Twin Towers XC Schooling w/Photos and Video

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!


Water to log, and me with my hands way too high at the end:



Multiple runs over a log pile (with some dead space in between where she kept filming our barely visible heads, feel free to fast forward).  Fun fact, this is the pile of logs that was our very first XC jump way back in May of 2013, and we had a runout at it then.  



Fun fact - the last fence we take in this video (after a runout) is our-coming-to-Jesus fence from our first starter, where he stopped, I legged him over, he jumped it from a standstill, and he finally realized in that moment what XC was all about.

(This video is broken, my apologies.  Working on it.)


And ditches.  The ditch where I didn't fight him when he stopped, and he quickly decided to go over of his own volition:

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:


23 comments:

  1. I have the reverse problem with Fiction when it comes to ditches. He acts as if he doesn't even see them. I mean, he jumps them, but very carelessly, almost as if he's like 'wtf is this? this thing is stupid. I don't need to put any effort over it at all'. And I dunno - ditches don't scare me one bit, so maybe that is why?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure, but you better thank your lucky stars for that! Every single horse we have taken XC schooling in the past six months has initially had a problem with them, except for the guy who's done up to 1* and the super steady paint fellow. For an animal so good at jumping, it's a weird thing for them to not like.

      Delete
    2. Dino doesn't seem to have a ditch problem either... he way over-jumped his very first one but after that they were NBD. Maybe they are afraid of a tiger jumping out and grabbing them?!

      Delete
  2. Love that he was so happy and it looks like so much fun ... Despite the conversations you had :) But those are all tools for the future!

    Looking awesome!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep! I felt like I learned a lot that day.

      Delete
  3. What a great day you guys had! And he jumped that ditch so nicely after a few tries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! We got there. It still never felt great for me, but better toward the end.

      Delete
  4. Barry did not have an issue with the one ditch we did, but I think that was from all the trail riding he did. He learned to trust. You and Connor made great progress. I keep telling Roscoe that if he is going to be my event pony he has to learn water will not eat him. We work the arena puddle after it rains much to his dismay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, good for you with the puddles. I point Connor to the deepest point of every puddle we come across no matter what we're doing. It helped a lot with his first water crossing I think.

      Delete
  5. Connor is adorable even as he is spooking at the ditch! I have always thought it was a funny thing that most horses are so spooky about them - wouldn't you think that a ditch (or maybe a small creek) would be like the one thing that they might actually have to jump across on their own in the wild?

    You and Conner really look fantastic and I can't wait to see how your first show of the season goes for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it was funny too, which is why I asked my trainer. The lack of downward depth perception makes sense. Thank you!

      Delete
  6. Super stars! And gosh- when you have him put together, he has just an AMAZING canter!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is THE biggest compliment you could give a Welsh Cob owner! Thank you!

      Delete
  7. my horse hates ditches too. there must be horse eating trolls down there or something.... you guys look great though!

    ReplyDelete
  8. He's so springy and adorable! I love watching you guys jump.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You guys look great, and that saddle looks like it's fitting you perfectly! Over the ditches and through the woods... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. You guys got over that ditch quickly! Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I almost feel like there should be a comparison write up of fitting saddle vs non-fitting saddle for the rider. You look so much more comfortable now!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love, LOVE how cute his jump is over the logs! Scopey boy!

    ReplyDelete
  13. ahhh so much fun!! glad you guys had a blast out there - complete with good learning moments. one of my favorite xc sayings comes from Sally Cousins: she says if you don't like the way a fence looks the first time around, ride it for everything you're worth bc it's not going to look any better the second time lol

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

  © Blogger template Shush by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP