At our Pony Club schooling show this past weekend, I did a few classes with McKinna - a 2'9 jumper class to warm up, then a 3' jumper and a 3'3 schooling round (since no one was around to do the class with me).
Can I just say that McKinna rocks?
It wasn't 100% perfect, but I will say this: McKinna was responsive and jumping well. AND, 3'3 looked small and easy and doable. This is a big deal for me! We JUST moved up to regularly jumping 3'3, and already it seems easy (height-wise). If you watch the videos, you'll see that McKinna actually got better distances in the 3'3 class than the 3' class (except for that nasty half-stride on the very last fence...oh well).
It's really exciting that the height I am looking to compete at this summer is already well within our range. Sure, we need to polish, and come summertime I want to be schooling at least 3'6 on a regular basis because I like to school a level above what I show, but still. To have this level this early in the season is really cool and makes me feel good about ratings and competitions this summer.
3' Jumper Class
I love how she makes those itty bitty turns and angled fences for me in the jumpoff. I felt bad about the trip after she landed from the purple fence, but another horse tripped there in a jumpoff too, so I think the ground was just a little compacted there.
PS, I got first place in that class. And I actually had like four other riders for competition! Very exciting.
3'3 Schooling Round
Stupid last fence. It was better the second time.
I am very pleased with my pony. She's getting more and more confident - usually at shows she is a little more tense (you can see her canter isn't super relaxed and flowing), but at least she's not hesitating off the ground as much and she is getting better about softening up laterally so we can make reasonable turns.
Next schooling show is just in a couple weeks, so it should be a great chance to get a comparison ride.
The next order of business will be to just start a nice, steady conditioning program (as long as it's not pouring outside, anyway). The more strength she has, the more she will be able to generate the big rolling stride and the power that she needs to be able to launch over those bigger fences even more confidently - it will also help her get us out of weird spots more easily. I read an interesting post on Jim Wofford's (aka Eventing God, for those of you who aren't familiar with him) blog about conditioning for eventing. You can read it here, but basically he says Novice and Training horses should be able to do three reps of 4-minute slow canters by the time they start their competition season.
Long walks and slow canter sets, here we come!
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