Monday 30 May 2016

XC Schooling

Another weekend filled with horse activities! Sunday was a lot kinder to us weather wise...instead of freezing rain and wind, we had a nice sunny summer day to play in.

Bridget is excited to go for an adventure

A picture of my warm up for the show the day prior. Noon ride time, not that you can tell ha ha

The farm we rode at was amazing...when I grow up I'd love my own 150 acre oceanfront equestrian paradise! It's about an hours drive on a windy road, but no ferries, so it's super convenient by our standards. The XC field was a little wet due to all the rain we had the day before, but still do-able, and the space to gallop much appreciated in our land of mountains and million dollar mini farms.

Is taking a screenshot of the aerial imagery of the farm creepy? Probably.
I was NERVOUS. That fall last week is SO messing with my head. What is working in my favour is that I've had far, far more wonderful rides on Bridget than scary ones, so I know if I push past the nerves I'll be ok and start enjoying things.

Bridget obviously felt my bad vibes and wasn't her normal confident self, spooking at everything and generally being a bit silly.

She wasn't overly keen to leave the group, so I had a good laugh about that. She'd canter when I asked, and it was big and bouncy...and pretty much not going anywhere. She's using the dressage against me lol, like "but I thought you want more canter, bigger, taller steps? Surely not galloping?" Smart pony, why did you not bring that game to the dressage show on Saturday? Also noted, she can sit her butt down in the canter plenty when she's so inclined! You've given the game away, Ms B.  

After some fairly rude antics we established forward and I started riding like I meant it. I forgot how assertive I need to be to get the pony galloping across country, not to mention getting her over the jumps! EC gave me a pep talk. "Just find a good pace and gallop around and jump whatever you're comfortable with. But you'd better mean it and you'd better tell her you're 100% confident doing it. If you can stick it out and ride like that for 20 minutes I guarantee you're going to have a different horse. You both just need confidence!"

So, I rode my butt off, and things were a little ugly, but I forgot to be nervous. Then, as predicted B started getting the idea and taking me to the jumps and galloping nicely and things were fun and magical. There may be hope for us yet :)

Highlight for me: There was a table(?) type thing with about a 2' step up, two canter strides and about a 2'6" drop off the back side. Not big by any means, but drops make me nervous. No issues though - Bridget easily cantered up and off like NBD. We worked it into our course, then added a couple of strides into water and out and over a small log. Then a big gallop around the field jumping whatever looked fun. So proud of the pony. The only thing that caught us out a little was a fair sized log in the forest that had a bit of a drop behind it. I wasn't expecting the drop and rode it poorly, and Bridget stumbled but I stayed in the tack for the win ;)
There is a ditch up there next to the tree we'd like to jump. Also, there are cows next to the tree.

Also, there were cows in the lower field...those caused more mayhem than anything. Brave event horses weren't so brave about that. Thankfully, with Bridget being Bridget, she was just wondering where all the new friends came from and was all pleased with suddenly being the bravest, most bad ass pony out there :)

While to start we weren't as confident as I'd have hoped, we had a super positive outing and had plenty of fun. I'm happy with what we accomplished this weekend, and am calling it a huge win since simply getting in the saddle and walking earlier in the week pretty much made me feel ill with nerves!

I'm definitely returning there next month for another xc lesson!


  1. That looks like such an amazing place!! I know how tough it is to regain confidence so I'm glad you had such an amazing day :)

  2. That sounds positive! Good job , both of you

  3. oooh what a pretty venue!! finishing with a happier and more confident horse than you started with is always a win in my book!