The little red rocket, Ryker, has been awesome... as usual! We've done a couple jump schools, some serious dressage work, and two XC schools (at different locations) since my last post. This week starts what looks like a super fun competition season with the little race horse. Sunday we will be making out debut at the Charlotte Pony Club's Champlain Valley Derbycross. It will be a good judge of how Ryker acts when he's trailered in to an event (hoping for no excitement, but we're going tacked). From there we will compete at the GMHA starter trials at Beginner Novice (on the 1st) the following weekend Hitching Post Farm's schooling trials (at Novice), and then we head to Stuart H.T. on the 10-11th (at Beginner Novice)! We're also entered at Millbrook H.T. in August, and we'll figure out what we need to focus on inbetween.
So, how did we get to this exciting competition packed schedule?
As you know, Ryker is just plain awesome... which is a vast understatement. Words cannot describe how blessed I feel to be working with this horse, and to be able to say that I "own" him [who really owns who anyways? ;)]. I'll let the pictures do the talking for his athletic prowess, but lets just say, scope will never be the issue. While any OTTB can be turned into a wonderful horse with a consistent program, good eyes on the ground, and patients. The true athletic ability, soundness, and an unflappable work ethic of the top OTTBs in the country is found few and far between. Either they have it like Courageous Comet, or they don't. I don't want to be as bold as to say Ryker is the next Comet or that he's even destined for Rolex, but he has the attitude and natural ability to really BE something.
Back to the original question -- so many events, so soon?!
Yup! He is ready, he is forward, responsive, and willing. He is figuring out the game -- I fear that when he fully figures it out I will in fact be riding a lit bottle rocket, but hey, that's why we love OTTBs right!?
In the ring we've been working on our dressage, really trying to encourage him to bring his back up and bend, as well as maintaining a constant rhythm and contact --- the usual (in addition to getting the movements in the BN + and N tests down pat). Jumping wise, more foot work and a little bit of course work.
Our first XC school was beyond anything I could have ever asked for. He jumped around like a pro, coops, drops, banks, ditches, logs, water (we had a brief moment of confusion because the water was MOVING - thank you tadpoles! But he then went right in and didn't bat an eyelash), etc., etc., etc. We were waiting for SOMETHING to give him trouble -- but no, just the tadpoles... (I beileve the question was asked "does he have a pulse?!")
Our second XC school went just as well, we had a slight hesitation at the first log - not a "I'm not jumping THAT!" hesitation but a "Wait, what?.. hold on, I though we were jumping stadium jumps... no? ok!" since we warmed up over stadium jumps. We pushed him a little, not in height really but in the footwork department. We went up the double bank (whoohoo!), but down was just too much with a down hill slope making the first drop THAT much bigger. We simply gave it a couple tries, tried a lead - and called that question a day, and went and jumped the slightly (not by a lot) smaller one a bunch of times (with no hesitation). From there we jumped around with the only "what the heck jump" being the big tires (see photos). We also attempted a small half coffin, since ditches are EASY we thought we'd give it a try. The jump on the other side was just a little too close for him to work out, so we glanced off it. Tried some wings, jumped the wings, and again call that question a day. We just stuck with the ditch and other jumps farther out, with no problems. The prognosis, MORE FOOTWORK!
All in all, he has been a rock star! -- he's also done gallop sets, with no crazy run away OTTB, he was super adjustable, and can go from 400mpm to walk in about 2-3 strides. As well as just hacking around, with and without a saddle (its been so HOT!), as well as some spooking at round bales (hah! the things OTTBs think are scary!).
More to come, make sure to "LIKE" our Facebook page -- Info and photos go up much faster there, than here -- But I will do my best to keep you updated by the week!
Enjoy the photos!