Noodle went on another field trip yesterday!
Steph is gonna be gone to Stable View this weekend, so instead of pushing off our usual late week/weekend lesson to next week, I asked if she had any time before she left. She said she was planning on taking a couple horses over to Majestic to XC school, and I should bring Presto with. Zero arm twisting required for that. Sign me up.
So I put his saddle on, tossed his bridle and my helmet and my vest in the trailer, and off we went. This was the first time I’d taken him XC schooling by himself, and I was curious to see if he would be any different about the nappiness when being asked to leave the group. I got on and started warming up a couple minutes before the other two horses that met us there, so that he had to go off by himself with no hand holding or moral support. He was definitely in giraffe mode for the first few minutes (so many things to see, so little time to noodle) but he did listen when I asked him to pay attention to me, and we changed direction, played with opening and closing the trot and canter, and then popped over a couple warmup jumps. Once we got down to business, so did he.
Once we were warmed up we started making our way around, picking some things to jump. Courses are always set at Majestic, so it’s easy to follow a level all the way around if you want, or pick and choose bits from different courses. We wanted to see how he would be leaving the group, so the first mission was to string together jumps 1 and 2 and then swing back around past the group to a Novice table. He was totally fine leaving the group, good over one and two, and though I felt him give an eyeball to the other horses as we passed, he kept going to the table. Completely biffed the distance to that, but ya know… it wasn’t because he was being nappy, his mother just makes bad choices sometimes.
After that we went over to the ditches. I think I’ve only ever really jumped like one ditch on him so I wasn’t sure if he’d be looky about it or not, but no. No he was not. Popped right over like he was bored with us. So then we left the group again, catching a ramp a little ways away
then swinging back toward the group and jumping through the coffin first the Novice way (ditch to smaller hanging log) and then part of the Training way (just their ditch, bending line to a bigger hanging log). He was super good about all that too.
From there we headed over to the banks, first walking up and down the smallest one (he was a little *yeehaw* about the bank when we schooled a couple weeks ago at Magnolia Sands, so doing it the boring way first seemed wise) then trotting up and down the middle one, then trotting down and adding the BN house. That was all easy peasy so then we jumped the middle one up, cantering away to a N coop, turned around and jumped the coop back, down the bigger drop with the log on top, and then jumping the N house. Aside from strongly considering spooking at a couple jumps on the fence line near the N coop (for funsies), he was super good about all that.
Then it was off down the hill to complete the holy trinity: the water. We took the N line through here first, cantering over a little house a few strides before the water, then through it, out up a little bank, straight ahead to a shark’s tooth (their N is legit, I love it). Completely biffed the distance to the upbank and he had to sort of climb out at trot, but I booted him forward again and he jumped out over the shark’s tooth happily. He’s fairly undeterred by things on XC (ok he’s fairly undeterred by what he’s doing on XC, but quite easily deterred by whatever else may or may not be happening around him). We turned around and cantered through the water again, out over the Training roll top.
Since the bank was not great we came back through and did that again, and this time he was staring off to the right at what another horse was doing and I’m not quite sure what all of his legs did at the bank, but somehow he made it up the thing with the strangest yet somehow entirely effective hop while not paying one iota of attention to it at all. It was the most graceful awkwardness I’ve felt in a while. Presto to a T. You can always count on him to entertain. Wish we had that one on video.
We called it a day with that, and Steph said “I think it’s horse show time”. Alright then. She suggested a Florida Horse Park show in 2 weeks, but it’s a recognized and I’d rather save a bit of money and do schooling shows with him for a while. Plus I expect we’ll have plenty of kinks to work through in the beginning, so… better to do it in a lower pressure environment. Luckily this is Ocala, and a big part of why I wanted to move here is because there are so many show options. There are two schooling shows in October too, one at Majestic and one at FHP, so we’ll aim for both of those.
Naturally instead of doing the wise thing and looking at the dressage test, I am focusing on the fact that the FHP show is a Halloween show, and people dress up. Punk Rock Presto totally needs an outfit.