I just got back from Florida with the horses. Lover’s Quarrel (aka “Dante”) was awesome down there. The Ocala Winter II Horse Trials was his first event ever. We put him in at Beginner Novice since we hadn’t even been able to school a cross country course. Three days before the event we took him to Longwood Farm and he jumped anything I put him at: ditches, drops, banks. At the water he thinks he has to jump in and his feet are everywhere, but it’s funny and he tries so hard for you.
At Ocala he put in a very steady dressage test which was quite obedient. (the judge wanted him more off of the forehand – I was happy that the horse was connected over his back!) Cross country was a blast and a new experience for me. I’ve never had the pleasure of riding a horse that you can float the reins to. His attitude was awesome; never spooked, never tried to run out, stop, or anything at any of his fences. He did over-jump all of them though! He seemed to love it out there and have fun. After the 4th fence he seemed to finally get it and understand what his job was and started to look for his fences. He didn’t balk at the water but did try to leap through it! He was such a good boy. It’s nice having a horse who really thinks out there. To be able to show him a fence and close my leg and give a cluck and him just jump it – pretty cool. I feel that there is more speed underneath me if I want it (all in good time), but he listens to the pace I set and stays there on a soft rein.
Show jumping was good. Again he was relaxed and easy – we did have two rails but that’s because he just doesn’t know what to do with his feet if he gets a little deep and to a sticky spot. (More gymnastics work will solve that) Overall we ended up 10th (would have been 6th if not for the rails) but I didn’t care – it’s his first event and he’s only been in work 3 1/2 months (when the weather would allow!). Plus we were in the Open division so I was riding against Karen O’Conner and many other big time riders and their babies, so I can’t complain! I am so impressed with his attitude and how level headed he is. He has definitely been a real pleasure and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.