Sunday ended up being crazy. I had volunteered to fill in for stalls that weekend long before I knew it was our last chance to go XC schooling before Penny Oaks, so I got up at 5:30 to get to the barn by 7 and race through feeding/turnout/stalls before the trailer left at 10 for the 3 hour drive to Twin Towers in Ohio.
|Trailering ended up being...interesting...but that's a story for another day.|
Connor, for the first time, knew we were going XC. He was forward, forward, forward and feeling frisky.
I actually warmed up in the permanent Dressage ring just to give him some visual boundaries.
We started over some tiny logs on the ground, first one at the trot, then a long line of 2 at the canter, and he took off galloping on the other side of this 10 inch log. It was not mean spirited, he was ears up, truly happy to be out there. And maybe a little overstimulated, who knows. He was feisty the entire day, though it became a more manageable feisty after the first half hour.
|As we finished up a line on the (shorter, steeper) other side of this hill at a strong canter, I gave him some leg and he attacked the hill at a gallop. We both had so much fun!|
He definitely needed the XC reminder, but so did I. BN looked huge to my eye out there until we got our groove going. XC fences are definitely intimidating if you're not used to seeing them.
We had a few runouts, but I learned something from every single one. My trainer was spot on with her assessments of everything, including when I was slightly intimidated by a fence and Connor told on me. Takeaways:
- I need an aggressive canter on XC, it can't be too quiet. It also can't be too fast or too flat even though it is aggressive.
- If I am intimidated by a fence, he's going to be intimidated.
- Leg around him and on him hard. (Which is SO much easier to do in my new saddle!)
- My back needs to be tight, I can't let him fling me around. (When my back is where it should be, I can feel the back of my vest.)
One of the coolest parts of the day happened at the ditch, which we've only schooled on one previous XC outing. (Ditches are really hard for horses because they don't have good downward depth perception. When they jump them the first couple of times, they often dolphin jump them out of fear/lack of understanding of how to jump it, and they scare/hurt themselves. Also, ditches are "never comfortable for the rider." All of that according to my trainer.)
He initially refused it, but decided to go through with it and jump it much more quickly than I thought he would. You can see in the video the moment he changed his mind and decided to take it.
Videos? Yes, videos!
We ended up jumping this ditch until he was so bored, his brain was leaking out of his ears:
Runout and then a good fence to end on: