Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Poplar Place HT

 River and Lauren's Brandy traveled to Poplar together. River tried to win Brandy's affections to no avail.
There were SOOO many cute puppies!  Lauren is holding two of my favorites, JRT pups! They chased Pippa around the SJ arena :)
This is Tex sniffing the cutest Chihuahua I've ever seen named Pocket.

River was quite proud of himself after dressage.  No bucking this time!  Amy and I agreed something was still a bit off because his haunches were swinging left and he wasn't very willing to compress the canter.  I had Dr. Wooten back out yesterday to adjust him and he confirmed that his back was out of alignment again. 

Poplar is another amazing facility with matted stalls and great footing.  We enjoyed grazing the horses on the hillside and watching the arenas.

Sometimes I let Pip take River for a walk :)

Pippa had fun going on all the XC course walks.  Her and Opal's favorite bit is romping in the water!  I knew that XC would be a bit challenging for River because it was a championship course and Poplar XC is VERY visual.  They have a lot of terrain, paths through the woods (light/dark) and fun little carved details in and around the jumps.  River was skittery and over-jumped just about everything!  He is especially sticky coming into water so I hit him with the whip coming down a steep hill to our water entrance.  He WALKED into the water. I kicked him into a trot and then he jumped up into a canter on his own.  He locked onto the backside of the novice oar jump and I had to redirect him further around the corner to our little canoe.  Poor River was so overwhelmed and fell behind my leg through the turn while trying to figure out what he was supposed to jump next.  I failed to refocus him early enough and he stopped at the canoe.  I kicked him forward to see if he would jump it from a standstill.  Although he lifted a leg in a small effort, he was too scared to follow through.  The canoe was low but wide and it made me a little nervous to really press the matter.  I didn't want to make him fall over it, so we circled and came at it again.  I was bummed that we had such a silly, green stop but was very happy with the rest of his course! 

Poplar has an awesome competitors party with yummy food free booze and musician Tall Paul.  We ate dinner and had a sneak peak at our show jumping course.

Show jumping was also VERY visual in traditional Poplar style. River had a bit of a spaz out when he entered the arena and saw the Asian fan jump!  I really tried to wait and let him figure out his footwork.  He is still acts like a 4 year old so much of the time that I tend to want to help him out too much.  I need to slide into the backseat and let him take more responsibility for his distances and balance.  I my effort to stay off his back and wait for him to jump when he was ready made for a smoother and more rhythmical round.  He buggered at a few of the more overwhelming fences but always made the right decision to jump over his fears! 

River continues to grow up and discover his inner event horse at each HT!  We would have been 3rd without the stop, but who's counting?  It's nice when you've evented enough to put more value in HOW your horse performed than in what place you ended up in.  We jumped about 26 jumps and he had an oopsie at 1?  No biggie.  Onward and upward and...when in doubt RIDE HARDER.

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