Sunday, 13 June 2010

Oatridge XC Training with David Gatherer

Team Hopalong have been pretty quiet since Scotsburn, we had a quiet week after Scotsburn just doing lots of hacking to keep the fitness up and the school at the yard is still out of use which is a good excuse to avoid dressage practice! ;) Although new surface has been promised soon, which is just as well as we do need the practice...!

This weekend I was helping dressage write in the morning for Oatridge BE event (so I now know what not to do!) and then enjoyed watching some XC in the afternoon.

Today I was back to Oatridge with Hopalong in tow for the training day over the BE courses with David Gatherer. We did this last year and had a really good day, so was really looking forward to this. We were not very lucky with the weather- it rained the whole time, but luckily my lovely cameraman stuck it out to take some piccies for me! :)

We mostly stuck to the Novice fences today (Oatridge is a small Novice course, but some of them were still plenty big enough!) with the exception of a very wide table fence and the jump into the water. Heidi was absolutely on fire and having a ball, she was so keen to get on with it and we had lots of prancing, jogging and sideways dancing when she was upset that the other horses were getting a turn! Acting her shoe size not her age?! ;) Nice to know she's enjoying it though.

We started off over the first two fences, nice and straightforward and no problems. She was so keen to get out of the start box that we got a horse version of a "wheel spin", even with studs in! Got a lovely jump over the first fence and she was more than happy to zoom off to the second!
We then jumped no.3 on an angle fine, got a little close but there is never any worry about her picking her toes up!
4ab was a drop with a ditch on the far side then two strides to a rolltop with brush. She did her usual "eeek, things might lurk in the ditch" massive leap over the ditch which led to me having to slip the reins and not look very pretty over part B, but it's not style jumping, so all good! ;) Still no sign of her brushing through brush though!
We then had a wee play jumping the ditch/step in the other direction which was good practice. Down the hill and over a nice straightforward rolltop;
No.6 was off a 90deg right hand turn and a pretty decent sized box fence. Was a little nervous about it and our first attempt looked rather funny;
Although we jumped it another couple of times and on the third attempt managed a slightly more normal jump over it, although she still gave it plenty of air.
Then onto a combination of gate to rolltop on four curving strides (some Christmas trees getting in the way of a nice, straight line through the middle, how rude of the course designer!) which she flew through no bother.
We then jumped the skinny log in the woods and out over a double of hedges, lots of concentration here. ;) Honest I was having fun...!
I then spent ages dithering about whether to jump the big Novice table or not. My worry was that it was very wide (I know the height is not an issue with her!) and that since she prefers to get in close and then jump "up", she may not make the width if we didn't get a perfect stride to it. I would never forgive myself if I messed it up and ruined her/my confidence and we are not looking to go Novice BE and so will not need to jump anything that big/wide, so figured although it would be a real achievement to jump it, I'd rather keep both of us happy and confident. So we did the PN flower box instead;
We then splashed through the PN water (ramp in, house fence jump out) and up the hill jumping some more gate type fences en route to the corner, which she jumped first time really nicely
Up the step and then linked up the intro, PN and Novice fences to make an angled line of rolltop to skinny to skinny. First two we got nice strides to but got a funny stride to the last one, hence (another!) funny face in the second picture from me!
We then finished up jumping the wall and zooming up the hill to the chair fence at the last, no problems at these fences and so lots of pats, polos and pear for Heidi. :)
Next up is our riding club's SJ evening on Wednesday... if I can escape the office on time of course!