Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cross-country schooling: Paeon

Visited Ryan's at Heatherbrae this afternoon to catch up with Emma and Pan. Heath is developing a great x-country schooling facility; it's a work-in-progress as he adds various challenges as they become priorities for his students and their horses, so we're lucky to be beneficiaries!!
It's been dry and windy for about a week so Heath has given the go-ahead to gallop on his precious ground at last. He was riding a youngster, Aspire by ASpen and teaching two others; Ashleigh on her stallion Acid Jazz and another aspiring eventer on her talented beginner jumper WBxTB.
Emma took Pan and Jimmy (her Don Ramiro youngster) down for their first run x-country.
This was the first opportunity Pan's ever had to 'gallop' x-country, and he coped very well. He pottered over the bank; climbed up and clattered down the 2 metre mound with enthusiasm, didn't baulk at the water (!!!) which had caused him much angst last visit. and mastered a suspended log ('upright'). solid hutch, and vertical log pile, without confrontation. Half a dozen jumps both ways across each new obstacle, then hEmma strung them together with his first related line x-country 'event'. He was agile, alert and straightforward, really 'looking' at each obstacle and naturally adjusting his stride to find a 'good' take-off point.
One 'close spot' led to a four-leg take-off where Emma remarked "he's just like a jack-rabbit". But this 'error' didn't rattle him, was immediately 'fixed', and he 'got on with the job.'
Wow!! He was great!! This outing answered a few questions.
Is he brave enough for eventing??? Yes!!! ( I thought he was wussey with the water entry last time, but he's "over it" already!!!)
Has he got scope to advance past the lower grades as just a general allrounder? Yes! Good 'snap' front and back and Great elevation as you can see!!

He's got a really good back end, strong off the ground; when initially caught too close to a jump he didn't back up but jumped from a standstill without displacing his rider; no twisting motion.
He's direct and trusting of his rider, just gets on with the job he's asked to do, and, so far, loves it!! Thanks Emma!!!

This was his first ever gallop in open country and he 'eats up the ground' without looking like he has any intention of taking over from the rider. Very promising.
Heath has been uppiing the height of his indoor jumping 'asks', says Emma, and he's responding very well. She's entering him for a Newcomers ODE at Wingham on the first weekend in September.
Let's hope the weather is better than last weekend. She says the conditions at Silver Hills were atrocious; she rode one Prelim horse into Hail!!!
Better her than me!! I SO admire these professional young riders!!!

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