Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rain stopped play

Sunday afternoon, and we are scheduled to have a mini one-day-event with our trainer, Fiona. Frankly, I’m sceptical about my chances, as Fiona has ridden around Blenheim, my friend Jane and her horse Red jumped everything clear last week, whilst Harry and I knocked up a cricket score - he discovered the jumps were plastic pretty quickly and treated them with appropriate contempt.

The yard where Fiona is working has amazing facilities, and the plan is to hire them for the afternoon and have a ‘play’, doing a dressage test, show jumping and cross country course. However, rain and wind stop play – the show jumps are flat on the ground and trees sway menacingly.

Thank goodness, there is also a fabulous indoor school - and boy, do we like it! Harry whinnies as soon as he catches sight of himself in the mirror – “who’s that gorgeous cob there?” I feel less gorgeous, but love the feeling of space, the ability to check out at our performance (if that’s what it can be called) and the fact that it’s warm and dry.

We practise our lateral work, and I am taken aback to discover from our reflection that in leg-yielding Harry crosses his forelegs like a good ‘un, whilst his hindlegs meander along like he’s walking down the field. So much for strengthening the inside hind! After some some adjustments, “git overs” and vigorous leg aids, we are more or less moving sideways. Phew!

Then thank goodness it’s jumping, and Harry tackles the small grid with characteristic enthusiasm – “whee, let’s go, I know what I’m doing!” Poles crash again, the ignominy, but as Fiona puts up more demanding grids, Harry starts to jump beautifully – what a fantastic feeling! I say Harry’s paying attention because the jumps are bigger – Jane says it’s because he’s admiring himself in the mirror!

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