I rode the TWH irregularly for the week after the last show. Partly because I wanted to give him a deserved break after his show, partly because I really needed to spend the evenings working on clearing our new fenceline so I can get the fence up. The horses have already eaten down the pasture I have, a lot faster than I expected, and am already supplementing with hay again. I had hoped that with having only 2 horses on about 1.5 acres would be enough for a while but alas it doesn't appear to be. The next week I rode a couple of times but I had to give several lessons during weeknights and thus not a lot of riding on my part happened. The following week I only rode twice and worked on dressage and am making progress, his canter/trot transitions are coming along SO nicely!
The last weekend of May I went cross country schooling at a farm 1.5 hours away. I am not a fan of hauling long distances but it was well worth it. The TWH continued his bad habit of refusing the first xc jump I pointed him at, UGH HORSE!! After I forced the issue he jumped it the second time I presented the jump so hopefully I can nix this habit quickly. He also refused a novice level ditch the first time he saw it and I had to chase him over it the 2 subsequent times. He was also very hesitant of going into their water complex but he did it. To his credit it was dark, murky looking water and was shaded by trees however I would strongly prefer him not be so hesitant. The rest of the schooling went fabulously well with little that needed adjustmen on his part. I do need to work on myself, I told H that I feel I have no choice but to keep a hold of his face as I feel as soon as I let go he will fall apart. That is my homework, trying to get him to a point that I feel I can trust him so I am not hauling on his face over jumps. We schooled for a little over an hour and while he was sweaty, he wasn't super tired and he handled it all very well! I was quite impressed.
Last week I had to force myself to find time to ride Every Day. I sent in our entry to ride at our very first Horse Trial at the Beginner Novice division June 2nd and didn't want to make a complete fool of ourselves. What is a horse trial you may ask? It is a show that has three classes and the combination of the three scores determines your placing. The first is a dressage class where you ride a pattern in an arena to show the training the horse has. The second is cross country where you canter/gallop over countryside jumping whatever jump is assigned. The hard part of this phase is the conditioning, as Jimmy Wofford said "Exhaustion makes cowards of even the bravest horse". If your horse isn't fit enough to canter nonstop between 4-6 minutes (depending on the course) while jumping between 15-20 efforts over hilly terrain, you can have serious issues with mistakes or refusals. Your horse has to be fit enough to go that far (5 minutes is a LOT longer then you think!!), brave enough to jump what is front of them even if they haven't ever seen it before and trained well enough to be controlled while doing all of this. The last class is stadium jumping where you jump a course of fences in an arena or area. Your horse then has to have enough gas in their tank to jump one more time and be able to listen well enough to slow down to jump after being amped up from cantering/galloping during the previous ride. Needless to say we had some work to do.