It has been a while

Its not like I didn’t want to write… the website wouldn’t let me!

I would get all excited about something that happened and when I would click on the blogger link in my gmail, the website would just time out.

So please forgive me if I am missing details as my memory has already started to fade from the busy lifestyle I am leading.

Probably the most important thing that I will look back into my archives about, was the incredible weekend I had with Bentley.
First, the weather was so spectacular this weekend which meant we could spend as much or as little time riding as we wanted without fear of getting struck by lightening.  Friday after work I went up to play with him.  Once I got to the ring, Linda pulled up… perfect timing and we hadn’t even coordinated it!  But wait, there is more!  Jess and Earl are on their way… so watch out for a trailer.  Before they arrived, I asked Bentley for a canter since he was going particularly well.  IT WAS THE MOST INCREDIBLE CANTER EVER.  It was so calm and expressive, I couldn’t believe it was my horse under there and not a grand prix dressage horse.  I liken the feeling to that of a dolphin jumping through the waves, there was a lot of vertical movement, but it was so smooth and easy to sit to, and was positively beautiful.  I have no idea what happened to my flat rushing racehorse, but good riddance!

The ride stayed at a high point as we hit the trails.  Jess was impressed by all the terrain and obstacles we have on property at GEC, which is why Linda and I love riding there.  We popped over a few small x-country jumps, crossed the creek, ran up and down hills and just had a great time. 

Saturday I got to the barn early since Lee had to work in the morning. I had also promised to keep an eye on the girls since Laura was at a show and wanted to make sure they were doing their work.  They didn’t even need me there, they were awesome, even getting those cobwebs that have been increasing in strength for oh… forever?  Fun part though, I got to carry the miniature foal out to the paddock.  She wont lead yet, so instead I got to pick her up in my arms and take her out.  So cute!  When I had first arrived there, it was so quiet and peaceful, made me really miss doing the morning feed at Halton Place.

Tacked up and went to the ring, met one of the part boarders named Alex and we decided to go for a hack out in the fields.  She had never been to the valley before, and I think I have become somewhat of an ambassador to it, so it was my duty to give her the tour!  One of the questions I always ask the kids when I meet them and their horse (as part boarders) is “Why did you choose this horse?”  Alex’s answer, which I later heard from a few other girls too was “I wanted a challenge”  I think that’s my favourite answer.  I love to meet people who feel the same way as I do, its not about winning the ribbons, its about improving yourself and improving your horse. 

After Alex had to leave (She was going to the Shaw festival with her parents, so cool for someone in highschool to be into!) I made my way back up into the ring where I decided to try Bentley over a few of the jumps.  They were set to a nice low height, nothing over 2 feet.  We popped over them pretty easily.  So I got up and decided to raise them just for fun… I honestly had no expectations and kind of thought I may not even do them all.  I got back up on Bentley and did the whole thing as a course, nailing every distance, including one oxer (which we had never really done before).  It felt so easy!  Gillian, who was riding Kahlua asked if I wanted to do it again and get video.  While I would have loved that, I had to decline since the first round was so perfect, I wanted to quit on that.  After I untacked him, I went out and measured the jumps… woah!  They were 2’9″ and the oxer was about 2’8″ and filled with scary pylons.  Looks like someone might just be ready to do some eventing this year!  So there was no photographic proof… but I do have some witnesses.  Even the girls who were watching from the sidelines were pretty darn impressed with my boy.

Sunday I picked up Heather on the way to the barn.  My old roomie Leland had stayed over the night before and came to meet Bentley before he had to go up to Sauble for mother’s day.  Mel was riding Rurik for the first part of our ride and we had a nice ride through the property while Heather occupied herself with my camera.  We did have a bit of a situation however when we realized that we needed to get Heather over the creek somehow.  The solution ended up being Mel rode over, I ponied Rurik back and then Heather rode Rurik over.  Never ponied a horse before, but we all handled it just fine!  When Mel had to leave, Heather got up on Rurik.  About the exact same time, one of the mares that lives in the valley had decided to make “friends” with Rurik.  The whole thing was about to get very X rated, but thankfully the mare had enough chasing him, and wanted to be chased instead.  Rurik was NOT happy that the lady had ran away and we weren’t allowing him to join her.  He started making the funniest noises and was twirling around and being an overall jerk for Heather.  So I suggested a horse swap.

I had been trying to get Heather on Bentley since his miracle changes in these last 2 weeks, but she still remembered how he took off with her last time and I think she was pretty afraid of him.  That should give you an idea of how naughty Rurik was being!  She hopped on B and we immediately put them to work, going up the big hill, hoping that would get his mind off his girlfriend.  It only worked for a minute, so we worked our way back up to the plateau.  Heather said she felt comfortable trotting B and eventually cantered him too.  I also cantered Rurik, and he got several good canter strides in before he broke back into his trot.  Quite a feat for him!

We made our way back up to the ring and I told Heather she could keep riding Bentley if she wanted to.  I put up a little crossrail and she hopped over it once she was comfortable.  This eventually led me to tell her to jump every single jump that had been set up in the ring some time the night before.  The finale was a 2’9 high x 2’9 wide oxer.  I don’t think either of them had ever jumped that big before, and after a few refusals they got it!  PS I didn’t tell Heather the numbers until they had done it, I think the measurement is far scarier than the height.  Another noteworthy jump was a crossrail which was set to the very top of the standards.  Of course, my camera died right before I could video her going over the oxer, but I squeaked enough energy out of it to get a picture of them standing next to it.

I could tell they both had a great time.  I was so proud of all of us.  So proud of Bentley for his performance and for his respect of Heather when he had never really been ridden by anyone but me.  Proud of myself that I have brought him to this point.  And proud of Heather for realizing how good of a rider she really is.  Rurik is hard to ride because he is not only an off the track standardbred, but can also be devious and is very wise to what tricks he can get away with.  She hasn’t been able to do as much in her lessons as some of the other students because of this.  I had also previously insisted she come to an OCTRA ride and that we would find her someone to ride and her answer was “I can’t I am not a good enough rider.”  That day she proved herself wrong.  It is the challenges we are given that make for the largest accomplishments, I think she has gained an appreciation for herself and for Rurik’s unique abilities in this whole process. 

She is now very eager to try an OCTRA ride with me this year.  Anyone want to volunteer a horse for a great Junior?

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