After some bucks and dummy spitting (Willo not me!), David the trainer told me to canter him away - which definitely did the trick as we then jumped clear round the whole course! We were both ring rusty and in racing speak 'needed the run,' but benefitted hugely from the outing and if I'm looking on the bright side, he never touched a pole! All is well that ends well. He had also been really upset in the trailer which is unlike him - maybe the excitement of going to a party for the first time in a while had got to him, but also last time he travelled was when we moved yards. Who knows, just not our day! Huge thanks to Sharon Kilminster, my lovely trainer and sponsor, who gave up her whole day to chauffeur us and give moral support.
Since then we've been doing more jump training and flatwork at home, and tested out the local gallops which will be crucial for his fitness. We've also taken Ruby and Willo to one of Sharon's dressage clinics, with some pleasing results, although my inner thighs were less pleased after all those half halts, and having to ride without stirrups. Ouch!
Finally, this Sunday we went to Tweseldown for some XC schooling with Robert Stevens Eventing. We jumped everything, and minus the blip where he decided a ditch was full of monsters, I felt some of his confidence returning, and on a couple of occasions really took on the fences which was lovely. He's a sensitive chap and is very particular about the way he's ridden, so I'm trying hard to keep him happy so that we can get that partnership back that we developed at the back end of last year - the one that landed us in the ribbons! It's not quite there yet, but we're well on the way to picking up where we left off, and hopefully with some more targeted training things will become more fun and less thinking!