I have a couple of updates regarding Phil’s Courage. The first update is that I had a buyer for Phil who was ready to write quite a large check and I couldn’t go through with the sale. I broke down in tears and just couldn’t part with him. My husband thinks I have gone insane, but he is supportive of my decision.
The second update is that Phil competed in his first sanctioned Jumper Rally this past weekend. He placed second and fourth in his division with tough competition.
For those that aren’t familiar with the jumpers, a course of eight obstacles is to be completed in a specified amount of time. If your trip was clean the bell will sound and you continue for eight more obstacles for the jump off with a total of 16 obstacles (rules do vary from circuit to circuit). The tricky part is the jump off isn’t the same course and usually has tight turns and lots of direction changes. Phil held the winning time and we thought we had first until a speedy, Appaloosa pony, beat Phil’s time and jumped clean. Phil pulled a rail with the tip of his hind hoof on the last jump during his second class, however even with a rail down he had the fastest time.
Phil was a professional and kept his thinking cap on for the entire course and jump offs. His flying changes were very impressive and most of the time automatic. He can certainly be very competitive at the Level Two jumpers at this time in his career, however we will start with a good foundation (Level 0) even though he will be a little bored. At this point it is more about learning technique like becoming a little thriftier with his front end and adjusting his speed on the course; he has already proven he has ability to jump.
I cannot say enough about the importance of ground-work for respect. I spent six months with Phil specifically working on ground-work exercises for respect and you can see our results. All of my time with Phil on the ground transferred right into the saddle. We now have a trusting bond and are partners.
The third update is Phil is easily schooling 4’ without any effort. Even at 4’ he is not challenged. My husband is making me 5’ jump standards specifically for Phil.
Phil will make his debut at an “A” rated show later this month.
Hang in there everyone. Your hard work will be rewarded with a loyal partnership between you and your horse.