Finding the Fun Again
It's no secret that cross country is our weakest phase.
At this point, it's my mental problem more than Dino's, so my fall 2016 plans involve a lot of gentle pushes back towards my ultimate goal of running BN successfully (that means no jump penalties!) just one time before my pony retires from showing sometime in the next several years.
On Friday morning my work schedule sorted out perfectly to accommodate a schooling outing at the horse park with Chancey's mom, so off we went!
Not gonna lie, I was already nervous before we even got to the park. Visions of refusals danced in my head, and I was mentally setting myself up for failure. It took a lot of deep breaths and re-focusing on what was ACTUALLY going on, and taking the internal pressure off myself to be jumping BN at this outing to calm down and just chill.
Dino, naturally, was totally cool about the entire situation.
He warmed up like an absolute champ, rolling forward in a big bold trot and canter and listening politely to my leg. My legs, however, were already sore and complaining after riding all 3 boys the day before.
2pointober Longest Time, I'm comin' for ya. Once I can get over the crippling effects of starting to work out again combined with riding multiple horses every day. IN ANY CASE...
I eyed up the row of logs as we circled around them warming up - Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice all in a row. I reminded myself that I'd jumped the Novice one, and it had been easy. The BN log was starting to look reasonable. More deep breaths. This was going to be okay.
I put any and all ideas about jumping anything BN or higher that day out of my head, and trotted Dino out of the start box towards the first Starter/Elementary log. My sweet, wonderful, perfect EuroPony bounced up into canter and attacked the first fence, flying down the airstrip like a heat-seeking missile, looking for the next little log. We jumped that one, and then #3, and I felt my smile start to grow.
Okay. We can do this.
I slowly worked our way around the Elementary course, popping over a few smaller Starter fences when my bravery needed a boost. Aside from some uncharacteristic spooking and propping at the ditch (from the pony who has NEVER ONCE refused a ditch! Must've been tigers in there that day.), Dino only refused to jump when I really screwed up and hauled on the reins in front of a fence. When I let him roll on forward, he jumped everything without question.
After jumping every element successfully on its own or strung together with one or two other fences, I decided to jump the entire Elementary course all in one shot.
And we DID IT!
We jumped the entire dang thing, I never once felt so scared or nervous that I had to trot a jump, and Dino was absolutely eating up the course, giving me that glorious feeling of being pulled to every fence!
My smile was now a mile wide as I patted my very very good pony on the neck. We had just jumped an entire XC course without any trouble at all, and it was FUN. So much fun!
And guys, fun is what it's all about.