May 15, 2013

XC Schooling Wrap-Up

Due to scheduling issues, we ended up schooling at the Hoosier Horse Park today, a place Connor has been many times but he'd never gone XC there before.  There were highs and lows, but overall, I'm grateful for the opportunity to have gotten that out of the way before Saturday, and I'm excited about Connor's prospects as an eventing pony.

Things we learned:
Being silly on the trailer
1. He does better when he's cantering, because when he trots the fences he has a lot of time to think.
2. When he has time to think, he looks at all the stuff around the fence (rocks, trees, people) and not the fence itself.
3. Down banks are hard for both of us, and I gave him a bad ride to our first one, which scared both of us.  It sucks to have that been his first experience, but he did go down it, albeit hesitantly, every time.  My constant problem of being forward was magnified, so when I looked down at this baby bank and went "HOLY SHIT THAT'S HUGE!" Connor went "SHE'S AFRAID, THERE MUST BE A TIGER UNDER THERE!" and launched it and I fell forward, but not off!  But I was still pretty shook up and angry at myself for knowing that was going to happen, trying to fix it, and still failing.  Thankfully, we have banks at home that we can school.
4. Up banks are awesome.  He was uncertain the first time, but every time after that I really felt him lock on to it and go, "I got this, Mom!"  It was an awesome feeling.
5. He gets tough when we're cantering out there, but not in a bad way, in an "I know my job and like it way."  Ears up, cantering around happily.
6. Water was no problemo, as expected.
7. He really enjoyed himself, after an initial "moment" at pretty much every single fence.

The down bank experience and the crappy trot fences really shook me up, which is unfortunate, because he did really well and clearly enjoyed himself.  I'll be okay, but it's clouding my mind as I write this, otherwise I'd be a lot more enthusiastic.

At the end, my trainer could tell I was down on myself, so she told me to go canter ahead of the group as they walked back to the trailer, and to take the tiny ramp jump, canter through the water, then do a long canter back to the up bank, then the fences we started with. It was the first time I got to do a long canter and the first time I cantered all those fences, and finally, it clicked.  Without that moment, I would have focused on nothing but the bad down bank experience, but ending with him listening to me, and forward, and clearly enjoying himself, and the two of us seeing our distances and not the lions next to the fences, really made me feel better.  My trainer is such a genius, and so tactful.

All in all, looking forward to this weekend!


  1. Hang in there. He's a good boy and it sounds like a lot of the trouble is just him being green and unsure. It will definitely get better as you guys get to jump cross country more. And it's SO fun! :)

  2. That's awesome! It is always good to go on to something else to stop obsessing over something that shook you up.

  3. Don't worry. I can't remember a BN course I have seen with a down bank, not that I know the courses in your area. You will have plenty of time to work on them, I would guess. You are so lucky to be heading to a show!!

  4. Your trainer sounds like a great one! I too focus on the one 'bad' thing that happens instead of all the good. Why do we do that?

    You two will be awesome this weekend!

  5. Down banks are hard! In general, you'll get better over time!

  6. Ah, he sounds like Sherman on a course. Makes for an interesting ride. Bravo for doing a down bank so soon. There really is no way to describe the feeling to someone who has not experienced it. I think the first time is always rocky.
    Just breathe and have fun.

  7. Don't let a few bad jumps get you down! Sounds like it was an overall really positive experience and he's going to be a pro :)

  8. Sounds like more good then bad to me :) I commend you for being brave enough to do cross country, it scares me!!