WE DID IT!! Our first mini event and the slowest XC ride in history! VIDEO! :D
I'm SUCH a proud mom! My 4 year old Clydesdale pony finished THIRD in her very first mini event at Pre-Novice this weekend! It was absolutely hysterical!!! I decided to take her to get some miles on her and let her see what it was all about. No plans for glory...just expose her to a show environment, cross country course and stadium fences. She got nervous in the dressage ring when the judge made a "clunk" as we came in and she was tense her whole test but she made it round. We ended up in 4th out of 8 in dressage. NOT BAD! Then onto XC. Willa has only schooled over little logs around our farm so this was a HUGE jump up for her and after walking the course it was WAY scarier than I had anticipated. I decided to just walk/trot her and if she felt fearful I would pull up. But my pony has the best brain and off she trotted calmly and confidently into the unknown. She was never fearful and only inquisitive as we approached each fence VERY slowly. She would pause to check it out, I'd tell her she was fine and then she'd bunny hop to the other side. I was shocked she was even going!! I laughed and cheered her on the whole way around!
Then off to stadium. The other Pre-Novice events I had seen had a very simple course with just standards, maybe a brush box and just plain poles. This course was anything but!! She has NEVER seen fences like this in her life! The show got ahead of schedule and I ended up mounting up as they were calling me on deck. Greeeeeaaaaat. Her first time and no warmup! So again, I decided to give it a go and if she was fearful I would pull up and retire to go home and practice more. Well...shock me again! She was BRILLIANT! We slowly trotted the whole course and she would hesitate about 10 feet out and I would say "You've got it peanut!" and she'd head right in and over she went! Now...fence #2 in stadium is HILARIOUS!!!!!!! Maybe the funniest jump I've ever ridden! It was the first oxer she'd ever seen. She was trotting confidently up, started to jump and then noticed all the stuff in the middle as her front feet were coming up. So she stops, puts them down and leans down to sniff it. Just as I'm about to pull her around to reapproach she goes "OK!" and launches over it!! Leaving me behind and landing us square on top of the fence! LOLOLOL The judge...and everyone else, myself included...were laughing hysterically! She just said "Whoops! Sorry mom!" and trotted happily away to the next fence! About half way through she got the hang of it and started locking on and going in without question! We miraculously ended in third! It wasn't fast or pretty but we got round, had a blast and she had a great first experience! Slow and steady wins the race! SOOOOO proud of my little peanut!! She has such a calm and steady mind and was really enjoying herself. I laughed and talked to her the whole way round our courses and we just had SO much fun! I can't wait to practice all winter and next year maybe move up to actually cantering! LOL If you want to be overwhelmed with cuteness watch the video of Willa navigating her first XC and stadium courses at snail pace! LOL