I took Duke cross country schooling on Friday night. It was hot. Like. 98 degrees and probably 90% humidity. Everyone including Trainer B considered not going for like 1 second and then we rationalized that we should practice going in the heat anyway. It’ll probably be similar weather at each of our next few shows. Also, it’s cross country schooling.
And it was GREAT. Duke is such a star. He is so game, and loves being out there (even when he is tired and hot).
We started doing some up and down banks, during which Trainer B shouted, “Good seat – it’s like you went riding in Ireland or something!” Which made me chuckle.
We did a ditch to a vertical made of tires, then a faux Trakehner (a vertical set up inside the ditch). Then we did the tires to the faux Trakehner on an angled line. Duke is just so honest. As long as I ride a good line to set him up and keep him together, he’s going to jump the crap out of anything.
Next we went on to the real Trakehner, which I had feelings about. Last time I jumped this I was on Stryder and it was fairly dramatic. He stopped, launched and nearly ejected me, I managed to hang on for awhile but eventually emergency dismounted. Duke was a bit unsure and it wasn’t pretty the first time, but it was much smoother and he was great (of course).
GoPro video of the training level coop/table thing to the Trakehner:
Speaking of the GoPro, I struggled with it. It was my first time riding with it mounted on my helmet and it was harder than I thought to use it without seeing it. By the end I’d mixed up whether it was recording or not, so instead of getting a cool video of dropping into the water and taking a skinny out, I got a 3 1/2 minute video of walking back to the trailer and telling Duke he’s a good boy 1,000,000 times. Oops.
It was really amazing to go out on cross country with a horse I’ve been riding consistently for six months. Last year was amazing just to go out and learn the ropes a little bit. I even took Duke schooling early in the summer last year. But now, with a partnership that’s on a more solid foundation, it’s just amazing. We can work together and we trust each other because we understand each other more. Duke trusts me enough to let me pick the spot (instead of his classic favorite leave-one-out approach to jumping), and I trust him to get us over those jumps safely, pretty much no matter what. It’s so cool.
I just feel really lucky.