September 06, 2009

Waikanae XC Practise: Kit

Today was my first away-from-home ride on Kit since he's been here (though I have taken him XC several months ago). I wanted to get him out amongst all the other horses and just socialise him a bit, and then decide if we were going to jump.
He warmed up really well - a few spooks but nothing major. So I decided to start him off with some showjumps just to get myself accustomed to his style. He did the SJ course fine, got in deep to a few, but by the end of the course we had each other pretty well sorted.
Then I figured it would be silly to not have a go at the XC. He'd had some troubles before on this course, so I specifically wanted to re-create that situation for him so that I could work out how to fix it and what was going wrong. We lined up (see pic below - Kit is in there!) and headed on our way. He jumped fence 1 great, and didn't play up before fence 2.. then popped over the stream crossing fine. Then a loose horse came flying past us which he thought gave him an excuse to have a little panic. I got him settled (then of course pony flew past us again a few times just to keep me on my toes!). Eventually the pony hooned back to it's truck and so I continued on my way. A few little sideways steps from Kit after the fences, but nothing major at all. Even popped over the trakhener really nicely first pop:
Down to the corner - which he jumped great. Then as I was waiting to do it again, another horse (this time with rider) cantered past and Kit got himself all worked up. I got him to focus on me again and then he was fine. It seems once you make him forget about whatever distracted/scared him, he's absolutely perfect again. Hopped over the palisade nicely too.
The little bank, and trotting through the water (apologies for my absolutely awful position - pinched knees and tipped forward! I deserved to land in that water! glad I didn't!). Kit didn't have any issue at all with the water.
So I came and did the training level combination which he did really kindly as well.
Starting to work out what his triggers are (at least in this type of situation) that make him upset. So have some good things to work on. He was really lovely to handle throughout the day - even letting Swifty (who isn't particularly horsey) take off his rear jumping boots and little things like that.
Got home in the daylight! Very awesome. Then had pizza for dinner - even more awesome! Only had 3 to jump today, but still worked up a hunger.