Brave - A Cross Country Tale
|This guy. For real. He's amazing.|
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 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.|
|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!|
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.