The courses were so cool that I decided I had to sketch them out for you:
Course #2 - Handy Round
To sum it up, Tucker was a BLAST. He was really brave, jumped everything (was even a little underwhelmed by the jumps, as you can tell from the photos where he's basically cantering over everything), and very handy. I had the best day. Halfway through my handy course, I thought to myself "THIS IS SO FUN!" (How often does that happen at a horse show?)
We only had one slip-up all day... we hand galloped beautifully to fence #7 in the handy round, and then Tucker just forgot to pick up his feet all the way and hung a toe, taking the gate down with him. Of course, being the careful guy that he is, having rails makes him really ticked off and he almost had a temper tantrum upon landing, but I think the slick grass made him think twice. Unfortunately, he was flustered, and missed his lead change, so we cross-cantered almost all the way to fence 8 before I got him to re-focus and pick a lead. I ignored the cross cantering and just kept going forward with my eye on the next jump, so the last jump itself was actually good (a little redemption). So, I think we need to practice some hand gallops at home. I have a feeling, if I know myself, that once I saw the distance was there and we were on it, I probably took my leg off for the last stride. I remember thinking "ok, there it is, just sit still" and in hindsight, I should have said "there it is, just support."
All in all though, I'd say I have a pretty darn fabulous derby horse. I was really, really impressed with him. Everytime I asked him to do something (trot jump? hand gallop? long two-stride?) his response was "absolutely, I can do that." As I said to Alicia afterward, "My horse is really FUN." Do I think we'll be rubbing elbows with Jersey Boy and Brunello anytime soon? That's a no. But do I plan to enter all the local derbies I can get to from now on? Heck yeah I do. I think we might even end up being competitve with a little practice. Who knows? Either way, I am so happy that I have such a wonderful horse.
And... I can't wait to order photos! These are the ones I plan to order:
What do you think?