Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Practice Puddles

So the countdown is on. King Oak is on Saturday.

We have been busily preparing - working on our dressage and doing small jump schools here and there. But I have to admit, I think our biggest challenge will be the water obstacle that I'm sure is on the cross country course.

It's not that Zeus is being obstinate - he quite honestly doesn't understand the question in front of him yet. Knowing that practice makes perfect, I headed over to Mistover, a barn nearby that has a water complex to school. I also had a lesson with Jayne Marino, a certified Dressage instructor and former eventer. Good friend Karen came along to assist in the Zeus wrangling and took a bazillion photos. Karen boarded her horses at Mistover before she moved them home, and it's easy to see why she loved it there - it's a beautiful barn and the horses get treated like celebrities who are also family members.

I asked Jayne to do some work with us on Dressage - after all, it's her specialty - and I have to say, she kicked my butt. We were moving, flexing, forward, flexing, straight, flexing...I felt like Gumby by the end of the session. Zeus was a star with his work ethic, trying really hard every time I asked more of him.
Showing Jayne my Jazz Hands

After the flatwork, Jayne and I discussed Zeus' jumping history, and I got into a XC frame of mind.
Having a nice little canter

And then we were off to the water!
Doggy paddle

The most pivotal thing Jayne said to me was, "If he refuses water - in his mind, he saved your life. He doesn't know he won't drown in there." Very interesting, and gave me a chance to better understand his reluctance. And so we stood there, in front of the water.

It took about 5 minutes, and then Zeus let out a big sigh and stepped forward into the water. After that, it was no holds barred - we trotted in, trotted out, trotted in again, cantered out - and I think he was having a ball splashing around in there. That's what I want him to think - that water is fun!

We're headed back to Mistover later this week to school the water again. Depending on how he approaches it for a second time, I think will be a good indicator how he will do at King Oak.

Today we rode at home, in the ring. We're having tons of rain, so we spent some time splashing around in grassy puddles and trotting through them. Practice makes perfect.


Anonymous said...

Nice horse... can't wait to see him live!

Google isn't letting me post under my name under your blog.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Saturday! You both look terrific, and I agree, Mistover is SO beautiful. I would go live there! :) I met Karen there back in May when she gathered all the stuff to donate to Rosemary Farm.
We certainly have enough rain, I guess, to provide you with practice puddles! I'm sure Zeus will be perfect Saturday! XO Renee.

Katie Murphy Eventing said...

Good luck and have a great time! Can't wait to hear all about it!