This weekend, Shirley and I trekked out to Twin Towers Park and participated in the Nad Noon Adult Rider Cross Country clinic. We rode with Nad a couple times last year and this was our first XC schooling for 2014.
Summary: WOW!! There's obviously work to do, but we both learned a ton and had a blast!! It was SO much fun, not to mention so worth the money spent.
Saturday: Up at the buttcrack of dawn as we were scheduled for the 8am ride time. We were in a small group of 3 starter/beginner novice folks. Day 1 was more grid type exercises using XC elements. SJ fences were set up around the water or near the bank for example. We started out in our typical fashion and I think really got things sorted out. Lessons for the day -- MORE LEG, especially at just before and at take off. Shirley, in typically hot OTTB fashion, has really taught me to take my leg off lest she bolt after the fences like she used to last year. She's doing so much better now, but if the fences are at all "different", because my leg is off she peeters out on her energy and looks.... I get worried about the fence and throw my upper body forward so I don't hit her in the mouth at what will most likely be somewhat of an awkward jump... and my lower leg flies back. Leg on keeps her in the contact and she has much better jumps... and so do I.
Sunday: Late afternoon ride time, though Reilly did NOT let me sleep in. I think both of us were a little tired. We started out a bit off. Shirley was backing off too much with the curb rein so Nad had me ride with it really loopy so I could ride her up into the bit more. I was a bit off with my position... staying "stuck" in the folded position instead of opening my shoulders on landing. And of course when Shirley backed off, I jumped up her neck with threw us REALLY off. Sunday was more gallopy mini-courses. Jumped BN... a few Novice and even a couple Training size fences. Really got her going and I could definitely feel the difference in how we jump when she's really in front of my leg and in the bridle.
As I said, we both learned a TON! Shirley jumped SO well (and at one point too well when she left out a stride in the 2-stride small SJ vertical to 3' bank up combination.... too much speed and too long of a stride... but she jumped VERY well). I think she gained a ton of confidence and so did I!
We have the Greenstone Dressage Show this Saturday, where I entered us at Training 1 and the USEF Training Rider Test. Next weekend we're off to another clinic... this time with Jimmy Wofford. Then there's the SVF show... then we head to Indiana on July 5th for the Leg Up Horse Trials!! Cannot wait!!