Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Challenging ponies

The princess and the trainer at Paradise Farms, photo courtesy of Katherine Lambert

Fiona's not an easy ride. After this many posts about our trials and tribulations, that's kind of a given. I enjoy her, feel safe with her, and would pick her ahead of almost any horse to go XC because I'm that comfortable with her. That doesn't mean she's easy for me. I always figured part of that was that I'm an adult ammy.

I think the princess is giving the trainer a hard time, too.

In her last show, she got a 35 in dressage. Whoop whoop! That's a competitive score, even in Aiken. Considering the dressage ring was literally blowing down around her, it sounds like a lot of the dressage issues are getting sorted out. She also went back to being the XC machine, fast and clean. Reportedly it went just fine. But she got 14 penalties in stadium: one rail, one refusal, and six seconds over time. She went in feeling wild, hit the rail on her first jump, scooted off on landing, and just flat out missed the turn to the second jump. After that she was fine, but the damage was done.

I totally understand now how eventing can make so many people take up beer drinking. Three phases, and the horse has to nail them all in one day. We used to have trouble with dressage, but jumping phases were great. Her dressage is better now, but then she messed around in stadium. Or she has a decent dressage, clean stadium, then refuses in XC. Ah, Thoroughbred mares. You keep the breweries in business.

My trainer has my sympathies. I know very well what it's like when Fiona hits a rail and takes off like a bat out of hell. She hates hitting fences. At the same time, I can't help but feel a bit better about my riding. Fiona is a tough ride, it's not just my lack of skill making her difficult. I guess we can officially rule her as not amateur friendly. Now she has that reputation in Area I and Area III. I can't wait to get down there and cement her reputation with my own personal take on her shenanigans. There are some noticeable differences between myself and my trainer.

My trainer doesn't swear like I do on cross country.

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