Thursday, July 9, 2009

XC Day II - I Made Phillip Laugh!

First, a caveat - will add pictures to this tonight and I hve 20 minutes until it's "rider fitness" time. I just had to take a quick 20 minute nap in my truck as I totally missed curfew last night trying to get caught up on this blog. So, lets see how much I can get done in 20 minutes... also, just saw the COTH requests for pictures of the wall of shame - think I can manage that for you all!

Also, realized something I missed in posting last night to add to the Charlie leading his horse into the water story - meanwhile, his poor mother was about to have a heart attack watching her brand new very expensive half chaps wade into the green water! Apparently someone has a picture of Charlie, his horse and the million dollar half chaps in the green muck, so will see if I can track it down! Not really what one expects when they sign up for a Phillip Dutton clinic, is it?!?! Aren't we supposed to ride through the water??

Right, so today was round two on the XC course. Phillip set out to build upon the confidence we were developing in the horses yesterday. We started by revisting the galloping position work that we did with Jennie earlier in the week, then moving onto small figure 8's over a small log in the field. Phillip really wanted to get the horses soft in the jaw on the landing of the jump, so they would land and flow in the direction we wanted rather than charging off on a straight line headed to wherever the horses thought it would be good to head. It was a really great exercise and not one that I think many people would think of doing as a XC warm-up. We did quite a few of the same combinations again today, but this time we didn't "school" them so much first. He had higher expectations that we would do them more competently and faster this time around as well as longer courses of various combination questions. It's not often that we take the opportunity to tackle the exact same XC questions 2 days in a row to get it "more right". He also threw in several new jumps and lines which included a very big log (to my eyes at least - Katchi just chuckled and said, let me at it mom!).

One of the new lines we did was to repeat a small log on varied terrain then gallop along the track and into the woods where there was a narrow upright rail road tie jump. Katchi has spooked at this stupid jump every time we've walked past it all week - it's in the shade, between two trees with the track running almost next to it. And here is where I made Phillip laugh - he told us to jump the first log then head down (do not underestimate the horses's questions coming into this new jump!) and jump the RR ties. He says "if all goes well, come back and do it the other direction." I replied, "don't you mean, WHEN it goes well, come back and do it the other direction." He laughed quite hard. So, it may not have been through the blog that I made Phillip Dutton laugh - but I did make him laugh at least once this week!

Katchi and I had a really great day with one bobble at the sunken road. I sorta had an idea it might be an issue for Katchi, so I asked Phillip early on today if we could be sure to do it. Once again, I would have been far better off if I'd thrown the reins away and kicked, but I didn't. Seriously, I don't think I have a learning disability (I am pretty well educated in the academic sense!), but don't you just wonder about yourself sometimes?!?! Katchi had a bit of a fit and we went round and round jumping all the bits and pieces of the sunken road. This will sound funny, but despite all the drama, I was really pleased that he didn't rear. That used to be his thing, because he figured out after one time that it worked on me - it worked really good, in fact. But, no rearing and we eventually got through it and all was well.

Only other issue he gave me today was at the larger of the 2 ditches. We hadn't jumped that yesterday - we came round and jumped the smaller ditch and then were to head straight to the larger ditch (about 5 strides away)... got all the way up to the edge and had a quick stop. grrr. Phillip made me come back around to the first ditch and totally throw away the rein between the two - then just sit back and kick - ha ha, he jumped it! I finished up jumping around several fences in the other field (we're getting really good at that mound jump!), and when I came back around, I thought I saw Phillip in the ditch. He's not as tall as Boyd by any means, but when I say he's a "mean little Australian man" he's not really that small either. All I could see was the top of his hat - if that gives you any idea of how big that ditch was. I didn't see it, but we had a rider timble off into the ditch when her horse did a dirty stop at the last moment. She's a bit scraped up and has a fat knee (she went to the urgent care this afternoon to get it checked out, so hopefully we'll have a good diagnosis by the end of the day), but was in good spirits. And, oh her horse is SO SO sorry now. He really does know what it means to have a "mean little Australian man" on your back!

For those wondering, Charlie had a much better day today. However, at the end of the ride, Phillip told him that he plans to continue to build the mare's confidence over the courses tomorrow. Charlie says "sounds like a bunch of tiny logs to me." We've all been there, Charlie!

Okay - off to "rider fitness" - we have awards and evaluations, which I'm sure will be amusing if nothing else!

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