Blogger is shitting on me and not letting me post photos but there is video farther down.
In prep for next weekend's schooling horse trial, Trainer A took her students, her gelding, and Cinder XC schooling yesterday at the facility. I met up with them at Inavale and played groom and videographer. A split up her students into two groups, and rode her gelding in the first group and Cinder in the second. I hand walked Cinder out on the course during the first group so A) she could see everything, and B) she wouldn't be left alone at the trailers as the two kids in the second group were coming later.
I grabbed a stud chain to walk Cinder out to the main XC field, just in case. A had gone out with Metro a little before the girls and I headed up so she could work through a few issues with him. When we met up with them A had the girls start warming up while she ponied Cinder through the water. Both A and I were sure if Cinder had any issues on the XC course, it would be at the water. Princess pony HATES getting wet, especially her hind legs. Metro is a saint for calmly standing around while Cinder pulled some very acrobatic moves about getting into the water, but eventually she did get in. A walked them back and forth a few times and stood in the middle of pond before finally handing Cin back to me.
While the girls jumped, I alternated between walking Cinder over a few small logs and letting her graze. She really wasn't concerned about the horses going away from her, or walking away from them. When the group moved to the smaller side field I walked her over the BN ditch and up and down some of the hills. 0 shits were given.
We then headed back to the trailers to switch out groups. I tacked up Cin while A took care of Metro, and then we switched. A got on Cin and I hand walked Metro out to the field to play babysitter. Cinder's pasture mate Polly was in the second group and the two have become a little buddy sour when one leaves the pasture so I was a little worried about how they'd be, but as soon as they realized they were working both were great. God bless mares that know when it's time to get down to business.
The water demon reared it's ugly head (and Cinder did try rearing) when A tried to get Cin in the water under saddle. I provided a lead in and Cin went in. You could pretty much see her saying "F*ck you" to all of us, but she did it.
A popped over a couple little logs before trying a hanging log and Cinder wasn't phased at all. She got a couple odd distances, but you could see her thinking about it and she's fix her mistake on the next try. She then got a break while the girls started schooling over fences and was perfect standing around and waiting. When A took her back out she happily left the group and acted like she'd done this a million times. A schooled her over some BN and N fences, and the only thing she had issues with was a BN table that she stopped at. A did get her over, and wasn't sure why she stopped. Two of the other horses in our group stopped at the same table, as well as another horse in a different group so A thinks the horses just have a hard time reading it, or are distracted by something in the distance.
We then moved to the smaller field to practice the ditch and banks. I hand walked Metro over the BN ditch while A and the girls followed. Cinder was happy to pop back and forth over the ditch in both trot and canter, but when A aimed her at the N ditch next to it, she stopped out the first time. She did get over it, but gave it plenty of clearance. The banks were a complete non issue. Again, she popped up and down like she'd done it a million time, doing both the BN and N ones.
We finished up back in the main field and Cinder was absolutely, not ever going into the water. I had to lead her in a few times before she finally decided to go in on her own. A just kept walking back and forth through the water before attempting to trot in. It was like a switch had been flipped and now Cinder totally A-OK with water. She trotted and cantered in and through the water like she hadn't just had a meltdown about it. It's completely her personality to have a tantrum, act like the world is ending, then do the thing and realize it wasn't that bad. Hopefully she remembers the water is her friend next week for the show!
Both A and were really, really happy with how she did. A even asked if I ever wanted to be that owner who has a pro campaign the horse, and I honestly said if I ever win the lottery, or get a sugar daddy, she can take Cinder up the levels. A was just so impressed with how Cinder handled everything and didn't feel at all mentally or physically fried. Cinder was out either being walked or ridden for almost 6 hours and A said she felt like she could keep going. A said it best, "Cinder's not a normal horse, but in the best way possible."