In sum, I would call it a good school. Spirit was relaxed, happy, but still provided me with ample opportunity to correct our stopping issue. The Meadows has done an amazing job of making their facility really inviting, and they even had some of their jumps decorated with plants and flowers like at a show. The freshly painted stadium rails are really eye-catching.
Photos scrupulously copied from The Meadows' Facebook Page. We jumped all these plus many more.
Imagine this one covered in plants. Because it was.
We started off over a few small stadium jumps, then did a little course with one XC fence thrown in (this cute little cabin!). Once we decided the horses weren't going to be crazy, we did some more ground-covering courses.
Spirit and I confirmed that our old bogey, down-banks, are no longer a bogey whatsoever for us! We did a down bank with zero hesitation and zero weirdness. We also did a ditch - she's always been good with those, if a little more exuberant than strictly necessary.
She halted a few times at some jumps, and I was really proud of myself that I did not turn her towards the direction she dodged out towards. However, Laurie taught me an even better school of basically side-passing when they refuse. It worked a lot better, though I feel that I need more opportunities to practice.
However, a new bad habit showed up - she ran away with me twice! It was a spook + bolt, but she got at least 2 strides of full-on gallop before I was able to bring her to a halt. I'll be keeping an eye out for any continued behavior. And laying the smack-down. Not acceptable.
The overall takeaway from the school is that I have to be very strict about speed. Fast speed = Spirit getting unbalanced. I need to hold the line at the pace that I want, no matter what gate it is.
Oh yeah, we jumped this. :)
Meanwhile, please allow me to OFFICIALLY introduce Storm and Jessica.
Storm and Jess did FANTASTIC at their schooling. They do fantastic all the time, really. Storm is really game, straightforward, and has no particular issues. Sometimes he gets sassy, but I find it so cute! He's still learning the english ropes - his former profession was western pleasure. Jess is doing an amazing job turning him into a little eventer.