Pre-BN Cross Country School

Before diving into the fun stuff, I wanted to take a moment and express my deep sorrow for Lauren upon the loss of her husband, Tim. I wish I had words that would help make this better for her. Several of us are trying to get together to do something for Lauren, and if you're interested in pitching in, please head over to Tracy's blog and get in touch with her. It's been truly amazing to see our little blogging community rally around her in this terrible time. We love you Lauren!

But life is funny, and while a friend may be grieving miles away, everything else goes on despite that.

A cute pony with poultice legs to transition us from sad to happy.

So I went XC schooling yesterday.

I went with a fellow weenie eventer that I had met at my last horse trial at BCHP. The two of us got along really well and stayed in touch after the horse show, and had been planning on getting out to school together for quite a while now. The weather and our schedules FINALLY cooperated, and we met up yesterday afternoon to get in a good XC school.

My friend had just moved up to BN, and with my impending move-up this weekend, we are both working on a lot of the same things. But both of us had the same main goal in mind for our outing: conquer the water complex!

Neither of our horses are fans of going through the water, so that was first on the agenda after warming up over some smaller stadium fences and a cute little baby log. Dino felt a little sticky, and the footing was a bit deep in spots, but he was jumping pretty well to start.

At the water complex, we started off just walking and trotting the horses through together. They were both cautious, but very good and obedient boys and marched right through after some slight hesitation at the edge of the water. As they gained confidence, we had them trot through one at a time, and you guys, Dino ended up CANTERING THROUGH THE WATER BY HIMSELF LIKE A GROWN-UP EVENT PONY! I was so proud! He figured out that the water wasn't going to kill him, and though he stretched his little neck down to it each time, he didn't hesitate at all once we got to the point of cantering. We even jumped a gate sort of jump and then cantered on through the water, just like we would on course. My friend also jumped the BN ramp that was set just a stride away from the water, but I felt like Dino was experiencing so much "drag" through the complex that attempting a good-sized jump afterwards might not go so well. Even so, I'm really happy with how confident he was in the water!

Can't get over how shiny and msucley he's getting!! 
Having conquered the water, we moved on to some other jumps. The course was still set from the recognized horse trial that happened over the weekend, so it was great to see what a "legit" BN course looks like, and to know that what I'll see on Friday will likely not be as big.

I scoped out a more friendly-looking fence - a funny looking sort of feeder type thing that looked to be the same for both the BN and the N courses... but it was on the smaller side and the shape of it said "I won't kill you!" to my eye.

Dino, of course, jumped it the first time I pointed him at it without hesitation. Cross-country is his favorite game. That being done, we headed over to school the ditch a bit. Dino, ever the perfect event pony, just loped over it like NBD. 99 problems but a ditch ain't one. He's so good. After schooling just the ditch, I strung together a jump made of barrels on an uphill slope, to the ditch, and then I was GOING to jump a "big" (terrifying) green bench a few strides after the ditch. But... my pony landed a little flat and the bench was scary so I totally chickened out and didn't jump the bench. Part of me wishes I had made myself do it, but I really didn't want the excuse to ride to a stop at ANYTHING!

Seriously, I need sunglasses to look at him these days. 
We ended our adventure with a couple of fences that really put the fear of God into me: a solid white rolltop and a house. I was feeling confident, Dino was jumping like a machine, and I really wanted to get over these two jumps to prove to myself that we could do it and not die.

After checking out the footing on the takeoff and landing sides of each fence, since it was a little deep in spots from the rain over the weekend and the HT the day before, I just picked up the canter and went for it.

And Dino jumped first the rolltop, and then the house, like a complete and total champion of everything. He landed galloping and looking for the next one! I stayed with him, and while I did chase him a bit to the distance on our way to the house the second time, I didn't pull him to a close spot. I didn't feel panicky or anxious, and after we finished up, I found myself eyeing the bigger BN fences and some of the smaller N fences thinking, "I want to jump that!"

The outing wasn't totally perfect; I felt that our canter was a little bit all over the place and I never really found the good rhythm that we do when actually on course at a competition, but I think I made the best of every not-perfect distance, and most importantly, jumped a ton of BN fences that I'd never even seen before. I wish I had jumped the chevron and at least one other wider fence, but my pony was so point-and-shoot the whole time, that I think as long as I give him a confident ride he'll jump anything I aim him at on Friday. Not to mention we also conquered the water complex!

So, Beginner Novice, here we come!


  1. While you are successfully completing a BN water complex (WOOHOO!!) I've over here ecstatic that my horse walked through a mud puddle. #hunterprincessproblems

  2. YAAAAAAAAY! So excited for you and Dino! You guys will rock BN this weekend :)

    1. Also, I didn't realize Dino has poultice on his legs in the top photo...I just thought those were his socks. #duh

  3. Schooling in less than ideal footing etc is really great practice! The fun thing about eventing is that there's really no "perfect distance" for anything and getting your horse to jump out of stride is where you want to be! Sounds like you two are finding that rhythm! Good luck at BN!

  4. That is fantastic! It sounds like you'll be very successful at BN!

  5. I remember being totally terrified of that white roll top doing my first BN there. So terrified I remember exactly what jump you're talking about! You guys are going to kill it Friday!

  6. Dino looks FABULOUS! I agree with Jenn, and think Dino looks extra smashing if he had FOUR white stockings. Although, double the risk for scratches and double the need for Quik Silver so maybe not ;)

    I gotta say I love how great Dino goes for you. I think he's really found his niche as an eventing pony and that makes me happy every day I read your blog!

  7. Way to go WaterPony!! So excited for your outing this weekend!

  8. Excellent! I love it when the next level starts looking fun and not intimidating. You guys will rock BN!

  9. i'm sooooooo excited for you guys!!!! you're gonna kill it!!!!! :D

  10. Haha so that is poultice? lol. I was like WHA! A dino clone with even more chrome!!!!!


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