Bunny Hops On The Bunny Slope, XC Schooling


Awareness of the outside world. BBC: Upside-down rhino research wins Ig Nobel Prize, Amos, 10 Sept 2021. Improbable Research: Ig® Nobel Prize Winners, For achievements that first make people LAUGH then make them THINK.

While Rodney worked …

… Milton supervised.

Back to Full Circle Horse Park for more cross-country kindergarten.

Round 1. Walked next to jumps. I got on right away, see photo yesterday. No in-hand walking to settle either of us down. Progress. Rodney was fine. Looked at everything but in a curious, ‘Oh, look at that’ way rather than the-sky-is-falling. Color me dubious. I want to believe.

I settled once we got into the field. A nice walk interrupted by one of us getting a wild hair to visit the cougar’s lair, excuse me, side field.

Round 1.5. Over to show jumping ring. Walked and trotted in and out of standards on course sans poles. Trotted a few tight jumper turns that might have had the rider smiling. Milton also walked and trotted and occasionally enjoyed himself.

Round 2. Jumps! Trotted the warm-up crossrail. Trotted the warm-up log. I could feel his enthusiasm building, especially over the log. Great! However, his brain is writing checks his body can’t cash. Not yet anyway. One of us has to reel it in.

To me, his enthusiasm has an element of over-confidence. Not so much the jump height as where to put his feet and how to handle his body over jumps. I don’t think he can do what he thinks he can. Excitement would lead to taking on too much which would lead to being over-faced which would lead to being over overwhelmed and back-sliding. I don’t know if this is something horses do. I could imagine Rodney saying, ‘I got this. I got this. I got this. Nope! Nope! I don’t got this!’

Off to jump one. I was trotting the lowest-of-the-low poles on a pre-beginner, neon-green course. Unfortunately, Rodney landed between ropes of a Preliminary Championship course. It took several proto-gallop strides to wrestle him back down.

In hindsight, I should have let him keep going. He would have cantered three strides, pulled up to trot, and said, ‘That’s enough of that.’ Rodney’s convictions are deep but changeable. In the moment, he was very convincing about having turned into a fire-breathing dragon.

Walked over two more. Trotted in the field, like a gentleman.

Milton did an excellent job on escort duty. Horses can have strong opinions about being left behind by their trail mates. If Milton is trotting, he worries about catching up. If he’s walking, he’s chill. ‘I’ll get there when I get there.’ This is weird, but I’ll take it.

Headed back to trailer. Switched to …

Round 3. In-hand. I asked the barn’s driving expert to lunge Rodney over the XC jumps. Let Rodney frolic, if that’s what he wanted. He didn’t run off after, so need to examine a possible rider contribution to the excess of enthusiasm.

Rodney did take some truly awful, awkward jumps. Then he’d come around again and get better. By the third pass he was jumping sweet. Lunging gave him the chance to sort himself out, without being burdened by a rider trying to do the same.

Riding portion. Jumping ring in lower right.

Lunging portion. GPS from Map My Walk.

Rodney’s XC Links
[The Flag Question, XC Schooling]
[Achievement Unlocked, Cross-Country Schooling]

Stay safe. Stay sane.

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