"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FwedFwed and I leave the farm.

There has been some excitement since my last post.  The best news is at the end.  Don't skip to it!

Saturday was Change of Watch at the Susquehanna Yacht Club.  Dad was sworn in as Commodore! 

Mom and Dad at Change of Watch 2011. 

On Sunday, Fred and I ventured outside for a flat ride.  What a nice horse!  Cindy's mother, Mrs. Gilbert, and her friend from New Zealand, Cheryl, were visiting.  Mrs. Gilbert gave Fred her approval.  

Cindy helped me load Fred on to her trailer on Sunday, too.  He went up the ramp and came right back off.  After a few calm words, he followed me into the trailer.  We explored it and then he backed into a stall with some coaxing.  The peppermint treats were inhaled and we were off the trailer.  Having Fred on and off the trailer with little fuss was a huge relief.

Monday afternoon I jumped Fred outside over some real jumps.  We still need to figure out his bit.  Fred had a 3-ring waterford, which is Tyler's XC bit, and it is not right for Fred.  Sally thinks Fred is not a fan of the leverage.  

We crawled over a few fences to start.  My position is doing something wacky while I figure out Fred.  I foresee cantering jumps consistently soon which may stop the crawling.  Fred was sensible, light, and tolerant! Thank goodness for his tolerance.  We put together a few jumps and had a successful evening.  There was nothing tough, only confidence building before Tuesday's outing.

 One of our better attempts.
We walked around the pasture for the first time! No problemo. 

Tuesday was our first field trip off the farm.  We went with Cindy and Patrick to Laurel Hill for XC schooling with Sally.  Oh boy.  Things I learned:

1 - Don't tie Fred to the trailer.  It doesn't work.  He didn't go to far and everything was then fine.  So I have to change my approach to getting ready, no big deal.  

2 - Keep moving.  The hand walk to the bottom of the hill was fun.  This was followed by more moving.  Sally held Fred while I climbed on some jump to then climb on Gigantor.  (Gigantor is what I call Fred when he's in alert mode.)  Sally said just keep Fred moving the entire time.  

2.5 - Look where you want to go.  I'm terrible about that.  Look and the horse will follow.  

3 - Stay in the saddle.  About 30 minutes into the 45 minute schooling, Fred got stuck.  He was backing up in a circle.  Ummm... AAACCKKK!  I wanted to bail and Sally wouldn't let me.  I had no idea how to get him out of this rut.  Patrick walked over to us and then Fred snapped out of it. 

4 - There's potential.  Fred could have been way worse.  He was sensible about other horses coming and going and jumping.  Fred is very tall when he wants to look at something but I never felt that bolt feeling.  He didn't spook at any thing he walked past.  He will stand nicely while someone holds him.  (Any takers?)  

5 - We need more field trips!  It is the only way Fred will become more comfortable with traveling.  This was his first outing in 2 or more years. 
 Hello, perfection!  Cindy and Patrick were prepping for Plantation on 4/16 and 4/17.
Patrick reminds Fred how the water works.
The weather sucked!  It was cold and windy.  I had layers under my vest and that windbreaker on top.  Not my most flattering look.  Fred is carrying a linebacker around.

Ok.  Ready for the most exciting news?  (This is a long blog and will be done soon!) Sally asked if I would help her at The Fork next week in North Carolina.  Tsunami is entered in the ***.   Since I am in between projects right now, I can go!  Most of the upper level riders will be there for Rolex prep.  It will be an amazing opportunity and learning experience.  My goals are to keep Sally from getting mad at me and to help as much as possible.  I might already be driving her nuts with the hotel reservation, but that should be the worst of it.  Expect lots of updates from the road.  Hmmm, can I update the blog from an iPhone? 

PS - Tyler is doing well.  He is cute and happy.

Upcoming fun... 
Tyler returns full time to the great outdoors after the forecast clears. 
Sarah resumes lessons with Fred and I.
The HVS Jump Painting party is Sunday, April 3.  Come celebrate spring and Cindy's birthday.
April 8-10 The Fork horse trials
April 16-17 Plantation HT - Aileen and Cindy are competing.  I will be there with Cindy.

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