The arenas were freshly dragged on Friday which inspired me to pull out some trail equipment. I haven't shown trail yet this year, it looks like the end of June will be our first chance. I plan to show in Rookie trail at the Region 1 AQHA in August and maybe Novice as well. Trail has always been one of my favorite classes, I love the technical challenge as my brain never really has time to get in the way. Grace loves it too, when I rode her into the arena with the obstacles set up she kept drifting towards them during our warm up. We worked on lope transitions which are coming along quite nicely and then I worked the gate to let her catch her breath.
My first experience with Trail Class was with Penny Jones. She taught me to take my time when schooling an obstacle. This is where you see me stop and adjust my jeans. If I rushed the horse while schooling the horse would then rush and anticipate in the show ring. One of my biggest challenges is keeping Grace's focus and getting her to wait on me.Working the gate itself has never been an issue, just like a trail bridge she is always willing to just power through it. It is the finesse that we've been working on. One thing I discovered yesterday is that I also struggle with taking my time. When side passing poles I became frustrated with Grace who was kept taking a step forward and a step back. I finally took her off the poles took a deep breath and tried again, this time slowing myself down and of course it was 1,000 times better. Sigh.
Speaking of poles remember when last year loping over poles was kind of a big deal? I think we've come though that now. The thing I love about this clip is that even when the distance isn't perfect, Grace carries on like it isn't a big deal. A year ago a missed distance would have caused her to tuck her butt and run. Grace is becoming a joy to ride on pattern, she does this new thing where she waits on me. This also means that I actually have to show up and ride and be the leader she is looking for. I plan to start throwing poles out in the arena on a regular basis for the summer. Working the obstacles is great but I know that the improvement is a result of the homework we've done over the winter without them.