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Cross Country Fun

Not a lot of media due to being there without ground crew so I’ll keep this short and to the point.

Eeyore was amazing.

Trainer AB continues to build my confidence in leaps and bounds.

I left thinking “We can do this. We can actually do this!” for the first time since trying this sport the fall of 2016.

There are worse sights on a Sunday morning.

I met up with Trainer AB and one other rider at FENCE Sunday morning for a go around the course. I’d been there three times with Gemmie and have found that there are a few teeny tiny jumps I’m ok with popping over and figured I’d at least spend time in the water.

Eeyore started off with his head firmly up his rather rotund buttocks. He was so fixated on the other horse during warm up that you’d have thought they knew each other for years not just 15 seconds. Trainer AB eventually hopped on his rearing, sassy butt and galloped him up the massive hill a couple times which not only instilled the fact that he can work away from another horse but also had the added benefit of being strenuous enough to make him realize life can really suck when you don’t get in line.

Surverying the course

Once she handed him back to me it was on to some jumps. I looked around a little dismayed that there was only a single jump in the immediate vicinity that I was comfortable jumping: a tiny red jump on the starter course that I had jumped previously with Gem. I figured she’d work the other girl who is showing BN and schooling N for a planned move up after AECs this fall and we’d move on to find some jumps for us.

Nope.

PC KC’s helmet cam a couple of years ago.

She told me to take the red starter ramp and well, there is just something about the combo of Eeyore under me who never says no to anything and Trainer AB on the ground with her quiet confidence and insistence that I’m a better rider than I give myself credit for, that make me just go and do the thing.

So I did.

Still in love with this vest. It was insanely humid that the sweat was pouring down my back in the shade at rest. While I was still hot, I easily forgot I was even wearing the vest within 5 minutes of putting it on.

We went over that a few times and then she said “ok…do the next one”

I looked around for “the next one” but didn’t see anything. Then it dawned on me. She meant the BN bench. Uh….

This bench. This massive, wide, unforgiving bench. This jump is the first legit xc fence I’ve taken on that wasn’t a log or a tiny roll top or something that basically the horse could walk over. This bench makes me feel like I’m actually doing xc for the first time.

She nodded to me and well….if she thought we could it then so did I. I approached at the trot and he flew over that thing like it was 4′ tall. Trainer AB chuckled and commented on how big he had jumped and I laughed back that it felt even bigger!

The next time I backed way off and let him drift to the right. He glanced off the side though being a Good Boy he still jumped the side of it. We circled around again and came with me actually riding and over he went no issue.

I felt like I was flying. I felt like I had wings. I felt like I could do absolutely anything. Riding folks. It gives you confidence for all your life.

A gorgeous view between these mighty orange ears

By this time he was blowing hard and was radiating heat. The sun was covered by a heavy cloud bank and while the heat was nicely blocked out the humidity felt at 90% and the sweat was pouring off me like a waterfall.

We all agreed it would be best to head to the water next for some cool down play time. Eeyore hadn’t seen water for over a year yet he waltzed right in like an old pro. The jumps in and around were N and up so she had us work on coming into the water from the steep down hill approach through the water and out the steep up hill. The whole goal was maintaining the trot and forward momentum while not letting him fall on his face going down or speed up going out.

This is a really nice water complex with plenty of room to work on a number of different skills with or without the jumps

Eeyore very much enjoyed the water and we had a good time playing through there before heading up the hill to the cluster of banks. We attacked the tiny middle one that I’ve done with Gem a few times.

I was taken completely off guard when he took one look at the bank and slammed on the breaks in alarm. It was the first time he ever gave me an honest “no” as an answer. I think it just caught him off guard and he didn’t know what to do so in his safe way he stopped to look for guidance. We came back and let him walk up it and from there he gave a hearty, and rather obnoxiously large, yes each time.

It took me a while to get my own rhythm and body under control up the bank but eventually I got Trainer AB’s approval.

Hot, but happy at the end of the schooling

As one final task she had us go back to the water, come through it then over to the bank and up. By the time we did that Eeyore was done. He was blowing hard and overheating, so she told us we graduated and I headed back to strip tack and dump water on him at the trailer.

I was so so so so proud of him. Outside his obnoxious warm up behavior he was amazing. It took a bit to get him to settle when the other horse would go off to do his thing but that is just an experience thing. He was honest, brave and bold all day long and handled the terrain and insane humidity very well.

Soaked through but glad I went and did the thing

I drove back home with yet another grin on my face. He may not be fancy. He may have a wonky gait at times. He may have his head firmly up his butt. Folks. This horse though. This horse. He makes my life better on the daily. He brings sunshine and hope and dreams. He is amazing in all his odd ways.

Ok. So maybe that wasn’t short or to the point.

34 thoughts on “Cross Country Fun”

  1. So much to love about this. You two have so much confidence in each other! He could have really intimidated you with his obnoxious behaviour at the beginning but he didn’t. So well done.

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  2. So thrilled for you! And so happy that you had a trainer with you who could hop on him and deal with his crap! I have to say, there were times years ago that I wish so much that I wish I found my current trainer 10-12 years ago… Maybe then I’d have had an easier time with Subi at horse shows and could have had someone to get on, canter the snot out of him when he was being an idiot (vs me sitting on him back trying to work him down forever) or helping me in the winter when he was crow hopping all over the place scaring me. I have that now and a retired horse. But, when I do get a new horse (WAY down the road), I think I’ll be OK. I’m so pleased for you!!!!

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    1. She asked me “how is he doing this morning?” And then “and how are you feeling about it?” She knows I get in my own head but she also knows he can be a real a-hole and she is so nonchalant about things. She just sits up there and lets him do his thing. She actually chuckled as she got her helmet on saying “he isn’t as fit as he thinks he is and he is about to know it”. I do love this woman

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  3. I’m so excited for you! Your new coach sounds like a great match and nothing beats the feeling of a sucsessful XC outing.

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  4. Shithead at the beginning so am glad he got better. OH that horse has no idea how good he has it!! And nothing is worse (better) than when you are done and realize how freaking soaked you are. 🙂

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    1. Thank you. It was like winning my own personal Rolex. Now I can’t wait to go and tackle it again and start stringing fences together. The plan had been to do a kink course of the ramp, left u turn to get back to the beach, then three strides to a starter roll top, up the hills to the water then out over to the up bank. Eeyore would probably have died of heat stroke had we done that at that point though. Next time for sure

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