Building Success One Tiny Log At A Time

Just call me Queen of Blurry Video Stills
In accordance with my mission to attack cross country with everything I've got for the rest of the season, Dino and I popped on the trailer for another schooling adventure on Friday morning before work. The horse park's course was closed in preparation for a horse trial over the weekend, so we headed out to the barn where we first began taking eventing lessons. It was fun to be back there, and I was excited to jump Dino over some cross country fences that he hadn't seen in over a year. They'd be pretty "new" to him all over again, which means no pre-conceived notions about not jumping them, so I was confident in being able to give this schooling session a positive ride.

We warmed up in the indoor, which was a predictably terrible experience. Dino was nappy and grouchy and stopped several times at our warm-up crossrail. Since he's always been a grump and a half in that arena, I wasn't too worried about it, and as soon as I'd successfully jumped him over the offending crossrail a couple times, I declared us ready to go outside and get out of the accursed box!

The XC fences at this barn are really thoughtfully placed and just the right size for green horses and riders with messed-up brains. It was a pretty perfect place to school for us! We started off with a series of microscopically small logs, rails, and pipes set along the fenceline that got gradually larger as you rode around the pasture - jumps that I could cowgirl on over if Dino started getting any ideas about not jumping them.

Real. Tiny. Jumps.
Dino did, indeed, peek and prop at the first itty bitty log we approached, but I had my Mean Trainer Pants on, and I popped him on the shoulder with my stick at the base and he hopped on over.

GOOD PONY. This is how we do the jumping.

I turned around to jump the microscopic log again, this time adding a black pipe afterwards. Dino cruised right along and hopped over the little jumps without questioning my request. So far, so good!

We then jumped a line of three little log fences with great success. I hadn't quite figured out our rhythm in the canter yet, so we were getting some awkward chippy distances, but Dino was jumping confidently and I was mostly staying out of his way. We came back and forth over that line a few times, improving our pace and getting closer to the Magic Gallop with each pass.

I eyed up a couple BN and N size fences. They still looked kind of big. We decided to head across the creek into the next field.

Dino hesitated a bit at the water, but crossed without drama. We started stringing together little courses in the field, looping around over small jumps made of railroad ties, logs, and barrels. As long as I steered him towards the center and kept a steady rhythm, Dino jumped everything like a pro! We had one "run out" at the bigger log jump that was more me just not steering because I couldn't decide on a distance than anything else, but other than that all of the jumps went GREAT! I stuck to a slower-but-energetic canter in order to maintain Dino's uphill balance and rode to distances closer to the base, but tried to let go and ride up to a longer spot when I saw it. He was really, really game for everything and popped happily around all of the small jumps and up and down little banks.

On our way back to the barn, we passed by those BN and N sized jumps again, and I declared that I wanted to jump the BN hanging log with rocks underneath.


And it was great! Dino picked up a nice balanced canter, I saw a distance, put my leg on, and over we went. Easy, no-drama XC jumping!

I promise this was bigger than it looks being photographed from the back of a 17hh horse...
I was really, really pleased with this schooling outing! I kept my cool the entire time, Dino was jumping confidently, and I absolutely achieved my goal of jumping around with no drama and lots of confidence for both of us. It feels like our last HT was more a blip on the radar than a death knell, and I'm excited to keep improving as the season goes on! I definitely have a lot of work to do in figuring out our ideal cruising speed vs. the canter we need as we get closer to the fences, but being able to just bop around these jumps and make mistakes and start putting the pieces together was just what we needed. Video below for those of you who are into that sort of thing:



  1. yay great job and great day it looks like :) Go Dino go! :)

  2. way to goooooo Dino!!!! i love all those jumps too, you both look fantastic! must have been a great feeling after that ride :D

  3. Awesome! Such a good feeling to get out there and jump all the things!

  4. Awwww I'm so happy for you guys. Mean trainer pants ftw.

  5. Sounds like a fun day! Dino is just the cutest. Glad he wanted to play!

  6. Those knees in the last pic! Looks like you guys are having a lot of fun!

  7. WOOHOOO Hanging log!! That's awesome!

  8. Tiny log schooling is the best for grumpy ponies! Way to go on that hanging log - looking great!

  9. Hell yeah. And you look super solid, too.

  10. You guys look great! Way to go! You really nailed that BN fence!


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