The following pictures are courtesy of Jen Shimp at iTolt Training Center. Her horse, her camera, her photography talent.
Last Saturday was the Dayton Local Show Circuit (DLSC) hunter show at Greenstone Stables. Nicely run... but boy was it HOT!! Forecasted for mid to upper 90s by afternoon. In the morning it wasn't bad... IF you were in the shade doing nothing. But riding in the sun in the afternoon was unreal.
Spot is relatively new to iTolt's lesson program. Another friend, Anita Mays, has been working with him on his dressage and he's just FUN. Our canter transitions (up) still need work, but that's not my strong suit either and I'm pretty out of shape as it is.
So we signed up to do the Warm-Up class and then the Baby Hunter division, where the jumps were 2'. Our first run (should give you foreshadowing right there as to how it went) at the Warm Up class was... uh... interesting. At Jen's, Spot had no trouble with the 2'+ fences I put up for him 2 days prior. But boy did he object to the flowers and other decorations. It's ok... typical greenie spookiness. Got him around and decided to do another Warm Up round. The second round went MUCH better. But in the end, I dropped him to the Future Hunter division (18" fences). We decided that 6" isn't going to make a hill of beans difference to this horse and what he needed was confidence to jump over the flowers! Plus, the Future division was next and we could both be done for the day faster -- and in that heat, it was a good idea. Spot had already done REALLY well with one of Jen's young students in the Ground Poles and Trot CrossRails divisions that morning.
There were only 4 or 5 horses in each of our 3 classes. Spot did great for being as green as he is. We ended up taking 3rd in each class. We got better and better over the jumps themselves, although as we got more and more worn out, our transitions and smoothness suffered a bit. I blame myself of course for ending up a sack of lump on his back. We trotted several of the fences, but that's what we both needed at one time or another.
I'm REALLY proud of him. He has such a good mind. I really don't think it's going to take him long at all to figure it all out.
The plan is to take him to the next DLSC hunter show -- Stillwater Pony Club on the 17th. I'm still contemplating taking him to the Backyard Horse Trials on the 25th as well. Closing date is the 15th so no time to run him out at Twin Towers to see how he goes cross country. But Jen just pulled in the hay from her back field and I know Anita is itching to get some fences set up back there. So we just might have to play a bit before making a decision. First decision -- is he ready to go to something like that? Second decision -- Beginner Novice or Starter (I'm leaning starter, but really wanted to have a dressage test that includes canter for him since it's a hard spot).