So when I tell you we jumped a fucking boat you'll just have to take my word for it until the pictures arrive.
P.S. OH DANG WE JUMPED A BOAT.
|beautiful day for a pace!|
This was Opie's first hunter pace, and he handled everything like a seasoned pro. He hung out at the trailer with his saddle on casually snacking from his hay net and watching the activity around him while we waited for the rest of our group to get ready. He didn't get upset when he had to wait for horses to go by him on the trail, and he was fine being stuck anywhere within the group at any pace.
|remember when he would go full meltdown when he got saddled|
and didn't immediately get to go do the thing? those were good times.
We left the start line in the lead just because Opie, with his giant stride, is by default always the fastest. He was a little apprehensive about the new wide open spaces though, and after he "spooked" (stepped sideways) at the first two jumps, I asked the other adult if she would take over the lead. Once Opie had a buddy in front to be brave first, he settled right in and I was able to start taking him over the jumps instead of running away from them.
After navigating a couple of muddy and/or steep sections, we opened up to the looong uphill pull and we let the ponies loose. Opie took back over the lead and cantered all the way up on a loopy rein. After that, he was good to for the rest of the ride. We had a mandatory long walk for a rocky road, and he marched way out in front of everyone else taking in the sights. He didn't care when the rest of the group repeatedly trotted up behind us to catch up, or when I made him stop and wait for them.
|we had a great group of barn kiddos who were a lot of fun to ride with--and|
who were riding actual ponies so opie looked like a giant for once!
When we came to the boat, no one in our group was going to jump it. It's literally on overturned boat with a stick across the top of it. The photographer was there trying to egg us all on to go over it--"If you fall off, at least you'll get a good picture of it!"--but after she told us it was only four feet wide, the only other girl considering it noped right out. But I figured what the fuck. Opie was being bold and brave to everything because Event Horse (apparently), so I trotted him back around, picked up the canter, and he locked right on and popped over without a second thought. Everyone fawned over him and told him he was amazing--because he is--and off we went again.
|these views are gorgeous on a clear day|
We passed through some pool noodles hanging as a car wash, scaled mountains, did a ton more cantering, a ton more jumps, and finally popped out of the woods to where the bank is. No one in my group again wanted to do it, but fortunately we'd been passing back and forth with a pair of riders who blasted right up it. I asked one of them if they'd give us a lead, and she obligingly circled back around and got us up it. And then she was like, "I love this grey horse, he's amazing." And I was like, "Welcome to the state-wide Opie Fan Club. I'm thinking about charging membership fees at this point."
|even the trees are gorgeous|
The only hang up Opie had was crossing over the empty creek. He's a little shit about our own empty creek crossing at the barn, and you may remember we straight up got stuck at the horse trial last month because of a similar crossing. Fortunately we had Sid to take over the lead. Sid calmly walked right through the multiple crossings while Opie launched himself over every. single. one. I just gave him the length of my reins and leaned way back, but in the future it would be nice to just stroll through them. Because they are all of six inches deep and maybe two feet wide.
|thanks for being a good back up leader, sid. |
sorry we landed on top of you that one time.
Despite most of the ride being spent in either the trot or canter, Opie walked into the parking lot and picked up the trot again all on his own with his ears pricked when he saw other horses heading out. He barely took a deep breath the entire ride and finished the eight miles of terrain looking and feeling as perky as he started. We came in at ninety one minutes and the optimum time ended up being ninety. This pace does ribbons using the Danish system so we were guaranteed blue ribbons being that close.
|we'll take our blue ribbons any way we can get them|
I'm so proud of how this kid handled another brand new experience. He's matured so much this season, and all the work and exposure I've forced on him has definitely paid off. He was relaxed and confident, and just a fun horse to have there.
Hopefully I can share some boat jumping pictures soon. In the meantime, Hubby and I are going on a short field trip this evening to get up to some serious shenanigans. I'm so excited to share this