I signed Major and I up for a Combined Training Clininc this past weekend. It involved a d-d-dressage t-t-test and a stadium jumping course. Since Major is so green, I opted for the Intro Level A USDF test and ground poles for the "stadium" jumping. Major doesn't know much else at this point. When we got to the facility where the clinic was to be held, Major seemed to think he was going to race, and was very hyper and all wound up. He has never been away from our farm before, and he was mesmerised by all the sights to be seen.... horses going to and fro, trail riders, a hackney pony and cart, someone galloping their horse in a large field, horses warming up on the jumping course, cars on the highway, a barn cat; all kinds of new things to be seen and smelled. I think he held his breath much of the day, staring at all the new things.
The dressage tests were held in their indoor arena, which was small, dark, with low ceilings, and fluorescent lights. The arena is the "centre isle" of a stall barn, and the stalls look out over the arena. When I saw all of this, I thought "Uh-Oh. Major is not going to like this one bit." I brought him over to take a look. He peeked in, looked around, and then took a step inside! What a good boy he is.
When it was our turn, I discovered I had learned the wrong test, and had all my 20-mitre circles in the wrong places; even though the clinician said they were good circles. We were able to do the test again, revised, and kept that score. One time, a rider was getting her horse out of one of the stalls, and it whinnied at Major, and he kicked, tried a little buck, and whinnied back, totally loosing his concentration and messing up. Other than that, I was happy with the way Major handled himself.
For the stadium jumping, as I mentioned, all we did was the ground poles. Even though I think he is ready to do an 18 inch cross rail, I did not want to introduce him to that away from home and have him freak. We'll save that for schooling at home. He never even looked twice at the jumps he had never seen: flower boxes,bright colors, gates, wings, even a "skinny". He was scared by nothing. As we were preparing to do the course, he decided to lie down with me in the saddle! I have seen people get their leg broken this way, so I had to scramble off him fast and then get him up before he destroyed my saddle. He was all hot and sweaty and must have just felt ooky and so he decided to roll. After we completed the course, the clinician said that she was very impressed with Major and how well he did for his first event away from home. She said he had a kind eye, and an incredible mind, for only being 10 months off the track. I was a little disappointed that she didn't say more to me about my riding. All she did was write in the comments section of the score sheet "nice riding" and "way to stay calm and relaxed". I guess in a way it;s a good thing, I must ride okay, but I am one who likes to hear "Try to improve this;" or "this could be better", or "You stink at this, work on it."
In the end, we placed 6th out of 8 horse/rider teams. I was happy with that. I am so proud of Major.