30 Days to Poplar Place: escape artist

This morning, I arrived at the barn to see another rail down on Johnny’s paddock. He’d already knocked out the middle rail (and I’d yet to hang it back), so I guess he was testing to see just how flimsily hung the rest of them are. I have no idea if he took a stroll around the grounds last night, then let himself back in his paddock, or if he was just waiting for the right opportunity, but with only one lower rail holding him hostage, if he wanted out, it was too easy. He wandered over and tried to look nonchalant as I hammered away this morning, but I know he was secretly plotting his next escape attempt. As it is now, I have to not only pull his gate shut while I muck, but I have to actually latch it–he tests it with his nose to see if he can open the gate when I turn my back.
As much as his fitness has improved, I guess yesterday’s workout took a little more out of him than I’d realized. Today was a jumping day, but his heart definitely wasn’t in it. I took it easy on him and kept the jumps at cross-rails. Hopefully he’ll be recuperated and ready for dressage tomorrow. We’ve got to nail those trot-canter transitions without losing any of the connection. I checked out my competition this morning, and I’m a little miffed. **Soapbox Alert** There are only 7 riders in our Novice class. However, it appears that nearly all of them (I didn’t check records for ALL 7) have not only ridden in the AECs on the same horses, but have been Novice-level champions for quite some time. One guy was one of the top 10 in rider points for the year. Excuse me, but if you’ve hit the top of your game at the lower levels, it’s time to move up and move on. It is no longer competition at that point. For me, showing is about competing with my peers–with riders and horses of similar caliber. Granted, maybe some of these guys are gearing up to move on to Training level this year, but this is becoming a big issue: people parking at a lower level because they can rack up points. So not right…but I’ll move on.
Anyway, today’s workout was a simple gymnastic grid consisting of a single bounce to a short two stride cross-rail. I placed placing rails 9′ out from both ends to help me avoid anticipating. We did fairly well. Like I said, Johnny’s heart wasn’t in it, so I kept today an easy day. Tomorrow we are going to do lots of trot-canter-trot. I am determined to drop our score by 10 points–that’s my goal for next weekend’s show. Til tomorrow–GO EVENTING!!

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