Monday, September 24, 2018

TNEC Hunter Pace

It's the very best season of all: hunter pace season!

opie is all about the runnies and jumpies

We didn't even have to leave the barn for this one, and any chance at ribbons that involves zero driving is alright by me. I hadn't taken Opie over any jumps since the previous weekend's hunter pace, instead focusing on getting him hitched to the cart (success!), but once again he didn't need it. I teach him the dressage, he teaches himself to jump.

has never looked twice at this jump even though it sits in the shade

We start the pace off in the front field where Opie gets turned out. Historically speaking--as in, the past and only two times I've tried riding him out there--he's been Satan incarnate in this field because his friends are missing/have been sucked into the abyss leaving him in a horseless wasteland. He was certainly looking around, but we had another horse with us so it was mildly acceptable this time. Of course the second I asked him to pick up the canter he bucked and tried wildly unsuccessfully to take off with me because he's still a child at heart.

We popped over a couple small logs, did the baby coop, the tires, and then I asked my partner if she wanted to do the rolltop. It was my goal jump for the day because it got built right after Bobby went lame for the last time and I've always wanted to jump it. My partner was being a melodramatic teenage girl though (so pleasant, as you can imagine), so I left her to her own devices and did it myself.

A for effort

Good ole Dopie didn't even hesitate, but he certainly wasn't too sure what to do with his feet over such a substantial jump. I felt him twist his hind end in the air as we landed, but the rest of it felt far less awkward than the pictures look.

I made my partner follow me over the big log because she was being a chicken (and then made her do the rolltop as well, both of which she nailed). Opie got about three strides out and was like, "Bitch, are you serious?! This thing is enormous!" but I gave him a poke and at the last second he launched over it.

"imma do the thing, but only because you stabbed me."

We left the field and continued on the rest of the pace from there. Opie was super and jumped whatever I pointed him at. We had a good canter, and then came back to the walk to pass a slower group. Right as we did, another group went thundering by on the other side of the hedgerow and set off the field of horses we were passing at the neighboring barn. Opie was like, "Peace, I'm out." and tried to go back the way we came. The five of us let our horses stand and take in the situation for a moment while the other group left the area before I kicked Opie back into the lead. He was a little wound after that, fake spooking at fences before jumping them and looking for stampedes around every corner.


We finished up in the outdoor over a couple stadium jumps which he was super lazy over. I've done this pace enough times now that I have a pretty good mental clock on the time--which is probably cheating, but honestly delivering the pouting teenager in good form was my biggest concern--and we managed to clock in within seconds of the optimum time for first place at the end of the day.

jumped the teeny X, then barely plunked his ass over the final vertical

Opie got his bridle pulled and girth loosened for a hot minute while I ditched my long sleeved shirt and grabbed some water for ride two--escorting my favorite barn kiddo on her first pace.

telling my teenager to stop whining while favorite barn kid waits for her turn

Barn Kiddo's Haffie mount had been a sass monster earlier that morning almost bucking his rider off, so I clipped a lead rope to him and anchored him to Opie. Oh p.s. Opie, you are now a pony horse. Fortunately the Haffie was a complete saint for his tiny rider and I was able to detach them as soon as we left the front field. Opie plodded along like a superstar himself, none of the spooking or tension from the previous trip present. He picked his way down the big hill by himself while I sat twisted around in the saddle making sure Barn Kiddo did okay. He let the Haffie bounce off him and trot up into the back of him without fuss (after thinking about kicking our previous partner when she got too close going up the hill), and we escorted our charges across the finish within a couple minutes of optimum time to get them a blue ribbon as well.

gotta get a ribbon pic, even if it's the morning after while
getting his little patch of dew poisoning treated

Needless to say, Dopes got all the candies from me and multiple carrots from Barn Kiddo. He gets today off, and then back to learning about being a driving horse tomorrow! Unless it's raining really hard. And then back to being a dressage horse. Whomp whomp.

24 comments:

  1. what a good baby genius!! i'm moderately jealous with how quickly Opie is figuring out all his legs and body parts and whatnot, compared to a certain brontosaurus i know who will go unnamed haha......

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    1. A year of dressage does wonders for the body parts awareness. Only then, of course, you've done a year of dressage and possibly died of boredom in the meantime. :P

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  2. Good boy Opie! Too bad about the sulking teenager... I suspect that would be pretty annoying to deal with.

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    1. There are a few of them in the barn that are really hitting that teenager phase where they just can't even with anything but themselves. It makes me appreciate all the other kids so much more!

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  3. What a good child genius he is. I am jealous of how willing he is.

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  4. He's becoming quite the well-rounded citizen!

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  5. you are seriously giving me hope for my maybe slightly ambitious end of season event... we've been doing a lot more dressage and lunging than jumping but the jumping seems to be taking care of itself somehow???

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    1. I can't believe how easy he's finding the jumping now when I do next to nothing with him over fences. The dressage is REALLY paying off!

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  6. Saint Haflinger? I'm sorry, but I don't think that's possible. You must've had a palomino quarter horse instead.

    But way to go, Opie!

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    1. To be fair he's about a thousand years old, and he was a complete shit for his first rider. But he's a good pony and takes care of his children.

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  7. So much fun...well minus the sulky teenager but hormones are a bitch.

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    1. Yeah, I'm not a big kid person but a bubbly seven year old was way more fun to ride with than the pouty teenager.

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  8. yay fun times. He looks a natural out there:) Love that he never ever lets up on side eye shenanigans!

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  9. Sorry you got stuck with an angsty teen, but the little one sounds adorable!
    Opie is so perfect. I can't blame him for getting riled up by the galloping herd. Felt like old times to him probably.

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    1. He's always had a weird bugaboo about the horses at the barn behind us (we share a field that we trail ride around), so when they went off combined with the pace team jetting by his brain went a thousand different directions.

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  10. Opies has hoppies!! He really is such a cutie :)

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  11. I love seeing his jumping success from so much dressage time. He's the proof in the pudding that dressage benefits all disciplines. Such a good baby genius!

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    1. It's really amazed me just how much doing all the dressage has completely transformed his jumping because he's gotten next to no help from me so far in that department.

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  12. Wow he did great over that big roll top!!! I love how brave and willing he is, just fantastic!

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    1. I was so pleased with how few fucks he gave jumping some new jumps!

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