|The prettiest train wreck.|
For a control freak like me, it's a good lesson to learn.
The past week has been a rough one for Dino and I. After getting my mental demons back in their cage, and jumping around successfully at home, we went for another cross country lesson last week to prepare for Plantation this past weekend.
Beginning with the warm-up stadium fences, Dino decided he did not want to play. He used his Jedi Mind Tricks for evil and read my every thought about imperfect distances instead of reacting to the forward aids I was giving him, and stopped. Hard. At everything. One trainer ride and a whole lot of frustration later, we were able to get him around over the stadium fences and all of the small logs and coops on the course, and made the decision to drop down to Starter for the horse trial, see how it went, and make a game plan from there.
I did some wonderful in-hand jumping work with Dino at home on Friday, and while it did lift my spirits and remind me that I DO love this pony more than anything in the world, I still had very low expectations for the show. Dino had a blast jumping in-hand, but it wouldn't necessarily translate to the show ring.
Our dressage test was actually quite good despite having only about 5 minutes to warm up. We snagged a 34.7, even with the judge completely nailing us with a 4.5 for our free walk because of two shuffly trot steps in the beginning. I thought that was rather harsh, but Dino really showed up and gave me some great work despite me feeling rushed throughout the test. We got a comment of "Nice test, good partnership!" at the end, which made me smile.
Dino did not show up for the jumping.
Our warm-up for stadium started out in a promising fashion, with Dino moving nicely forward off my leg and responding well to my "Go Forth And Conquer" half-halts. He jumped the crossrail and the vertical just fine, and then slammed on the brakes at the small oxer when we met it on a half-stride.
My awesome trainer was thankfully there coaching me, and encouraged me to leave the oxer be - now was not the time to address this problem. We jumped the other two fences a few more times and went in for our round.
I showed up, I rode, I did everything right, and Dino did not do his part. He stopped at the first fence. I got him over, but then he stopped twice at the second and we were eliminated.
Part of me was relieved that I didn't have to attempt the tricky, unfriendly, not-appropriate-for-beginners cross country course with its multiple blind 90 degree turns and nonsensical fence placement.
|Thankfully Emma was on hand to shoot some video and console me with beer and jokes|
I've also had multiple offers to ride and show some very lovely horses and ponies, so even if Dino's issues are something that take a long time to overcome, I will be able to continue having fun doing the sport I love.
Character building. It's a bitch.