August 18, 2015

"XC" School

Saturday my trainer scheduled XC schooling lessons in groups of 2-3 on the property (this requires clearing the main turnout field, so it takes some prior planning).  We discussed this after discussing "The Plan", and mutually agreed that I should do a Dressage ride in the field, and end with walking, trotting and maybe cantering over a ground log, but no jumping.

(This post will be sprinkled with photos my Favorite Barn Rat took at the clinic.)

And you know what?  We had an excellent ride.  He came out with his XC hat on (I mean, it IS the XC field), and was all ready to cowboy over some fences and probably land bucking on the other side again, but I shifted his paradigm by asking for the same stuff we did in the arena on Thursday.

After a while he settled in and started giving me good work, so we asked him to go on a 12m circle with the log at one point on the circle, and asked him to keep the bend and keep his back level/not fall apart over the log at the walk.  We want to teach him that fences can be comfortable if he just keeps his shit together.  Harder than it sounds, of course.

Connor says STRIKE A POSE!

After about 45 minutes of work, I remembered to both sit up and lift my hands just a hair at the same time (usually I remember one and not the other...), and he gave me the most insanely amazing trot.  I actually diverted away from the log just to ride it a little longer, it felt so cool!  My trainer was like "Wow, he's really lifting his front end there!  Wow!"  I assume it was like this trot, only with more bend and minus the tension:

We quit there, without cantering.  I could feel he was still a little frisky and I didn't want to start something I would be obligated to finish after 45 minutes of good work already.

Favorite Barn Rat asked me afterward if I was disappointed at being grounded from jumping.  I said, "No way, this is the deal you get when you don't have a 'made' horse.  You do what they need you to do, not what you want to do."

Plus I really really like Dressage.  So that helps.


  1. very clever to put Connor in an xc frame of mind but then direct him into dressage, and that trot sounds to die for!

  2. Yup. I applaud you for taking your time. It can be so freaking hard, but it's totally worth it.

    (Says someone who's way behind you, haha.)

  3. Nice! I like how you replied to FBR - life lessons :)

  4. Great progress! Good idea to school this way too