Over the long weekend, I hauled Koda down to a two-day cross country clinic to get ourselves back in the game and expose Koda to more things. During the course of the weekend, Koda showed both his Arabian and Quarter Horse sides, which got him the nickname Jekyll or Hyde, depending on which one was there. The first morning, my usual quiet minded and calm horse decided he was going to voice his opinion and start rearing at the trailer while I put on his open fronts (plus my friend J had hold of his other leg so that he wouldn't move the one I was working on). I could not believe it!
The look of eagles?! ... after his Black Stallion impression
After that yahoo, I was getting nervous which made him more nervous and lose his ever loving mind. Luckily, once I got him working (and the clinician tossed down a pole for us to focus on) he came back and worked really well for me. The first lesson was working on stadium and the water jump. In stadium, it was all about rideability and riding off the landing, NOT the take-off. We ended up doing a quick course that was essentially all bending lines and riding the rhythm forward. Koda saved my butt a few times for which I am very happy and grateful.
Part of the mini course
Last line of the course
Going through the water was a lot better than the first time we went through back in September at South Peace. All we did was trot through it a few times and did a canter through once (whoop!). We could have jumped a log 2-strides out and 2-strides to in, but the gravel was hurting Koda's front hooves (thin soles) so we left it at that. I think I am going to have him shod in the front during the spring/summer from now on since he's been tender on those front feet before.
In the afternoon, we had dressage. Koda was still feeling a touch weird, so we took it easy. The clinician gave me some excellent pointers for myself and to help Koda learn to stretch out and down. He was doing REALLY well with the stretching which was surprising since he hasn't stretched out before. The one tip I really liked was I tend to be too soft with my hands and I lose the connection with it trying too hard to be soft. What the clinician asked me to do was think that you can hook your pinky fingers into the gullet of your saddle and keep them there.
The former SO (now fiance!) was awesome and came with me to the clinic, so I have some photos and video to post, along with helmet cam videos.