Just What The Doctor Ordered
It's been a laid-back year, and it's hard to believe that until this past Saturday, it had been nearly a year since Dino and I went cross country!
It will also surprise precisely no one that as soon as I arranged the outing with Sully's Mom and another friend, I started getting anxious about it.
Our last foray into cross country jumping at the clinic was less than confidence-building, and I was worried that it would be an anxiety-spiral of a stop-fest. The night before, I was already wondering why I do this to myself, and considering entering the ground poles division of the horse trial I'm planning on doing in the fall, or maybe retiring us from eventing altogether and taking up bareback bridleless trail riding.
Thankfully, our little field trip ended up being the absolute perfect outing, and just what the doctor ordered.
Sully's Mom hasn't been riding or jumping much this year either, and the friend we met just wanted to pop her young horse over a handful of BN jumps to give him a relaxed, happy school. My goal was to have a nice little hack and jump some teeny logs to remind myself that we can do this cross country thing. We were all on the same page, and it worked out really well for everyone!
I started off just moseying around the park watching the other two jump the bigger BN fences while I took Dino for a splash though the water complex, and trotted over a microscopic log and a very small coop. I wanted to keep my panic level at 0, and told myself that today was not a day to push my mental limits, but to remember that jumping XC can be fun. Dino was all about this plan, and to my delight he was locking on to each little jump, moving up into a canter on his own and popping over them with confidence. To feel him pull me to the tiny fences was a HUGE confidence-builder for me, and as we rode around the park I started to think that maybe the BN jumps didn't look so bad...
But again, this wasn't a day to try and prove to myself that we could school BN XC, it was a day to casually pop over itty bitty jumps, and that we did! Soon I was feeling confident enough to approach things from a canter, and I had a great time just popping over small logs and coops, Dino locking on to each one and taking me right over without even a thought of sucking back. Our friends also found a happy note to end on fairly quickly, and we all headed out on a short trail ride to end our time at the park.
I left the horse park feeling so happy, satisfied, and relaxed. Dino was foot-perfect the entire time, and while I definitely felt that we need to keep working on getting him off his forehand on XC, he happily and confidently dragged me over every little log an coop, and I never once felt panicked about anything. This ride was exactly what I needed, and next time I'll be ready to start stringing more jumps together, and maybe I'll even feel up to tackling something over 2' tall!
But if not... there's always the ground pole division.