The good news, though? More time for Z! I have spent much of the last month or so building a plan for Z and I to compete throughout the spring, summer, and fall. We have managed to get out cross country schooling several times, and each time she becomes a smarter, braver, more exciting prospect. She thrives off of her training time. This past winter was especially brutal, so, while our training continued (thanks mostly to the miracle of indoor arenas), the weather made both Z and I a bit grumpy and unmotivated. Recently, with the arrival of T-shirt days and much less rain/snow, we've really buckled down and fixed some problems we've been encountering thus far.
Now, dressage has never been my favorite to work on, as is the case with many eventers. Z, though, has brought out the passion in me. I now look forward to my hard schooling dressage days just as much as my jumping days. She is such a quick learner and is so strong and fit right now. She handles her workload very well and tackles every new movement with sensibility and careful thought. (Of course, as with many younger horses, she has days where she completely forgets that she has four feet and that they all need to move when she trots or canters.) She has given me the tools to improve myself more than I ever thought a green horse could.
Her jumping, as you'll see in video below, is just stupendous. She's really begun to take charge and think about where she is going and how to get there. She actually would probably be pretty content to just lope around a hunter course, but, like I said, she thrives on dressage and was really born to event. Her jumping style is so naturally even and powerful that her technique has improved by leaps and bounds pretty quickly. We've done a lot of grids, which has made her a very independent, (perhaps too) strong jumper. Now, we actually have to ease her off in front of a jump, not because she rushes out of control, just because she is very sure of where she would like to take off and how she would like to get there. :)
My goal this year is to do at least one novice event before the end of the year. Next week, April 26th, we will head to Boyd Martin's Windurra Farm for a Beginner Novice combined test. The following weekend we will do a demonstration at Caitlin's (Halona's mommy) rescue celebration on Saturday and the Intro division at Fair Hill's Unrecognized Horse Trials. After that, I'm hoping to move her up to Beginner Novice at a full event, but first we'll have to tackle some more water complexes. That is her ONLY hang-up. Ditches and banks were nothing, first try. She is so smart, she just genuinely does not understand big water complexes (though she is the ONLY horse I've ever had that will lead and ride through big puddles. LOL) Once I'm confident with her at the water, I have no doubt in my mind that she would kick some sport horse butt at Beginner Novice! :)
Until next time... (and next time will hopefully come sooner than this time. Hahaha.)