Guess what we did on Monday?
I mentioned last week that I wanted to take Henry out for a little XC action, just for funsies. It makes him happy, it makes me happy… why not. That’s the beauty of living here in Ocala where I can drive 10 minutes to any number of places for a quick pop-around, and it’s not an all day thing or a big expense or a big deal. Still blows my mind. I schooled two horses and was home by 10. Badabingbadaboom. Have I maybe mentioned a time or two that I love Ocala? No? I do.
I figured if I was taking Henry I may as well take one of the kiddos too, and since Presto had had a jump lesson the day before, he’d earned the day off and Gemma was the winner. I opted to take them to Majestic Oaks mostly because they’d just had a show there and I wanted to ride the whole Starter course on Gemma to see what she thought. She’s been the Majestic to school once already with Hillary, so I figured it would be a relatively easy outing for her and a nice repeat.
Since it was getting hot fast, I started with Henry. I soon as we walked out to the XC he was in absolute Game On mode and warmup up like he thought he was at the Olympics. It really isn’t hard to make this horse happy… food and XC. Done. I didn’t do a whole lot with him, just warmed him up and popped him around a handful of the Training level jumps. Ok well perhaps I did encourage him a bit because I went to the startbox and gave him a countdown and let him come out of there and gallop over the first few before we went and did some combos. I love both of the babies but it sure is fun to get back on my long-time friend and just go enjoy ourselves. Henry was very pleased with all of his efforts, as I’m sure you can imagine. I was on him for all of 25-30 minutes but that was all he needed for an ego boost, and all I needed to put a smile on my face. He’s still the king.
After that we went back to the trailer and I switched over to Gemma. She was a little bit ants-in-the-pants, as she tends to be a lot of the time anyway, but overall pretty calm. She’s not upset or frantic, she just needs to move her feet sometimes. Not a big deal. At that point we were also quite literally the only trailer there, so we had the place to ourselves.
We did a quick warmup, mostly making sure she was listening and relaxed, and then I started trotting some little logs. She always, without fail, jumps the first handful of fences like they’re 4′ high. I’ve just come to expect it by this point. So we trotted and cantered some little stuff until she was being less dramatic, made sure we were adjustable and straight, then I took her over to the startbox. My goal was to just ride her around the whole Starter course, a chunk at a time.
By the time we got like 3 jumps in she was already bored and just loping over everything, but that’s exactly what I wanted. I know she’s brave, I know she’s careful, but I need her to also be relaxed and confident and rideable and using her body correctly. I have no doubt that I could point her at bigger things and she’d jump them no question, but I care more about the how right now than the what. If we take the time in the beginning to establish the how, the what will be a lot easier later.
Gemma really is a fun little horse to ride, she’s quick and catty and athletic, and super adjustable. A different type than my other two for sure, but she’s so game and tries so hard, it’s really adorable.
She was definitely more unsure of herself when she got farther away and was by herself, so that’s good information to have for whenever it comes time to actually horse show. Really the only “bad” thing Gemma did the whole time though was spook at a flock of birds that were directly beside a log and decided that the perfect time for all 9000 of them to fly away was when she was like 3 strides out. She teleported sideways at that, and I don’t really blame her.
Honestly though, not a bad way to spend a Monday morning.