Faeryn went to a schooling show Sunday and showed First level for the second time. It was a small show, but the significance was that she went to this same show last year for her first time to show Training Level, and her second show ever. To put it politely, last year, she was a wild child. To put it bluntly she was Crazy Faeryn. She was so wound up – even after visiting the facility the day before, and a healthy dose of lunging – that I really did not relish getting on her. And that’s saying something, since I started her under saddle myself! LOL!
But what a difference a year makes. I did not feel the need to lunge her so just got right on her to start our warm up about 25 minutes before our ride time. She was quite “up” – and looky at jumps stacked by the arena and a VERY suspicious huge stump in the field where we were working. (We couldn’t school in the actual competition arena.) By the time we were on deck, she was listening and working well. In our first test, things were going well until she came to a screeching halt at the end of our lengthened trot across the diagonal due to a very suspicious looking cinder block sitting just outside the ring. We had a small “discussion” about its mere presence and its threat, real or perceived, to her well-being. 😉 And then she ‘got over it’ and went about her business.
Our second ride was about 20 minutes later, so we did not have results of the first one yet. I was pleased that she decided the cinder blocks were no threat to national security this time around, and I thought we had a better ride. One too-early downward from canter going across the diagonal was the only major boo-boo. I _felt_ her about to trot from my ‘collect a bit we’ve got a downward coming up’ half halt, but was not able to correct it soon enough. A natural young horse reaction.
She ended up with a 67 for First level Test 1 and 2nd out of 3, and a 68 for First 2 and first place. And was First Level champion by a small margin – against much more seasoned competitors.
I was very pleased with her. She was very calm for the most part and abandoned her hay net to park herself with her head hanging out of the window of her day stall to schmooze with passers-by, and I let several small fans feed her peppermints, much to the delight of givers and recipient alike! I hope she is this good in Tyler next weekend at her first big gig!
I got home about 1, after stopping by the feed store with Faeryn in tow (quite literally) and laughed at the thought that this was a bit like taking your child to the grocery store with you. Unfortunately, Faeryn did not get any samples of the bale of alfalfa that was one of our purchases.
I then rode Faxx and Fling. Faxx was good – less fussy since getting his teeth floated. And then I rode Fling, hoping I could replicate what we achieved in our lesson with Marta the previous day. I rode her in the double again, and I quickly found my round, forward, powerful horse.
Yesterday I rode her again, but put her back in a snaffle – a different one than the one I’ve been riding her in. I decided it really was not quite wide enough for her. I put her in a Herm Sprenger snaffle that’s sort of a combo between a loose ring and an eggbut – it has a ‘Y” shaped ‘wing’ where the mouthpiece meets the rings – the rings slide through the Y, preventing pinching at the corners of the mouth. What a difference – the small resistances she’d been showing, especially when going from free walk to working walk were GONE. It took us a bit of noodling around to get that same feeling as we’d had the day before, but I did find it, after reminding myself NOT TO PANIC! In general, lately I am tending to take too much outside rein – which, duh, makes it really hard for my horses to BEND. And then I struggle because they WON’T BEND when they CAN’T bend because of too much outside rein. And along with that, I’ve not been using ENOUGH outside leg. We did some flying changes – mostly clean, but some with a small ‘hop’ – and some good half pass.
And I remembered to do something I have not done nearly enough of lately – pat her lavishly and often and tell her what a very good girl she is. About 98% of our ‘challenges’ are mine, not hers.