In the beginning (like last year), for BN and Novice, I rode Farrah in a loose ring snaffle, merrily cantering along on XC. Now that Farrah has run two trainings, she has altered the conditions in which she chooses to participate in this fine sport of eventing. Gone are the lovely half halts, where she rocks back and says "ok mom, I see it, no problem". What I have now is basically an arm pulling freight train and Farrah is clearly saying to me "Quit bothering me, I KNOW what I am doing galloping like mad and then scrambling over".
This is not really working well for me. First of all, I want to live and actually enjoy eventing. While her boldness is good, reckless abandon at Training level and being only 14.3 spells disaster to me. Somehow, bitting Farrah up doesn't seem like the correct answer to myself or my trainer, so we are going to back up a little and re-group. The added fitness for Farrah at training also seems to be working against me a bit!
This weekend at RH 1, Farrah did reasonably well at dressage (35) and was very rideable in stadium and went clean. We began xc in 2nd place in our division. When she rapped two tables with her legs (from blowing through all attempts at a half halt or full stop or any other such direction on my part) and then ran out due to a "discussion" I was having with her, I decided to retire. We did gallop up the bounce bank nicely at fence 12 before I called it a day, thus ending on a good note. I was surprised by Farrah's new found cavalier attitude to XC, and it definitely took the joy out of galloping to the fences!
At a recent schooling, when I attempted to pull out of an approach to a corner (due to Farrah's over-riding my decision on a half halt and balanced approach - in which Farrah didn't even pretend to acknowledge there was a rider on board), we had this:
I tried to pull her out to the left and she decided we should launch it. She had to put her hind feet DOWN on the top of the corner and push off. I thought she learned something, as afterwards she was so respectful and we finished with the following:
So, back to the dressage and bounces and some help from Mike Huber....more tools in the toolbox are needed.
Farrah's barn mates showed her that even though they are new to eventing, they could go out and do well. Monte (Nataly Pacheco's gelding) finished fourth in his FIRST event, ever. He got a 30.5 in dressage, had a rail in stadium and cantered xc like a pro! My daughter's pony, Lucy, a former broodmare, was seriously bad in dressage (45!!) but clean stadium and xc and moved up to 7th in her BN division. The weekend felt mildly salvaged :)