Yesterday I took Zelda to her first XC clinic and she blew me away. What a good girl she was!
She got off the trailer and acted like she didn’t have a worry in the world. She wasn’t nervous or concerned. She thought about bucking a bit in the warm up, but wisely decided not to.
She was great in her group of seven horses. She kept her distance, didn’t mind horses passing her or coming up behind her, and never pinned her ears or acted alpha.
She jumped everything I asked her to jump — up and down the bank, small logs, a roll top, and even a small ditch. Sure, everything was two feet or less, but her attitude was so accommodating and straightforward, she probably would have done more, but why? It’s great to have such a successful first outing. She never thought of stopping, never tried to run out, and didn’t rush at any jumps. She left the group willingly and stood on a loose rein when it wasn’t our turn. Her overall demeanor made me think that she’d like to be a hunt horse as she’s a bit more “opinionated” in a ring. The solid jumps and the open space agreed with her.
It had been many, many years since I’d ridden with Stephie Baer, who was our clinician. I’d always thought of her as a great teacher but on Sunday, she knocked my socks off. She sized up each rider and horse combination in a few minutes and made sure that every single one had a meaningful and positive ride. Everyone left with a big smile on their faces and lots of good ideas to take home and practice. I know that I wrote you should audit before you ride, but I’d say that in Stephie’s case, if she’s in your area you should sign up.
As for Zelda? Next outing will be a hunter pace in early September and then, potentially she’ll start hilltopping.