After the most delicious beer I've had in a long time and many hours of sleep, I am ready to report back about our cross country schooling at Shepherd Ranch yesterday. In a nutshell: freaking awesome!
Spirit and Storm loaded in the trailer like champs at about 8:30 AM. They knew it was time to go have fun. The ride up was comfortable and gorgeous - no traffic and perfect weather. We started off at Shepherd over some stadium just to warm up and make sure we were all in sync. It wasn't too long before we moved out into the cross country area. We did a few intro level jumps, but the vast majority were Beginner Novice or Novice level jumps. We did water twice - the first time next to super scary sprinkler of doom! And we did three different down banks (mine and Spirit's bogey) where we are making good headway on stepping down rather than launching off. Spirit and I had a few stops, though none were dramatic, and we never had more than one at any single jump. I need to work on keeping her up in front of my leg and to do my prep work well ahead of the jump. Storm was a super trooper. It was his first time to a cross country schooling, and he didn't have one refusal! He added a good 6 to 12" over the jumps, just making absolutely certain he was well over them, the way that green jumpers do! =) Looked exciting to ride.
I am so proud of both horses and both riders. Our friend and barn-mate Ashley (Storm's owner) came with us and took some video, as well as took her horse over a few of the jumps. Our trainer was fantastic as always - saying what she needs to say in just the right tone of voice that is so effective. Completely constructive, but also imbibing confidence when needed. The way she teaches makes me feel perpetually challenged, but always making sure I'm moving forward and getting better. :) Hope to have some pictures and videos up soon!