Luck wasn't really with us for the dressage phase. It ran in an indoor arena the Hippo hadn't seen yet. Open doors, hidden sounds sources, strange environment and an inexperienced horse equalled a horse on high alert. But, we worked through it and completed so its all good in my book!
The hippo seems to REALLY like big open spaces, it might have something to do with the fact she doesn't feel restricted by walls . She can stretch out and get loose. That was when I figured out something might have changed during our cross country jumping warm up. We hopped a couple low x shaped jumps. Hmmm, a little more oomph than usual but not a bad thing.
Then we jumped a spread fence annnnnd blast off!
|Yup, kind of like this..|
Next thing I know I'm squawking profanity as I feel myself nearly shot clear of the saddle by the power in the jump underneath me. Holy shit, where did THAT come from?!
(All praise extra sticky deerskin seat riding pants AND neck straps AND sticky stuff to glue one's boots to the saddle.)
|My deerskin breeches may get a shrine|
Evidently someone delivered the launch codes to the Hippo's jump capability. Make no mistake, this is awesome. Its also a little (lot) disconcerting to be headed to my first cross country course in a decade on a horse that has discovered its fun to jump WAY UP over fences. Off we go to the cross country field. (Did I mention the big mare jumped her first XC fences the day before? Yeah, no big deal.)
Count down from the start box ... 5... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Go! Good luck! It doesn't matter that we are walking out of the startbox, a gunshot of adrenaline hits my system. Its XC, GO!
Walk out, trot to the first fence. Hippo is befuddled. Where are we going? Why are we leaving everyone? Is that log important? This field is huge! Did you say something about a log? Did you mean look at the log? Where'd my buddies go? Oh crap, you meant THAT log?
(wiggle, wiggle, steer, steer, cluck, jump, we're over) This continues for the first 1/3 of the course but, god love the Hippo, she still jumps everything. By the 1/2 mark, it clicks in. OH, you point and I jump. Got it lady!
Just in time for her to lock onto the series of fences heading downhill. Sit up sit up goddamnit sit your giant head back in case she ... guess who re-reads the launch codes? Even from a trot, she jumps the fence like a monster! Immense power but holy crap!
From that fence onward, it was just point, sit up and squeeze. No rush, no hesitation, just a chill feeling of "Got it lady, let's do it"
The best feeling XC round of my life, but do I ever need to take up jogging!
|However, falling off on XC from lack of oxygen is WAY worse|