I had a terrific horsey time yesterday. I rode a fun mare in the morning, and practiced my dressage test for the event on her. It was great to work on my riding, and also to work on how best to ride the test. Hopefully this flat work pays off on Saturday! The highlight though was making the trek to the Gibbes Farm for an XC school with Catty and Ianto. At first I was wondering why we were driving an hour when there are so many places to school right in Aiken. After riding at the Gibbes I completely understand why it's worth the drive.
The venue is literally an eventers playground, with nearly every type of jump you can imagine, and it seems to go on forever. I was shocked to see just how big the place was, and how many different obstacles there were. I had a terrific outing with both Catty and Ianto, though they were again way too worried about where the other one was. I was able to work on many trickier combinations with Catty. These included bounce banks, one stride sunken road one stride to a jump, a jump on a big bump, one stride to a drop into the water, ditch and walls, 3 strides down a hill to a chevron, corner to a skinny duck, etc. I was really thrilled with how she handled the bounce bank in both directions, the first time for both of us jumping that. It left me quite excited for this season.
Ianto was also terrific, and I still can't believe how much bolder he is. While he is still spooky, he is really trying and often takes me to the jumps now. He was great through the water, even going over a small jump on an island. He also handled the bank well, especially the down banks, and was great about the ditches. We jumped a couple of training level fences, and he was wonderful. I was quite proud of him, and had a lot of fun taking him around.
Today will be all about flatwork, and then first thing tomorrow in the cold temps Catty and I will start our season. I think it should go well, knock on wood.