Wow, what a day. Let's see. After mine and Tiki's torturous trot Sunday, I decided to longe him Monday since I had NO idea when farrier would make it out again. He doesn't tend to make any promises when it comes to tacking shoes back on. Soooo, looked high and low for the borrowed boot from Sunday, but could NOT find it. That reinforced the idea that longeing was a good idea so I wouldn't tear his foot up. I used a whole roll of vetwrap on his foot and realized something weird: the nails were still in the foot. The shoe was ripped off, but the nails were still there. Huh. Led him up to the ring and warmed him up before slowly tightening the side reins. Dang, my boy is L.A.Z.Y. on the longe. I wear myself out trying to keep him going and tracking up! Anyway, 20 mins later I was fairly satisfied he'd worked hard. Hosed, gave him lunch, commenced to cleaning stalls and guess who shows up! Yup, our wonderful, fabulous farrier. Told me that probably my riding him so much on that DRY m10 had worn down the nail heads a bit, and when he and his pasture buddies were wrestling each other in the pond, one of the buddies probably stepped on his shoe and yanked it off. He tacked it back on and I was happy.
So, today. Nicole and I planned to ride together and do gymnastics. I arrived and procrastinated a little waiting on her, but she wasn't at the barn yet, so I decided to go ahead and just set what I thought. Set up a trot in bounce with the cavellettis, a one stride to a tall crossrail, another one stride to a taller crossrail, then a final one stride to The Jump, which was at 2'6. My goal for the day was to get through the gymnastics, first and foremost ... he's been known to stop and attempt to run out when I set gymnastics with cavs. He's never done regulation gymnastics with the jumps set up and poles everywhere. Once again, I was nervous, lol! Decided to set a pole between the last 2 jumps to encourage him to back off and round his neck and back since he can get fast and flat through the cav gyms. Nicole's mare is quite well versed in the gymnastic exercise; she is full Morgan and has a super athletic jump. I set the jumps all at regulation full stride length, then second-guessed myself. They just LOOKED super long to me, but then, I'm SO used to setting all the stride lengths short because school horses do NOT have a horseshow stride. I HAVE to remember that Tiki and Star are NOT school horses, and they CAN make the step easily. But still ... those distances looked SO long ... so I moved everything in about a foot and a half.
My second goal was to up our height again and jump 3'3. I wanted to save him from my unreliable eye, and jump him over The Jump with the distance there and set ... all I would have to do is release and stay out of his way. I was very gracious and let Nicole go first, ha ha. Seriously, I wanted to make sure the distances were good. It was perfect through the final distance, and that one was a teeny bit long and she chipped in an extra step. I had Nicole go again and close her leg more, and it was good. Just a HAIR long for Star, but would probably work for Tiki. I took a deep, shaky breath and began. Warmed up over a single, then trotted into the cav bounce ... and a stop. DAMN! I knew it was going to happen; at least I was ready for it. I let him stand there and eye the line, which IS a little intimidating. When I build gyms for my kids, I always do it an element at a time. Didn't really to have that option this time since the both of us were on our horses and it was 90+ degrees outside in the blazing sun. So, I put my heels down, shortenend my reins, and came again with my voice ready to encourage. I have the "Goldstein Growl" (for those of you that have seen Margie Goldstein-Engle compete in Grand Prix competition), and used that growl coming into the bounce. Got through that, and he bravely felt his way through the grid, carefully lifting his legs over the poles correctly. Big praise, and I could almost feel his cockeyness as he cantered away from the exercise ... my little punk was proud of himself, I could totally tell:) Nicole went through again and was perfect, so we went through again ... perfect. We took turns raising The Jump at the end, and got through 3', which he whacked pretty good. Didn't knock it down, but was just a little careless with his feet. Raised it to 3'3, and also raised the 2 crossrails to set him up for the higher jump at the end. Perfect. Put it up to 3'6 for Nicole ... and decided to go for it. He didn't touch the 3'3 ... I didn't feel like he put in a huge effort, he didn't jump me out of the tack, it just felt ... good. Watched her go through first and Star did knock the pole, so I fixed it and she went again. Picture perfect and Nicole proclaimed she was done. We went for the last time and he was tired ... very tired. He faced the grid one final time and began jumping through; the 3'6 was perfect. I felt SO good! I didn't get left behind, or lose form, or not release ... I felt like I was just as good as my punk! I mean, punkin;) I jumped off while he was still walking and loosened the girth, and realized Nicole was dismantling the gymnastic and bumping up The Jump to 3'9. She removed the middle X, removed the poles, and remounted. Tried to canter in and jump it by cutting into the former gymnastic, and it didn't quite work out as planned. Star jumped through the jump instead of over it. I reset it for her and Nicole came through the bounce to the crossrail, then straight ahead to The Jump. That crazy mare hopped right over it ... very astonishing. She is ATHLETIC like CRAZY. I was happy for her ... maybe the Tiki man will do 3'9 some day, but for now I'll be happy with jumping around a full 3' course with a couple of bigger ones thrown in there for fun.:) GREAT DAY, the only thing that would have made it better would be video, or even just pics. We've already decided next time we do this, we will be video taping our rides next time. THANK YOU, NICOLE!!:)