Brave - A Cross Country Tale

This guy. For real. He's amazing.
Yesterday Dino and I went for a quick cross country school at BCHP. My lovely friend was going to bring her horse along, but ended up deciding to leave him at home since he is recovering from some sort of strange Knee Bump. Even though it's a longish drive for her, she came up to the Horse Park anyway to be my ground person and videographer. What a rockstar!

My goal for the outing was to jump everything that had given me an anxiety attack at the horse trial, and just start to feel more comfortable with the tougher BN questions on the course. While not every ride to every fence was perfect, I think we definitely accomplished that goal!

For better or worse, the course at BCHP doesn't change much. Everything was still flagged from the previous day's HT, and the course was the same as it was when I had ridden it a few weeks ago. I was happy about the chance to take my time and build positive experiences over all of the 'scary' fences for both Dino and I.

You don't scare me anymore, tiny house! 
After warming up over the schooling fences and jumping an easy log a couple times to get my 'forward' installed, we headed out on the course! Dino easily jumped the white rolltop, and then we moved on to the tiny house to the table/feeder/whatever that's called. You can see in the video that he was REALLY backed off to the table, and stopped the first time. I think the issue there is definitely the terrain, which slopes downward just enough to need a very balanced ride to the wider fence, and the landing side is much steeper than it looks, making the backside of this jump feel more like a drop than a standard landing. But after a few tries, I figured out how to ride both the approach AND the landing like a boss.



After that success, I wanted to jump the chevron since that had been our other bogey fence at the HT. I let Dino walk up to it and check it out, since hey, this was a schooling day and I can do that! Anything to make him more confident. I picked up a GREAT canter and got an absolutely FABULOUS jump over this fence! I think this was one of my favorite jumps of the day - just perfection!

I love literally everything about this photo. 
After beasting the chevron, I wanted to jump the stacked logs in the woods again. That fence had terrified me, it had jumped terribly, and I wanted confidence and redemption. After assessing the crappy footing on the intended path to this jump, my friend pointed out a better, drier approach. She's so smart. So I launched my pony into another super canter and got this fabulous effort:

FOR REAL WHO EVEN ARE WE NOW THAT WE DO THIS.

Video footage [UPDATED b/c I realized it didn't include the chevron!]:



I wanted to school the ramp out of the water as well, since while Dino had jumped it GREAT at the HT, it scared the snot out of me. The first time into the water definitely surprised Mr. Ponypants, but after a few goes through he got a little more 'oomph' through the water and we were able to pop out over the ramp. The canter was a little weaker than I would have liked, but I was pleased with Dino's effort and the fact that I wasn't anxious about it AT ALL!



After the water, we headed down the airstrip to the roller coaster. I saw that thing, and I knew that it was time to really conquer that horrifying question.

The first time I attempted to launch myself over the edge of the cliff, I think my exact words were "Holy shit that's steep!" I was so disorganized once we hit the bottom of the ditch that I made the executive decision to bail out and try again. So I took it slow, made a short approach to keep us balanced, and tried again. And again. And our last try was AMAZING! We rode through that roller coaster like it was no big thing, I wasn't scared at ALL, and the whole thing just felt so smooth.


Our last jumps were ones that weren't on the course, and that I hadn't attempted before: a hanging log over some rocks and a row of tires. The first time over the log Dino looked HARD, I didn't back him up enough, and he stopped. Apparently rocks make logs scary. But no matter, this was a schooling day, so I just turned him around and tried again, and he made a great effort over the jump!

JUST LOOK AT THIS GUY!
After the log, we rolled back over the tires, which Dino STRONGLY considered stopping at (tires are scary, yo) but he was a good sport and popped over at the last second. I schooled the tire jump a couple more times to get him confident, and then we called it a day.




While not every jump we jumped was perfect, I was able to improve over each and every fence and question that we attempted on this outing. I was definitely in my pony's face a little more than I'd like to be, but I was very pleased with the fact that I was able to stay in the backseat and stay balanced when things got tricky. The takeaways from this schooling session are things that have, and will continue to, come up over and over: GET A GOOD, POWERFUL CANTER, and RIDE FORWARD! The sticky fences and awkward distances happened when my canter wasn't bouncy enough, and I know that my less-than-super-forward riding contributed to our refusals. But overall, I'm just thrilled with how this schooling went. I'm amazed at how confident I feel over these jumps, doing things that made me want to cry out of fear just thinking about it a year ago.

Switching to eventing has made me brave.



Comments

  1. There is SO MUCH awesomeness in these pictures, I can't even handle it! I'M SO PROUD OF YOU! You and Dino look phenomenal, and I think the picture of the chevron is my favorite too. I love his knees and his expression! You can see your confidence over the jumps and Dino is attacking everything. GREAT JOB!!! :D

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  2. Wow you guys look great! I hope Foster and I have just as much confidence building at our next XC lesson!

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  3. Ah! I love this so much! I saw your video of the roller coaster jump and through you guys make it look super easy. Like a canter in the park! :)

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  4. WOW. So much to love in every one of these pictures. You guys are doing great! LOVE the stacked log and chevron jump pictures. Dang girl! You guys are rockstars!

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  5. You guys look AMAZING!! Dino is eating up those jumps!

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  6. you guys look so great!!!! really not much else to it than that - those are legit fences and Dino's canter looks perfect! you must be beaming after that ride!!!!

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  7. You guys look awesome! So brave! So athletic! So pony! :)

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  8. Look at you go!! You guys are a real BN team now!

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  9. Rockstars! You guys are killing it

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  10. You guys look absolutely amazing!!! I love seeing how much braver both of you are with each outing!

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    1. The White Rolltop of Doom looks SMALL to me now, and I don't want to puke looking at the roller coaster. HOW'S THAT!? Pls tell Bobby to get his shit together so I can watch more Carly & Bobby helmet cam footage for inspiration.

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  11. Thank you guys SO MUCH for all the love and support!! I don't even recognize myself, in a good way!

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  12. THESE VIDEOS AND PICS AND EVERYTHING ARE SO COOL AND I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT IT THAT I'M TYPING IN ALL CAPS!!! But seriously this SO cool!!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. OLIVIA I THINK YOU WIN BEST COMMENT!

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