Sunday was everyone’s favorite: cross country day. I just had this feeling Iggs was going to be a blast and I was… not wrong. Holy crap, he’s like riding a little rocket. A rocket with OPINIONS, but definitely feels like you’re on that Space X ship. (Was my horse also designed by Elon Musk? It feels… like a question I don’t want answered…) Yet, there’s something about taking a brand new horse XC for the first time where you have those nerves – what’s he really like out there?
I was nervous about the heat from the get go – it was only the second truly hot day we’ve had and our weather had (in classic Indiana style) bounced between 55 and 85 that week. We ended up handling it better than expected which is a good sign since IEA’s HT at the Hoosier Horse Park has been rescheduled to the first week of August. Gulp.
We warmed up over some little starter stuff and right away Iggy had his game. face. on. Those ears were SO FAR FORWARD, he was like “FINALLY THE HUMAN ALLOWS ME TO DO MY THING” after weeks of hacking out in the fields. Two jumps in and I had a smile like a kid at Disney World – like OMG this horse is SO FUN. He did decide the tiny raised log we added in was not worth his time or effort and we nearly fell on our faces when he DIDN’T PICK UP HIS FEET WTF DUDE, but otherwise after those first few I knew it was going to be a good day.
We meandered over to the bank and just like last summer, Sharon had us just easy goes it cruise on up and down it – Iggy was like, “I got this bro” and put on his best western pleasure horse impression, getting a laugh out of everyone. We strung together some little courses with our little group of starter jumps and banks and hung out while everyone went through it. Iggy promptly tried to eat the steeplechase brush and was highly offended to discover it was fake.
From there, we headed to the water. In and out, walk, trot, canter, cool, not a problem. Up the little bank out of the water? Sure thing, mom! Down the tiny bank into the water? “HOLY HELL WHAT IS THAT THING I HAVE NEVER SEEN IT MONSTERS DEFINITELY LIVE THERE”
This damn horse convinced Sharon White he’d never gone down a drop into water (he has, in face, done this multiple times, complete with video evidence from his owner). I have 6 minutes of video of convincing this horse the only option was down and forward. I will spare you. It was ridiculous. Opinions, I tell you. So many opinions.
And then of course, we hopped in and it was, “Well if that’s all you wanted you should have said so. GOD, why did you make such a big deal out of this?” SAYS THE CHESTNUT PONY.
Once that was resolved, Sharon had us each pick our own little course so we could do what we felt confident about. I was feeling.. perhaps a little too confident, but set out a fun course – down the bank, through the water, out over a little red coop, right turn back through the water, out over a decent size log, blue table to some steps finishing over barrels heading home.
This should give you an indication of how it started. It was.. dramatic? Like, is this jumping into the head of the lake at Kentucky or a (barely) BN drop, Iggy? I swear this horse embodies #diditforthegram.
Somewhere in the midst of this drama, my figure 8 noseband came completely undone. Sharon saw my hesitation and basically said, “Don’t you dare stop!” so, uh, I rode the entire thing with half a noseband. The photos look like I don’t know how to tack up my damn horse, so that’s fantastic.
Noseband or not, Iggy had the freaking rocket boosters on and off we went. He’s so sensitive sometimes, I forget I’m driving a Ferrari now, not a limousine and my first turn nearly had me on my ass. I got a nice correction for that one, which I fully deserved. Gotta keep those eyes up and not make turns like I’m coming around the track at the Indy 500.
Off that turn though – the best part of my entire weekend. Through the water and out over that log and hot damn if Iggy didn’t blast off. I’m pretty sure I landed off that one laughing and yelling.
The rest of the course was a total blast too, but I’m not sure I’m going to forget the feeling of that air. I asked Sharon when we were cooling down if she thought I should drop to Starter for my first HT in a few weeks and her response made me squeal: that horse loves the bigger jumps (can you call BN bigger? Asking for a friend…), take him BN. You’re ready.
When I watched the video later, one of the other ladies from my barn looks over and goes, “She’s kind of an adrenaline junkie, isn’t she?”
WHOOPS. They found my secret. Glad I’ve got a rocket partner in crime.