Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Inavale Eventing Camp Day 1

The format of the camp is two 1 ½ hour lessons (one stadium jumping, one XC) on Friday and Saturday, a 1 hour lesson on Sunday morning (your choice, stadium or XC) and a flat lesson if you want one on Sunday afternoon. All the lessons are semi-private with no more than four riders per group. You can either camp onsite or stay in a motel nearby and the horses stay in pole corrals. They provided straw for bedding and McKinna thought she’d died and gone to heaven because we were bedding her corral with food!! She ate the straw at first, but soon figured out the hay was much better. We were mixing her beet pulp to soak next to her corral. She likes her beet pulp.

More beet pulp please!!

You also provide your own horse and people food. It’s a great deal though at $180 for 5-6 lessons. I went last year with Misadventures because she didn’t know anyone and I figured it might be fun to tag along. It was so much fun that I decided to do it again even though she had a huge group of friends to go with. I’ll probably go again next year too. I really enjoy it!

We arrived at Inavale Thursday late afternoon, with camp scheduled to start on Friday. We met some friends there, got McKinna settled in and our tent set up. Setting up the tent is always an adventure. We’ve done this several times in the last couple of months though, so it went up pretty easily. It’s designed with a mesh section on the roof so you can see the stars and it comes with a rain fly that you can put over the tent if you need it. The rain fly requires more assembly, poles and stakes so I let Misadventures talk me into not using it since there was no rain forecast. I’m sure you can tell where this is going.

Early in the evening everyone decided to go for a little “trail ride” out on the course. There was an extra horse because the husband of one of our friends was coming to ride in the camp, but was arriving late that night. They offered to let me borrow the horse and I got to go too. We had a nice relaxing ride, cruising around at a walk checking out all the prelim and intermediate jumps on the course. Since I don’t event, it was great fun for me to see the course from horseback.

After the trail ride we cooked some hamburgers, visited and then turned in early. We were a bit tired. Packing for a long weekend of horse camping and bathing a grey (read white!) horse before heading out tends to have that affect on you.

We were planning to sleep in until about 7:00, but we woke up at 5:40 am to, you guessed it, a light rain coming into our tent through the mesh ceiling. So we hopped up, attached the rain fly, and went ahead and checked on and fed McKinna. We decided to go back to bed to try to sleep a bit more. Of course, by that time it was after 6:00 and those riders with an 8:00 ride time were up and not so quietly getting ready.

Misadventures was scheduled for stadium at 9:30 and XC at 3:00. You pretty much couldn’t ask for better ride times. Not too early for stadium, then lunch and maybe a little nap before XC. So we got up and Misadventures got herself and McKinna ready while I tried to boil water on our little bbq for coffee. One of our friends had a nicer bbq with an actual burner so she offered me a cup. Yea! Then they were off to their lesson.

The instructor, who was awesome, spent a few minutes getting to know each of them, asking them what their goals for the weekend were. Misadventures let her know McKinna was her backup horse and had been in work a total of one week and that she really wanted to make sure her own position was solid because of her pony club rating was coming up. She told Misadventures to take a break whenever she needed to. After a general warmup they did some trot poles and grid work.

Then they put a couple of small courses together. The fences were set pretty much at Beginner Novice level the first day (2’6” and under). McKinna was a rock star. I think Misadventures stopped for a walk break once during a round of grids, but other than that McKinna was peppy and willing. She didn’t even come close to refusing a fence and I don’t think she knocked down one rail all weekend. Her biggest problem was that she would tend to get strung out and rushy at the canter, but all in all she did great. Misadventures came out of the lesson with a big smile on her face.

After the lunch and nap I mentioned earlier, it was time for XC. We wondered what poor McKinna would think when being tacked up for the second time IN ONE DAY, and after JUMPING no less. She was cheerful, go figure.

The instructor for XC is someone Misadventures has cliniced with before and she is absolutely wonderful. So she knows Pandora and was bummed for Misadventures that she couldn’t come, but she also remembered McKinna from last year‘s camp. They warmed up and proceeded to tackle a few beginner novice XC fences. All I can say is WOW. McKinna was great and Misadventures was riding so well! Her position was rock solid and their only refusal was caused by this little guy jumping out of the brush.

They jumped a log and a table and put a little course together.

Then they wandered over to try a ditch. You can’t quite see the chestnut behind McKinna. He’s about to say ‘NO FREAKING WAY AM I GETTING NEAR THAT HORSE EATING DITCH”
And he continued to say that for about fifteen minutes. As you can see, McKinna said, “Ditch? What ditch?” The instructor even tried to use her to calm the upset guy, having Misadventures walk her back and forth over it and then just stand on the other side. They jumped the ditch at a slightly wider spot with a log in it and then moved on to doing another little course with slightly bigger jumps.

To finish the lesson the instructor had them jump up and then down a pretty good sized (I’d say three foot) bank. Here’s McKinna launching herself off of it.

The instructor kept saying “She’s doing great. She looks like she’s having fun!”
She wasn’t the only one having fun. The picture may be too small to see the smile, but it was huge.

Tomorrow – Day 2. Will McKinna decide enough is enough? Or will we need to rename her The Energizer Bunny? Plus the pictures on day 2 were taken by Misadventures’s boyfriend, who is a much better photographer than I am, and has a really nice camera. Stay Tuned.


Albigears said...

Awesome! I always love hearing stories with Inavale in them.

Leah Fry said...

I don't compete or even go to clinics, but my favorite thing is when my horse is having fun.

MyLittlePony said...

Albigears - There is another camp Sept 12-13. You should come down!

Leah- I'm with you, although I do a schooling show here and there, I mostly just ride. When the horse is relaxed and having a good time I feel like I'm doing it right. McKinna was having so much fun, we realized Misadventures needs to continue to do this sort of thing with her on occasion.

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