Fair Hill Course Walk with Jimmy

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cherie, genius, had asked Jimmy at the last gymnastics clinic if he would be walking the course at Fair Hill. He said he was, and she asked if we could join in. He said yes, but he didn’t know what time it would be. We had a plan. We would spend the entire day there and keep an eye on Jimmy. Sort of stalk him so we could do that course walk. It ended up being much easier because he posted the time on his site and Cherie was probably the first person to see it.

We spent the day at Fair Hill. Watching the dressage, shopping, having lunch, shopping, checking out the exhibits, shopping. You get the idea. Around 3:15 Jimmy got up and we knew we had to go. He drove to the start box. We had to walk. I mean speed walk, at least we thought we were speed walking – there was no way we were going to miss a moment.
He was walking the three star course with two riders, Josh Barnacle and Debbie Rosen. Cherie and I filed in behind. If you’ve never been to Fair Hill, the course is rather “hilly”. It’s not flat and we found out that Jimmy walks faster than any human alive. At least we think so. I ride 5 or 6 horses a day and I was winded and sweating in no time flat. Determination was our best friend and Cherie and I toughed it out. We were really happy each time we got to a jump, to hear what Jimmy had to say and to catch our breath before the next walk phase. We were feeling like wimps until Josh said he should have trained to do the course walk with Jimmy. Josh went on to put in a solid performance in the cross country phase. Debbie, put in a fantastic ride but fell with three fences to go. We were rooting for them both.

We walked for 2 and 1/2 hours. It was fantastic and I learned a lot. At the end of the walk Jimmy asked how we were doing and I told him I had been reading the book he suggested. Also I had been doing the exercises. He asked if they were working and I said yes, but likely not enough, knowing I had a clinic with him on Tuesday.
The book is Riding Logic and it’s written in an old style that is very hard to follow. That said, it’s doing more for Birdie than I ever thought possible. I was a quarter the way through the book and the author kept referencing the “badly made horse”. I kept thinking “why am I reading a book about horses with bad conformation?” Well, keep reading, its about badly trained horses. The key part of the book is the part about showing the horse to the ground. My bird needs this more than anything and I’ve been working on it.

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