The past few weeks keep teasing at spring, but it seems like for every lovely sunny day, it's followed by three of cold, gloomy rain. At the very least, the grass is coming in green and the snow banks have finally departed.
I started a couple of posts around March that never got finished, so I'm going to try to recap some of the happenings from the last couple of months.
Firstly, the barn is now full...
Rusty, an 11 hand chestnut pony gelding, arrived in early February and immediately became a scrappy little brother to Dexter and Justin. The hope is that he'll be a leadline pony, but at the very least he is a nice companion for Dexter when the others go off the farm. He likes his new digs and aside from a penchant for rolling while lungeing, he's been very polite to handle.
The latest addition is a mare! We have only ever had one mare in the family before, and it was my first pony, Misty. This mare is an Appendix Quarter Horse we found through Wentworth's Huntsman, and she's got some hunting under her belt and a love for being out on the trails. We've named her "Rosemarry," but so far everyone just keeps calling her Mare. Mom is looking forward to having something to ride again after several years off!
Somewhere sandwiched in between acquiring horses, I got to check off one of my big goals of the year and completed my USEA Course Designer seminar/certification. It also gave me an awesome excuse to go back to Aiken for the first time in 6 years and visit some of my favorite people and horses (namely getting to watch Bouncer and his lease rider rock around cross-country at Sporting Days).
The seminar itself was a really interesting and helpful experience; many of the exercises were focused on looking at overall flow and functionality when building a course, which is something I often feel challenged by when putting something together at home. There are so many factors to account for when you design a jump course that can significantly impact the overall experience for riders and horses. It was heartening to realize that even large recognized events often face similar issues and that half of the job of any TD, organizer or designer is problem-solving and thinking outside of the box.
Last weekend we had our first cross-country schoolers of the season, and would have had more this week if it weren't for all of the rain. Fingers crossed we will get some good sunshine and warm temps soon to finish drying out the back field and I can put some of my learning from the seminar to actual use. In the meantime, we have Babette Gonyea, long-time friend of RABT, coming up to teach on May 6th! Lesson slots have filled, but auditing is free.