The very first thing I should do is clarify that it was not me who was rockin’ the cross country course on Luc. But I did get to attend the lesson as spectator and official golf cart seat warmer/photographer and had a blast! It was the first time Luc has been off property this year, and only the second time in the past few years. He was a good boy getting on the trailer but was a little stressed out once we arrived at the beautiful Wesley Clover Parks. His owner, Jen, was a tad bit nervous as she was having her first lesson in a decade and was afraid she’d be kicked out for her poor equitation. For the record, I never had that fear as she is a lovely rider. Now if it had been me – well then it would have been a whole other story.
I was a little concerned during the warm-up with coach Sandi Patterson (love her!). Luc was being his usual lazy self now that he had settled in, and I think she was not too impressed with his complete lack of momentum. But once they got to the jumping part of the warm-up, he transformed into his usual superstar self (and in a scary new arena to boot!). And Jen wasn’t too shabby herself. Joking! She was fabulous and got lots of positive feedback from Sandi.
After the warm-up it was time to hit the cross country course. It was both Luc and Jen’s first time schooling cross country – and THEY TOTALLY ROCKED IT! We thought it would be a good idea to get out on the course seeing as they entered their first three-day event competition in just a few weeks!
Luc hunted down to the first fence, a little log very similar to what we have at home, and soared over it without a care in the world. Sandi was impressed (yay!). Phew, first one down, only 13 more to go to complete the pre-entry course Luc will have to tackle again in a few weeks. There were only a few fences on course that gave him pause – the scary stone wall being the worst – but thanks to some excellent coaching, Jen and Luc made it over every single fence on the first try! It was hard to tell who was beaming more, me as an unbelievably proud sister, or Jen, who you know, was actually riding. I think I may have edged her out in the end, and probably annoyed Sandi a little with all of my talking and gushing. Opps, sorry! I just can’t help it. I’m just so proud of both of them!
There was only one moment during the entire lesson that I had a bit of an uh oh moment. Galloping away from the very scary stone wall Luc got a little strong and they botched the distance to the next fence – another raised log. It was a tad uncomfortable to watch with his legs flaying about, but he managed to get them tucked up and under in time to clear the log. Thank goodness! I’m glad our mom wasn’t there to see it, as she’s not super happy around horses (I know, right!), and tends to get a little more anxious watching her darling daughter jump immovable objects.
Sandi even suggested we consider a slightly (and I do mean slightly) stronger bit for Luc on competition day as he loved the long gallops and jumping. We might go bit shopping in the next few days to see. I NEVER thought the words stronger bit and Luc would be used in the same sentence together – but then I do forget how much he loves to jump!
All in all it was an amazing lesson, and even though I wasn’t the one riding I feel like I learned a lot as well. There are a number of things Sandi showed Jen that I can incorporate into my own riding. I’m hoping in the future when the funds allow it to take a few lessons at Wesley Clover Parks myself. It’s a stunning facility and Sandi and the team all seemed so great. Plus, lessons would go a long way in helping me get back into proper riding form.
I do have to admit that a large part of me was sad that I wasn’t out there on the course with Jen and Luc, jumping around on my own cross country machine. Not sure my nerves would actually be up to it though. Maybe one day!
I do want to give one more giant shout out to Sandi Patterson and the entire Wesley Clover Parks team. It took us a while to actually make the lesson a reality (weather and conflicts caused several cancellations), but it was WELL worth the wait. Thank you all again for making this an amazing experience for Jen, Luc and me. I can’t wait to come back and see you all again!