In keeping with the current cereal theme...
After assuring me that I should be able to make it work on time should I choose to go with her, Honorary Big Sister Jen convinced me on Friday evening to go to the hunter pace at Kingston Downs with her on Saturday morning. I've done spur-of-the-moment things plenty of times before, but never a horse-related thing (horse-related things always require so much planning!), so I was pretty excited about the venture.
Since Honorary Big Sister Jen had mentioned that some of the jumps were coops up to 3', I decided to take Star, and Team Hawaiian Nights was born (because tikis are Hawaiian and stars come out at night). With the exception of suddenly thinking that she forgot how to jump for the first two jumps and, therefore, the appropriate thing to do was to spook, Star was really good. After a the first couple jumps she settled in, and the rest was cake. ("Oh, that back there? I was just kidding"). It was kinda cute - Star's pokey walk (even with a 6" overstep) couldn't keep up with Tiki's power-walk, so every once in a while, she would have to jog-trot to catch up. When we were trotting, though, Tiki had to canter to keep up with Star. Of course, knowing that Tiki was cantering made Star want to canter... the two stayed relatively even at that point - until Honorary Big Sister Jen decided she wanted to show off Tiki's "XC gallop!" Star's fast... but out of shape as she is, Tiki's faster. The whole thing was a lot of fun - I would definitely like to do it again.
On Sunday, I rode both Kellie and Sparky. Kellie is continuing to improve in her developing "togetherness" through improved bending. I really think that our lesson with Gigi gave us sort of our break-through "aha!" moment. When we went to pick up the trot, Kellie actually stretched down further for the transition - wow! That was a first! After some flatwork, I decided to let Kellie jump a little. I removed the rail from the coop, so the jump was now 2'. We just did it a few times, but Kellie did really well with that, too. Not a stutter, and while she was carrying her head higher as we were jumping than on the flat, it was still at the acceptable "jumping level," ie, not above the bit and evading, and she continued to bend. Definitely worthy of another "wow!"
In my ride with Sparky, we worked for a LONG time on the flat, trying to bend and supple. Since the grass has come up, he has gained weight, and with that weight gain, apparently also gained an inability to bend. (Seriously - he's getting HUGE). I finally caved and bought a Sprenger Duo bit for him, so we were working in that. He spent a good amount more time than usual above the bit, but I'm okay with that, because at least it gives me a better indication of where we are. I would rather have that than false flexion and behind the bit. We then moved onto jumping. I pushed him a bit out of his comfort zone; he didn't get to jump anything less than 2'6". Coop, vertical, and square oxer - all at 2'6". Considering that I was pushing him a bit, he also did really well. Certainly not perfect, but I think he is starting to figure out that he is capable of more than he realizes. I do really like the Duo for him, too. He never got behind the bit, but I also never felt like I didn't have enough. Very cool.
So overall a wonderful weekend - three great rides on three great horses!