We jumped back into things last night with a short, but effective ride. The pony felt amazing, and I felt great too - it's amazing what a week off does for all those little aches and pains that normally follow me around. In the moment, I don't notice them too badly or consciously make any accommodations for them, but after I've had time off I'm always surprised at how easy everything feels and how much I was apparently compensating (and inadvertently blocking the pony) before! Midge has been hacking out every few days and did a couple of vaulting classes in my absence, so she wasn't super fresh...more just relaxed and loose feeling.
Since we both had issues with the houses at our xc clinic we made pretend houses in the arena by leaning the gym mats the vaulters use against our jumps, creating a solid triangle shape. We also added tons of fill to everything 'open', including barrels, cones, and random shrubbery. Finally, we draped a blanket over an oxer to create a pretend rolltop.
I have no idea if our plan will translate into real life solid jumps, but it did make the horses look! Midge was hesitant, mostly about the gym mat fake house. If you remember, the first time she met the gym mats in the form of a fake liverpool we let her look at them and she got a foot on one and managed to kind of half fall down somehow, laid on it, and decided it was comfy/it ate her and she was dying and didn't want to get up. Strange pony. After that, those mats are met with a ton of suspicion on my part :) Luckily, this time there was no napping mid course, instead she jumped it huge a few times while I told her how amazing and brave she is. We jumped everything else a couple of times with no issue, so I called it a big win and quit while she was still feeling good.
Huge win for me too, because I felt her considering refusing a few times, but managed to stay soft and confident and not make a big deal out of it. Just staying calm and
trusting her to get over seems to be working better for me than making a move and adding more pressure.
Fitness wise, there was a little huffing and puffing going on, even though we probably jumped 12-15 times total with plenty of walk breaks in between. Poor pony, even after only 2 weeks of low key rides she's lost a noticeable amount of cardio fitness.
Tonight, we dressage. Because next week we head out to our first 'real' horse trials!