What Next? Where To?

Training Journal


Rodney’s Posse is ready for new adventures.
Jeremy Villar Photography
(border added)

Now that Rodney has been to a show, we are treating it a beginning rather than a bizarre one-off. The ability to go places and to show opens up many possibilities.

Local dressage is an easy first step. As many of these as we can find. Every chance to go in the ring is a chance to absorb the show environment. However, we run out of them fast. If we are willing to drive 2-3 hours, there are shows throughout the year at Popular Place and Chat Hills. If we are traveling that far, I want to be doing more than a single walk-trot test. At least be doing two classes, preferably ones that include cantering. We will also need to discover how he is at a showing without multiple schooling trips to acclimate to the grounds beforehand.

When I started with Previous Horse, in another time and place, we could go to a hunter show and do all of the under saddle classes from Tiny Trotters to Working Hunter. The rules around here preclude that, at least if I want to stay eligible for the lower height jumping classes.

Speaking of jumping. It’s still on the list. Always has been. If Rodney – or Milton, for that matter – could hop quietly over, say, 2’6″ to 3″, we could endlessly amuse ourselves at events and hunter/jumper shows.

Jumping with Rodney has a steamer trunk full of baggage. What if we try and it goes badly, again [Recap]? What if jumping is out for him? I’m not going handle that piece of information with dignity. So I want everything to be optimal for our next attempt over fences. Right now that means a new saddle.

The Wintec [Saddle] comes with interchangeable gullets to widen or narrow the saddle as needed. Rodney has switched from the gullet that fit at first to a wider one [Evil Twin]. Unfortunately, the gullet system assumes that a wide horse is a barrel-shaped horse, i.e. no wither to speak of. High-withered horses are assumed to be narrow. Usually, this is the case. My wide horse has a wither that rises out of his back like a shark fin. Saddle searching is underway.

He jumped once over Milton’s crossrail at Stepping Stone Farm at the end of last year [What’s Been Happening]. He got himself in a state. Was it an I-love-jumping, excited state or an I-hate-this, excited state? Data is too limited to determine.

Meanwhile, I’ve been found a possible instructor for Rodney, a local event trainer who I have know for ages, from way back when I was taking lessons with Previous Horse. With Milton, their name never bubbled to the top of the list. I’m not sure why. When I saw them during schooling trip to FCHP, I immediately thought, ‘That would be the perfect person for Rodney.’ We’ve talked. Out of town this week. (At the AECs. Sniffle. [Countdown]) We’ll set up a time when they return.

At the moment, I am more interested in lessons than in possible shows. For example, the transition to trot can be a bit of a lurch. If I can zen my way through the first moments, we’re good. I will often rest my knuckles on his neck when I ask for the trot to remind myself to stay calm and wait. At the first the trot in warm-up at the show [Report], he took the usual first step or two, then I felt him click into gear. I felt him think, ‘Oh yeah, the trot we had at Stepping Stone. No problem. Got it.’ I think a little bit of schooling will go a long way with this horse.

And finally, the art commission email has been sent. “If Rodney sets a hoof in a show ring, any ring, I will commission an artwork of flying pigs wearing iceskates while singing.” [A Radiance of Ribbons]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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