Yes, it was about 90 degrees that day, but I'm so, so glad we did it, despite the low level heat exhaustion I and the other 7 participants were suffering by the end of the 4 hours. Kim and her partner set up about 12 different obstacles in the indoor and outdoor arenas-passing through giant flags, pool noodles and brush, walking over bridges, mattresses, rubber duckies, cut-up pieces of hose, crushed plastic bottles, working with giant balls and tarps, walking under wind-socks and various other colorful man-made materials, and of course crossing water.
Miles made them all his b&#*h. Seriously, not to brag, but he was so, so amazing. I love this horse, trust we have a good relationship, and I thought we would do well, but I had no idea just HOW brave and curious my boy is. We did every obstacle multiple times, except walking on the pedestal. I didn't wrap his front legs and he kept banging them against it, thinking I wanted him to walk over it (which makes sense considering the jump work we've done) and I just didn't want him to hurt himself. He was trying hard to please and was in no way scared of it, and other people had similar issues with their horses so I don't feel too bad about that.
I hope we are able to get Kim to come back and do an advanced class. ALL the horses were superstars, and everyone was pleased with their horses and happy-tired by the end. Miles was the only TB in a sea of Quarter Horses, Tennessee Walkers, Morgans and crosses thereof. He trusted me throughout the day, both on the ground and under-saddle, and did himself and his breed proud. I couldn't be happier with how the day turned out. What I loved most was that he was engaged and happy the whole time-even when he snorted at something or scooted through an obstacle, he looked to me to tell him it was ok and lead him back through. The few times he didn't go through/over something the first time, he never stopped being engaged and trying to solve the problem. Damn, he would make a great cross-country horse:)
REALLY wish I had pictures, but you can see on the MCC website what a lot of the course looks like. If you live in the MI/OH area I HIGHLY recommend this clinic. Kim and her partner Niki were amazing teachers and advocate a great gentle-leader approach to work working with horses. No force is involved at all-being assertive when necessary is encouraged, but it's all about creating a positive experience for the horses and rewarding the slightest try. It's amazing what our horses will give us when we whisper instead of scream. I'm not ashamed to say Miles charmed the pants off both of them, especially Niki-she told me she has a 32 year old OTTB at home, and said that TBs get a bad-rap when it comes to participating in these clinics, where everyone assumes they will be "spooky". I pray I'm lucky enough to have Miles for another 20-plus years, since I can't imagine my life without him. I have a better horse than I thought, and I thought he was pretty damn awesome before:)