We arrived early in the morning the wind was blowing, but we figured once we got down the hill that we would be protected a bit. Getting to "down the hill" was a little challenging, as Raven wanted to fool around and play. I had lunged her first, just in case she needed to romp around, but she saved her shenanigans for when I was mounted and we were in the wide open.
Sara did get this funny video, where you can see Raven is enjoying her jumping. When I give Raven a pat and tell her she did it well, she starts to celebrate and hop around because she's so pleased with herself!
Miss Pea was much more civilized. She and Jasi rode some excellent mini-courses, and did really well both over the fences and galloping in between them. Miss Pea is really starting to settle on course and listen to Jasi's breath when she asks her to focus and rebalance herself.
In this video you can see how Miss Pea is quietly listening to Jasi, who is being careful and detailed in her time between fences, making sure she gets the correct lead and that Miss Pea still has a good cantering rhythm. It's really important to teach a horse things like this slowly when you're schooling. As I often say, with horses fast is slow and slow is fast. We school slowly and carefully, so that when we actually get to a competition and we're trying to stay within a certain time we can make corrections accurately for having learned them slowly, which in turn makes our times faster and our rides safer.
Raven did finally get her brain in gear. She is proving to be another one of my bay Thoroughbreds who needs the job to be complicated in order to focus and perform well. After warming up over some elementary fences on straight lines, I asked her to really kick it up a notch and do some tighter turns, bigger fences, and more complicated lines with hills in them. Here's a video of her working through the jumps around the empty water complex.
This video shows Raven's longer gallops and how she nicely collected to do a turn into the opposite direction.
Raven and Miss Pea got to work up and down the banks, which they had never done before. This is where I really appreciate all the time I spend trail riding with my horses before they ever see a cross country course. Because Raven has done so much out on the trails, camping and leading the group in unfamiliar places and seeing all kinds of things, checking out something new like a step up or down, and changing footing from grass to gravel isn't a big deal for her. She also isn't too look-y at new fences, because she's learned how to handle new things from seeing so many strange things on trails.
It was a great morning! The horses had a good time, the humans enjoyed themselves, and we feel much better prepared for next weekend at the schooling show!