There was more to Millbrook.
The actual young event horse competition was on the Thursday. On Friday while Selena prepared for her dressage test with Peanuts, I lunged and rode Solo who was moderately well behaved. On the Saturday the cross country was running past all the work areas and we decided to lunge Solo only. However, he was exceptionally good when I lunged him and I just hopped on and watched a bit of the cross country from on his back. He was interested but not stupid or hysterical, just “interested” and he stood there watching and grazing later on in the day too.
On the Sunday I wanted to work Solo over near the stadium rings. There were two warm up areas both on sand and I chose to start in the enclosed one. Things were going pretty well – not brilliant, but OK. I had walked and trotted around quietly, there were half a dozen or so other horses in the ring and he was doing well until we made a turn across the diagonal in canter with a view to coming back to trot as we progressed towards the fenceline around the work area. He was not paying full attention. Not being really bad but nadgering away at the bit and generally not going forward. All of a sudden, just as I passed through X he started to fall onto his knees, next thing I knew, I was sitting on him while he swam his way over the sand, still on a nice straight diagonal. Finally, just before the fenceline he rolled gently over onto his side and got up again (leaving me on the sand on my side). He was completely unhurt bar some scrapes on his knees which I reverently hope are not going to grow in with white hairs….ugh! I hopped back up and set off again and would you believe it, he went like a superstar. He was unbelievable. Balanced, straight, attentive, quiet in his mouth, changing reins and working in all three paces – I was absolutely amazed. He has NEVER gone like that before.
So…did it last…? No, of course not. But he is going to attend another couple of shows if we can arrange it. They give him more to think about than stating his opinions.
We got home, he had a day off on the Monday and I rode him on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – he was mildly argumentative on the Tuesday and went like a superstar on Wednesday and Thursday – fabulous. Then…..he had Friday being ponied, Saturday lunged and then I tried to ride him on his own again on Sunday. He was SO bad, napping back to the barn that in the end I had to phone Selena and ask her to come out to the fields in the green machine to help me keep him going forward on the line I had chosen. He was APPALLING!! Once I got to the sand ring I schooled his little butt and made him go all over the property on the way home – he was as good as gold. This week he has hacked in company and been good – he has far too much to say for himself. FAR too much.
The photo is from Millbrook during the gallop phase of his jumping test. When I look at it I remember why it is I think he is such a fabulous horse, and I forgive him for being such a testing four year old.