Roading was significantly calmer this time than last. For the most part, we stayed even with the hounds for about 30 minutes, helping to set up a perimeter around where they were working. We got some good trots and canters in, and Saga was much happier right behind the leader than he was last week at the back of the pack last week. We had another moment of excitement at the end where the hounds flushed another jackrabbit and we tried to head them off, but we were really too far away to be of any use so after a brief uphill gallop, we pulled off and let the whippers-in go after them. Oberon lumbered along gamely enough, and Paige seemed happy to have a horse that didn't need to be at the front of the pack. I asked her a couple of times if he was fast enough for her and she said yes - I know he can keep up and really get going, so I think she was holding him back a bit. Totally fine for someone who is used to being in an arena all the time!
After they put the hounds up, we went off to do some XC fences. I was feeling pretty brave after yesterday's fantastic jump school, and opted to do a few of the easier Training level fences. Saga and I were not as balanced and together as we could have been, and I'm learning that he gets like that when he gets tired. If we want to do any eventing this fall or next spring, we are really going to have to work on fitness for both of us!
When in doubt, go for the really long spot?
We started off playing in the water jump. Oberon was pretty sure that he was DONE, and Paige had a lot to do convincing him to go forward to the jumps. He did actually jump them all, he just sort of trotted up to them and flopped over. *Facepalm*
I did a Training-level "doghouse" style jump into the water, then a log coming out. Saga really made the effort over the doghouse but lost momentum in the water. Oh well, he gets an "A" for effort over the element that really counted.
Next we headed off to do a couple of logs. Once Paige convinced Oberon that it was time to jump, he was really nice and steady to the fences. He's jumped all these before with the hubby, but a refresher course was good for him.
Next up was the stairsteps that I had caught my eye last week. We came around, but about five stride out Saga threw his head up in the air and said "OMGWTFBBQ!" He veered off to the left, but I managed to stop him before he got past it. We went up the side of the first step instead of the main part. I really think he just looked at it and had no idea what he was supposed to do - stair steps look kind of like a solid wall when you're coming at them. We came back around again, and the second time through he jumped it quite well. There was a bit of a shuffle in between, but he got up it well enough. Good boy!
After that success, I was ready to call it a day since I knew that Saga was tired. Paige wanted to see if Oberon could do the stairstep, but from about 50 feet away he decided he didn't want to even get near the side of it. I gave her a lead and we walked across the middle of the first step, parallel to the jump. On the far side, I went down a tiny hill, then turned around, expecting to see her following after. Instead, Oberon had taken exception to a clump of grass (!?!?!) and was handily backing away from it - right toward the step down! It was one of those slow-motion things you wish you had on tape - he got to the edge, backed down the 2'6 drop, and then nonchalantly brought his front end down with him. Luckily, Paige had the forethought to grab his neck, and they landed tidily, with Oberon still staring at the suspicious clump of grass. We all agreed that's the first time we'd ever seen a horse do a drop backwards, LOL!
After that bit of fun, we decided that Oberon needed a little practice with single banks, so we went over to the bank up/down that I did last week. Paige picked up a nice canter, and all was going so well, until...
My favorite part is when Oberon realizes that the grass is RIGHT AT NOSE LEVEL! You can see his ears flick forwards and he's like "Oooh! FOODS!" just before he decides to heave himself to the top of it. We were all laughing at his antics.
Paige turned him around and went down the bank, which he did quite handily.
Nice and tidy.
We decided to call it a day after that, and watched some of the other riders do a couple of Training-level fences. Once Saga is a bit more fit, I think we'll be able to do a few more of those, too. :)
On the way home, Paige informed me that I'm not allowed to do the 2'3 hunters anymore. Something about watching us do those Training-level XC fences, I guess? She's also planning to look at her calendar to find the next available Sunday so she can come back, and is contemplating which of her horses might work for hunting.
I HAVE BROUGHT HER TO THE DARK SIDE! MUAHAHAHAHAAA! And I didn't even need any cookies!