That is all I can say. I had this ... vision, of how I thought things would go. I would point and shoot, and he would take me to the jump and LOVE it. That was how I pictured things going. Of course, lurking deep in the subconscious is that fear that he would be spooky, suck back all the way to the jump, stop, and leap. It's a legitimate fear; he's done it before. And I've fallen off before because of the stop and leap, off Audrey. It's not a pleasant feeling. Having fallen off the princess recently, that persistant little devil nagged at me, giving me a little nervous twitch at the thought of ending up parting ways with the Tiki boy.
First of all, he loaded like a CHAMP. Becca's trailer is a step up straigh load, and we didn't even open both doors, and he just walked right up on it, no problem! So that boded well for our outing.:) Found the farm no problem, unloaded the boys, and hopped on. He did do the 'cold backed' thing, and backed up rapidly as I climbed into the saddle. I guess I need to make sure to let him move around and walk some before mounting. The farm is broken up into 3 huge, rolling pastures. The right side seemed the most inviting; smaller natural logs, my cavaletti stack jump, etc. Going from that field to the middle field, were 2 ditches; one REALLY small, the other about 2 feet wide. In the middle field were 2 bank complexes (one small, the other a little bigger), a few taller suspended log jumps, a scary tabletop looking jump, a train made of barrels, and some other bigger jumps I wouldn't think of jumping:) The left side contained a water complex, some adorable log cabin jumps, and some pretty big coop jumps. So, we started on the right, and made our way to the water.
Warmed up over the smallest log we could find. Perfect:) He took me to it just as I thought he would. Did it again other way, and perfect again. Becca went, and her horse Captain gave it quite a generous clearing;) Decided to string a few together. Jumped the log, turned right and jumped a pair of bigger suspended logs in 3 strides, then continued right to the cav stack. Perfect:) THEN the ditch, lol. That was amusing. It was defined by landscaping timbers, and he WAS looky. It took a little bit to get him close to it, then I walked up to it, and he didn't jump. Secretly, I was glad because I didn't want the BIG jump over. Turned back to it, came with a little bigger walk, encouraged with my spur, and he went over this time. YAY! Lots of praise and pats. Captain took a few tries as well, and he again overachieved, good boy! Came back over a few times at the trot, and he did it with a peek, but he did it. Sooo ... moved on to the center.
Jumped a few more suspended logs, and a bit of a scary, spooky log. He was a good boy. Now, the bank. Being Hunter Princesses, neither one of us had a CLUE of what to expect. So, we walked up to it to look, and Tiki just walked right on up! Ok, so THAT'S how you do it, lol. Pats and praise, and Captain figured it out as well. Decided to trot up to it, he hopped up no problem. Cantered in, and not only did he jump up well, he threw in a few little "YEE HAWS" after! OK, now the down. Walked to it, put leg on, and he looked down but that was it. I looked at Becca and said, "Hmm. I'm kind of scared." Whatever. Walked a circle, came up to it again, and squeezed with the spur; he hopped right off, no problem. Came around to it one more time, and off he went, perfect:) Decided to do a slightly bigger suspended log with some lattice work, and a lot of brush. The brush wasn't on purpose, it hadn't been groomed recently. He jumped it, but did hesitate a LITTLE. No biggie, though. We moved on.
The train made out of barrels. I'd seen a pic of this jump on the website, and wanted to jump it. When we FIRST walked into the pasture, I let him see it. He snorted and blew at it. Walked up to it again, and he nosed it, looking bored. I looked at Becca. "Tell me I can do this. Tell me my horse can jump this." She did, so I circled around, picked up the left lead canter, and he jumped it! I was so happy. Came back on it, and he was good again:) Now the scary looking table top type jump. It wasn't super wide, but it was very solid looking. Let him see it; he perked his ears pretty heavily at it, but wasn't too scared. Cantered up to it, and he felt a little looky over it, but he went. Strung together the table and the train, and he was a superstar. Made our way over to the final section of pasture.
Jumped a pretty big looking coop that was made of open logs. Went up to the log cabin. He was a bit scared of that. REALLY spooking at it, didn't want to get too close, and was pretty distracted by the water that was right there. At that moment, the owners came in on their horses, and his attention was now divided by about half. Presented him to the cabin numerous times until he didn't spook at it, but chose not to attempt to jump it because I didn't want to ruin the good I'd done. Came up with a course to do from the right side all the way back to the left.
Began with the suspended log we'd warmed up over, to the log combination (which I think is actually a 2, but we still did 3), to the stack (which felt great), to the ditch (eeek! A scramble and leap) to the bigger one he'd sort of hesitated over. Sadly, coming into that one, he was cantering RIGHT at the owners, and backed off all the way to the jump, stopped, then thought about jumping from a standstill. I pulled him up, waited until they were out of eyesite, circled around to it, and it was yucky:( Grabbed mane, but it was a yuck jump. Continued to the train which was good, to the table the opposite way which was yuck. I hadn't presented the jump to him that direction, and he backed off pretty hard core then jumped way up and over. Turned to the spooky log and it was good, to the bank which was WEEE, to the coop which was yuck. Didn't want to end on a crappy jump, so circled back to the coop again and it was good. Finished by playing in the water. It did take a minute to get the boys in. Both of them were pretty suspicious and spooky. Alternating spur pressure pretty far behind the girth got him in. Once in, he was FINE. Pawing, pawing, pawing:) Captain finally came in as well, and pawed too. Went to leave out, and he didn't want to leave, lol! Came back in, then out. Again. Trotted in then out, then again (Cap followed this time), again, and we were done.
I was STOKED, HAPPY, PLEASED, etc. He was a perfect rock star, as good as I could have hoped. Becca and I had a GREAT time, and will definitely go back. My plans for a horse trial in a few months is still on:) He really gained some great confidence. He had a lovely little hand gallop, which is why the long course was only about 50% good. He took me a little past the distance, then got too deep to some of them. With experience and a more accurate rider ride, he'll get there. Had such a good time, I can't wait to go again!:)