I know Mondays are usually recap posts of what’s been going on the for the past week, but today we gotta take a minute to talk about Gemma.
Hillary came down last week and is spending a week or so with me while she’s here, and I also just so happened to have been invited XC schooling by a couple local friends. Of course, we were set to go schooling like the day after she made the overnight drive from Texas so poor Hillary was in zombie mode, but she’s a trooper. The day of the XC schooling ended up being one of the hottest mornings we’ve had so far, so it was a no-go for Henry. Instead we loaded up the two 5 year olds, and away we went over to Majestic Oaks. It was only 15 minutes. I’m still a bit mind-blown by how close everything is here.
Gemma is lightly traveled at this point as far as shows and schoolings go. She went to a couple in hand during her rest period just to hang out, but as of yet her only under saddle off property experience was that one little XC schooling she went to (which was also her first time jumping). Hillary and I have been building her up gradually over time and letting her build strength and get more educated to the sporthorse ways in general.
Hillary got right on her at Majestic Oaks, we warmed up in one of the rings, and then headed out to the XC. We had no real plans or structure for this trip… if all she did was hack around I would have been perfectly pleased with that. Hillary has only ridden her a handful of times so there was absolutely no pressure on either of them. We headed over to the water first and Gemma walked right in no problem. Then she trotted through. It was so uneventful and she was being so quiet, I was like well lets see if we can find some little Starter stuff for her.
And that’s how Gemma basically ended up schooling the entire Starter course. She just hopped right over everything without so much as a second thought, even the little faux trakehner. She’s so brave, and she seems to like having new things to conquer. Then Hillary left the start box area and jumped the first half of the Starter course as if it were an actual XC run, and Gemma was friggin adorable. Very proud of herself but still 100% rideable. To cap it off she hopped down off the smaller bank into the water like she’s been doing it all her life. She’s really started to figure out the jumping in the past couple weeks – I’ve made a point to hop her over a few little cavaletti every ride, and that’s definitely helped her start to figure out the game. Hillary and I were both really pleased with her XC schooling… honestly she could go run a Starter right now and do really well, I think. I just want to take a little extra time to put her through some gymnastics and work more with showing her how to use her body and how to be quick with her feet and confident. We’re in zero hurry so I figure why not take the time upfront to cover all our bases… I think ultimately it’ll end up being faster that way.
Gemma’s flatwork is really coming together too. I swear the more you ask of her, the more she delivers. Her leg yields and shoulder in are getting pretty good, and she’s starting to reach down to the bit and want to stretch her topline. It’s still just moments, and it’s not consistent, but she shows some lovely bits in there. She’s starting to get some really fun buttons and her topline is filling in slowly but surely. This week we’ve been playing a little bit with stretching and lengthening and it’s just kind of crazy how quickly she picks up on what you’re asking. She’s like a little sportscar.
She got some new fans at Majestic Oaks, including one “now THAT’S the kind of mare that should be bred”, so that’s always fun. Such a good girl!