Friday, September 10, 2010

mini trail trials

At lesson on Thursday evening we practiced for an upcoming show. The show has the usual classes, and a trail class in the arena. It also has a trail trial out in the large pasture. It was great to practice out there! They have obstacles set up, and the instructor explained what was expected at each obstacle, had us go through them to practice, and then another time to judge and tell us the points she would have given us. Major walked knee-deep through the mucky pond (a little hesitation at first) and stepped over the fallen log just fine. We need to make sure to maintain our impulsion. A lot of that was Major being so ok with everything that I wasn't asking for much, but now I know what is expected and can work on that.

The hardest was probably the log L back-through. It is a standard L back-through, with an additional turn at the end, and big logs making up the sides. I haven't practiced any of this in so long, but we do a lot of backing up on the trail, and we were able to go through calmly and slowly, which is better than racing through and banging into something. I was proud of Major for listening in a strange environment. The next obstacle was trotting over small logs unevenly spaced, no one had much problem with that. After that the downhill/uphill backup, where you back down a small gully and back up the other side. We got a bit crooked, Major wanted to see where we were going, but if I put some leg on he did fine. This I'll practice, there is a perfect place on the trail to work this obstacle.

A wooden bridge comes next. Major didn't quite see the point since there was no water, no bushes, no reason not to just go around! But he did fine and walked up on the bridge, stopped and stood for a minute, and walked calmly off. I don't think he'd ever make a jumper, even in the pasture when he's just walking around he'll go around the logs and rocks, he is just thinking about why should he need to do more than he has to!

We were done for the lesson, and went and reworked the obstacles. There was also a fun obstacle that I dismounted and tried: a large box. That is just to put their feet on, and it is like getting in a trailer, so Major just stepped right up. He did want to continue, so I halted him (with his two front feet up) and then backed him down. It was great to see how unconcerned he was, and so many of the other horses did great as well. If they're all competing against me and Major we'll certainly be up for a challenge!

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