I know, I am sorry that it has taken me a bit to publish this fun little fact about the Freddie Mac; but it's true! He nailed his Novice Test B this past weekend at Rubicon and posted a 24! Way to go! I remember when he couldn't even hold his canter in the Grand Prix field when he first arrived back in April. Fast forward to this morning, when he had his first ever lesson with Linda Zang. By the end of the lesson we were doing counter canter around he dressage arena! Mind you, it didn't just magically happen like that....but imagine what a phenomenal horse he is going to be in a year.
I think one of the best things about Rubicon was I got the feeling that Freddie was really starting to understand what it was he was doing at an event. The dressage was probably the most chaotic warm up that he had experienced so far and he took it all in stride. It was a very cold morning, with a clip job less than a week old...we were really pushing our luck! Lara was a champ (ask her about the Marine Corp Ball that she attended the night before!) and as usual he looked the part even if he had moments where he didn't act it. I think he likes doing dressage in an actual arena, with footing. It is easier for him to balance and add a little flair to every step, which he certainly did! And I am glad that the judge was there to reward it.
We went on to show jumping, which is notoriously difficult due to the shape and size of the arena. Thank you, show jumping personnel at Rubicon, for removing 5A from the bottom of the hill :) It was hard enough for the babies to run down a hill towards the in/out gate and then make a 90 degree turn to a single jump let alone a one strided combination! Freddie was a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. In his bravest moments the novice jumps were too small to hold him or keep his respect/attention. And then he trotted one or two fences, and so I'm thinking at that point that I kept him at novice and didn't move up quite yet to training lol. He did make all of the inside turns, however. I was hoping that this might help get him more supple and listening. At least I made it through without time faults.
Cross country was much the same story at show jumping. His first three fences were spot on brilliant. I was especially proud of him at the 3rd, which was a large brush fence in the woods. He negotiated the trees (my we have come a long way since our xc school at Loch Moy where he face-planted into one) and galloped boldly right up and over. After fence 3 you come out of the woods at the top of the hill of the main field and cross country area. And it was pretty much at this point that I started riding a baby again. He was a little wiggly, sometimes very bold and sometimes wanting to take the safer, 'let me check the other side' spot to his fences. He did canter up the bank and made the U turn and absolutely understood that there was a down bank! Hooray! It didn't sneak up on him as it has at the other events. Likewise with the ditch, he absolutely realized 10 strides out that everything he was seeing looked like ditches and coffins, and he was right! It was a very tough novice, good sized ditch 2 strides to a fairly skinny log. He took a huge leap over the ditch, which made for a perfect one and a half to the skinny log. But nothing that a little helicopter jumping wouldn't fix and off he went to the next fence, oh so proud of himself for clearing the ditch on the first try! And I would have to agree, there were lots of pats all around. He finished clean, within the time...a great way to end his first season of eventing. Really looking forward to getting him down to Aiken and getting him going all over again!