Wednesday, July 8, 2009
XC - Oh My!
Yep - today, Phillip got us! Tonight, back at the barn after all the day's events were over - several of us sat around laughing so much we were probably scaring the horses! We had so much fun sharing our day's adventures and comparing who made Phillip the most mad (horses and riders!) and which was his funniest comment of the day. My personal favorite... A very gracious 15 year old boy, Charlie, was having a heck of a day with his mare who just would not go in the water jump. Charlie suggested to Phillip that perhaps he could just get off and lead her in (let me just tell you that the water jump today was more green slime than water!). Phillip replies in a quirky Australian way while waving his hand "GO AHEAD!" and Charlie does it! Tonight, Phillip suggested that perhaps the mare will sleep on today's events and have a better day tomorrow, but I'll tell you one thing - I'll be there to watch tomorrow!
As for me, all was good for most of the day, although I did manage to get Phillip to say F#@*!! It wasn't actually directed at me, but he was mad at me at the time, so...
This was our first day on the XC course. He has so much stuff to play with! We stared in the arena going back to the work we had done the previous day - bringing the horses down to the base of the jump and really bending their hocks, then coming around on a faster longer stride and jumping more out of a gallop, then back to adding. Then we moved onto jumping in/out of the arena over various log jumps. I managed to muck up the very first of these combinations by being stupid about my line and forgetting to ride the jump in front of me - after Phillip made me start again and we did it well the second time, I felt the need to speak. Why do I do that?! I said, "the first time was partially my fault..." and Phillip replies loudly "It was more than partially!" - my fellow campers thought that was just hillarious! Gee, glad to bring a little humor along on my ride!
We did skinnies and bending lines and all kinds of funky terrain! Phillip kept stressing that we should not get so worried and just let the jumps hold the horses. Katchi and I had so much fun, and I am so loving my new horse! I just keep thinking - ride the horse you have today, but, wow is it hard to keep up! We also did ditches and banks and THE MOUND jump - it was good fun, but I fell victim to my excitement. Tried to tell Katchi to balance up and wait, when I really didn't need to do anything - that big hill up wanted to do all the work for me, if I'd just let it. It's a control thing, I guess. Our final exercise was on the water - this is when I angered Phillip. We'd gone through a few times, trot and canter, bank jump out, bank jump in, yada yada. Then it was time to jump height into the water. Katchi has never jumped height directly into water, so I wasn't real sure what he'd think about all of it. He did the first one (just a log into water) quite well and I was on cloud nine! We did that one again and survived again! Then we were to come around and jump a small skinny log on top of a bank directly into the water. I really wasn't sure what he would think about this, so, you know, I figured I'd just make sure he stopped, you know, in case he was going to stop anyhow. AGH!!!! How many times have I been yelled at for that by Lucinda and Jimmy. Man, did Phillip summon me to him fast. He says "you're coming up to the hardest thing he's ever jumped and you're telling him not to go! WHY would you do that? Everything about you should be absolutely postive to go go go!". I hate it when I do that! So, he made me canter around again and totally throw away the reins and ride, ride, ride - go, go go! And you know what... he went!
I think we definitely gave Phillip a bit of heartburn today. He was sort of laughing at us tonight, but we get our "evaluations" from him tomorrow night, so we'll see if he's still laughing at us then!! Tomorrow we do XC "courses".
The rest of the day was also fully packed - massages in the afternoon under the shade of a big beautiful tree. Only problem was that I kept hearing horses walking behind me, and I wanted so much to see who they were and what they looked like. Also had a great session with Emma about grooming tips - she talked to us about bandaging, icing, grooming, braiding, boots, cooling horses, jog outs, and so much else! Afterwards, several of us wandered through the barns to check out the digs - and we found the very best thing ever! Phillip's wall of shame - no kidding! How many top event riders do you know who have an entire wall in their barn dedicated to pictures of them falling off or having terrible jumps?!?! In all fairness, on the opposite side is a wall of fame - which is quite a bit larger!
The night ended with a great presentation by EcoGold on their saddle pads. It was very interesting to learn about the materials they use and the design functions they came up with - all from non-horse people who simply tried to apply current technology to what riders said they needed. And the very coolest part - apparently a few weeks ago, Phillip suggested they work on a new breathable shipping boot material. They came with the prototype to see what Phillip thought of what they've come up with - and we all got to see too! We were laughing that now Phillip has to test them out, so if we hear of any crazy shipping incidents involving a Dutton horse and shipping boots - we'll all know it will be a while still before the product hits the market! And, luckily, for this wine and cheese night, the dogs were well behaved and didn't get any of our cheese!
Oh - and I made a quick trip to Bit of Britain this afternoon to use a very nice coupon they provided all campers. I bought Katchi some new spurs. Ha ha, Katchi!
Okay folks, I am exhausted so will not even re-read this before posting. Please excuse any erros. I think that brings everything up to date so enjoy! Tomorrow I ride from 9:30-11:00, so I promise an afternoon update!
Picture below is of my mom and Connaught, Phillip's Rolex winner and Hong Kong Olympic horse - he has a special stall with an extra window that lets him oversee all the comings and goings. What a lovely horse!