The TWH is at a pretty big turning point right now. I've been training him to be an eventer even though he has fluff for brains and he doesn't naturally trot. I've trained him how to trot. I've trained him how to think about what he is going to do. I've had progress and setbacks. I've learned the TWH will refuse a jump, he can't go from a canter to a trot, he is still randomly spooky and his gaited gaits will pop up at inopportune times. I've learned the TWH can think about how to get over jumps that he doubts, I've learned he can pick up a trot from a pace, that he will at least spook in place and that he tries really hard.
The only reason I brought him to Michigan is because he does try hard and he is honest. With these qualities I am pretty certain I can mold him into what I want. As a result we have our first eventing show this weekend. On Saturday we will go cross country schooling and I will push him over as many jumps as I can. I want to push him hard to make sure the work we've been doing since our last cross country fiasco will pay off. I want to see progress. I've had him jumping 3'6" on the lunge and I've jumped him 2'6" fairly regularly under saddle, I think he is prepared. He is more prepared than he was last time, I am certain of that.
On Sunday we will attend our first eventing derby, this being more of a "real" eventing derby than the one we went to last fall. This will have real cross country jumps on a real course. I entered him in the pre-beginner novice division, with pitiful 18" jumps, as I want to see how he reacts. If he does well like I expect, I will put him in the beginner novice division in September!
The only part that really has me worried is the dressage test. Cue the doom and gloom music! We have to do a standard w/t/c test and we still don't have a good canter to trot transition. I've been riding every morning this week to get him tuned back up and ready for dressage, a discipline I have been ignoring since the dressage association wouldn't accept gaited tests. Unfortunately he is anticipating and is not as sharp with transitions as I was hoping he would be at this point. He also is picking up the trot from a pace after 2-4 strides instead of 1 or 2 when we come out of the canter. Ugh, give me a trotting horse!
I can't prepare him any more now, hopefully I was able to do enough and this weekend will be GREAT instead of DISASTER. Keep your fingers crossed, I'm not sure what to do with him if he can't event.