Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nikki's first try...

Let's just get right down to it -- up until Saturday, I really think Nikki was under the assumption she was the only horse in the world brave enough to jump anything.  She's kind of a diva like that. :)

But I guess I need to start at the beginning...

Nikki, Nancy and I all pulled out right on time Saturday morning for the trek to Mocksville (TTC).  Nikki loaded like a champ by herself, and let everyone in downtown Zebulon know that she was headed to a big-girl horse show by herself. Once we got there, she stood on the trailer while we got checked in, and was a very good girl in general.  She warmed up great for dressage, and made the long walk down the road to the arena, where we stood for a couple of rides.  Once we started around the ring, she got a bit tight looking at the new surroundings, but I was pleased with her test - other then trying to stop and poop going down centerline (which earned an error on my part, because I clucked at her "use of voice"), a minor break from the canter for a stride, and a moment where she tried to scratch her face in the free walk. :)  All moments that I can definitely laugh about now, but at the time I was quite made at myself for not riding her better!

Nancy and I then went to walk the XC course - which seemed huge! :)  There wasn't anything I felt Nik wouldn't be up to, but it definitely was going to be a challenge.  We headed back and tacked the pony up (but not before getting her some new pink Woof boots, so she could look like the diva she is!).  Once we walked out to warm-up, Nikki began to stare in amazement at all the horses jumping.  I literally could feel her exclaim "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I'M NOT THE ONLY JUMPING HORSE!?!?!?!?".

When we attempted the very small cross-rail, Nikki's back turned into a 2 in long coiled spring that would unwind.  Here's our first attempt! (the person saying "kick, kick" wasn't talking to us, although, maybe she should have been!) (One day, when she's a super successful eventer, I'm hoping we can look back and laugh at her very first jump at her very first event).

After that, things got better, but Nik sure wasn't her normal, confident self.  At this point, I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be riding the course for placings, so I asked Nancy what we'd scored in dressage.  She smiled and informed me we were sitting in 3rd on a 34!  (that included my error for 'use of voice')

After a LONG hold in warm-up due to a fall on course, we made our way to the startbox.  Nikki cantered out on to the course, and then needed to peak at most of the fences one time before jumping.  Luckily, since it was a schooling show, we got to continue on, and by the end of the course she'd figured out her job, finishing strong and looking for some more jumps!

The Show Jump course was not an easy one for the BN, complete with colored poles, flowers, a two-stride (second jump oxer) and lots of bending lines. I told Nancy that the plan was to go in, and if Nikki started taking peaks again, I'd get a good confident jump and then call it a day.  Nik was way more confident in warm-up this time around, and went in the ring and rocked it!  She did have a peak at the first jump, and then again at the first oxer, but over all, she went around smoothly and confidently. We were SO proud of her!!!!

The plan is to take Nikki for a lesson with MJS and a couple of XC schools to see where she is, and MAYBE a trip to Longleaf HT at the end of April (to play with the big horses!).

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