some trotting, cantering and galloping around the field - she was a pro! She came back to me very nicely when I asked and was very adjustable. Once she was finally a bit tired out, we headed onto the course. It hasn't completely been mowed yet so we just wandered around a little until we came to the giant field full of jumps. Let the fun begin!
First off we popped over the BN and N quarter rounds at the top of the hill. Perfect. We trotted down the hill and with some convincing popped over the ditch both ways, then cantered up the hill and took the BN quarter round at the canter. Trotted back down the hill and went over the little BN barn coop and a roll top that was either a small N jump or large BN. From there we joined everyone in the water. It took a little convincing, but Jetta eventually got in the water "Oh. This isn't that bad." We walked in and out a few times, trotted around in the water and got up enough momentum to jump the tiny ledge out of the water. We went over the BN and N raised log fences, jumped up the banks, cantered across the field, popped over a few more BN logs. She was being soooo good.
Then I set my sights on a N coop, that instead of being the inviting round shape Jetta's used to, it had squared corners. We had a nice trot full of impulsion up to the base of the jump and Jetta started to jump it... then stopped. Yep, my horse decided to halfway jump the jump and then stop. Her front feet were on the other side and she put the brakes on. I of course went flying over her shoulder (what? We were supposed to be jumping!) and summer-saulted onto the ground. Luckily I had my helmet on and vest - my chest landed on the jump, head in the grass. I got a wonderful mouthful of vegetation. I quickly rolled to the side since I was convinced Jetta was going to finish the jump and land on top of me. Jetta backed off the jump, wandered off a few strides, stepped on her reins and waited for me to come help her.
Stupid, stupid horse. That is literally the stupidest thing a horse has ever done with me - who decides to jump and then stops halfway? Of course it wasn't completely her fault. There's usually always something the rider does "wrong" that helps along the situation - I wasn't exactly jumping ahead since we were in fact mid-jump, but I could have had a stronger leg on her and I'm sure my eyes weren't up. I got immediately back on and tried to go over it, but Jetta was convinced that to jump that fence would mean death, so after another "half jump" I gave up. I probably could have gotten her to go over it, but my confidence was a little shaken so I thought we'd quit while we were ahead (aka still alive).
After that, Jetta was convinced that all jumps were death. So when she refused a small log multiple times, I made her jump it from a standstill since it was all of maybe 12" tall. Really Jetta? After that she got a little more confident but we stuck to the BN stuff. I think part of the reason she didn't want to go over that one jump was because she couldn't see very well over it.
|The walk home.|
It was an interesting day - good because we did work on some important stuff (water, jumping up banks, galloping, etc) and it showed us some important places we needed to work on stuff. Like jumping down banks and that one terrifying coup. It made me realize that while Jetta has no problem with the Novice jumps and they aren't really that big, we need to stick with Beginner Novice until we have the confidence we need. After all, this is going to be her first horse trials and today was only our 3rd time schooling cross country. We are going to school cross country at least two times before the big horse trials and then school at least once at another course, so I think we will probably have time to work on everything we want. Next time, I'm planning on bringing a halter, lunge line and carrot stick and Jetta is going to jump that jump! Without me on her though :)
So I am completely drained after today, cross country really takes it out of you! I'm slightly discouraged - I've never fallen over a jump before today and I'm disappointed that I couldn't get Jetta to go over a measly N coop. But I'm determined that our first HT is going to be a positive experience. I don't care if we come in dead last, as long as we have fun and Jetta tries hard, I'll be good.