Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chatt Hills HT

Opal and Pippa slept in the back seat while Lauren almost had a heart attack driving down Mt. Eagle.  Thankfully, we survived and got to Chatt Hills in one piece.  We were all very proud of Lauren's new truck (Truck Charming, TC) and trailer (and Lauren) for making the long haul for the first time.

Chattahoochee Hills was like a resort for horses.  Electric green grass, horseshoe shaped stabling, beautiful big stalls with doors they could look over, arenas with awesome footing that you can watch from hilltops....amazing.

I've never seen River so relaxed!  He was in a comfy, quiet, corner stall WITHOUT any of his girlfriends :)

Lauren and I had never been to Chatt so Stace showed us around in her new truck, Stormy.  Pip loves being "one of the girls."

Here's the gang! Me (and Pippa and Opal) Lauren, Amy (and Supah Tex), Lynda, Stace and Carol (and Crescent).

I had a little tune up lesson on Thursday since we arrived early on Wednesday.  River felt the best he's ever felt.  The chiropractic work completely unlocked his back and the hock injections made him much more comfortable and athletic.  We worked on getting him to stretch into the contact and then picking him back up to a more level balance.

We had an awesome dressage warm up (by ourselves sniff, sniff) but when we were on deck and told to go down to the lower arena to finish our warm up, everything fell apart.  He snorted down the path and RAN around like an ostrich.  I had just a few moments to recreate what we had in the warm up arena before the bell rang.  Needless to say, he was tense going into the arena for our test.  This was obvious when he BUCKED and landed on the wrong lead during our first canter depart.  Lovely.  Our trot work leading up to that moment was good, 7's, but the canter work is more difficult for him and was tense.  Bygones.  On to XC!

In XC warm up, Amy had me stay off his back AT ALL TIMES.  This helped immensely.  He stayed round over the fences and remained much more comfortable, and therefore, rideable.  He was very good around the course and while he still buggered at some fences he stayed level headed and forward.  He jumped off the sizable bank without batting an eye! The only dicey moment was as we came to the water for the second time.  He was a bit overwhelmed and I had to KICK him over a little log a few strides out from the water. Double clear!

Stadium went well but River is still quite green and always has a look at everything when we enter the arena.  The challenge has been keeping him in front of my leg, and he is much improved.  I find that when I ride him, it is easy to compromise my position in my efforts to help him stay balanced and forward.  I need to work on keeping my position solid.  Although, over time, he has been taking on more of the work load. Now it feels more 50/50 than 20/80!  Double clear!
I love the fact that every show I see measurable improvements with this horse!

Here are the professional pictures from the show:

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