Jumping Branch Farm HT: Cross Country

Cross country ran immediately after stadium. I grabbed a quick drink of water and then headed straight over to warm up over the tiny house they had available. Eeyore popped over it without fuss, so we headed to the start box with 35 seconds to go.

Funny story. In the program tadpole was listed as “white on lime” which I read to mean a white number on a green back ground. On our course walk this was the first fence that was white on lime. Uh…..

I’ve never been counted down before and thought it would make me want to vomit. In truth, I sauntered in at the count of 10, circled at a walk and then trotted out without a care in the world. I was ready. I was more than ready.

It was a typo and was supposed to say “lime on white”. This was my first fence which was way better.

Eeyore popped into a canter away from the start box and we headed to fence 1 like we have done this before. He was such a champ and so game to be out running and jumping that it made my heart swell and a grin split my face.


After fence one it was a longish canter to the next field with my next fence and Eeyore was still game to move forward as we made our way to the cabin at 2. Dusty was on picture duty and with the course being so spread out we had to make an executive decision on what fences to get. I wanted the start, water and end. In retrospect I really wish he had skipped the water and went 1 to 2 to 5 but oh well. He really busted his butt to run to the water after fence 1.

The cabin came up pretty well and Eeyore loves this game so he popped over as if it wasn’t even there

After fence 2 we ran into an issue. Eeyore was done. It was an insanely long canter through a pasture which housed a bunch of fences for the other divisions and then down a long sandy lane and he quit on me. I really wish there had been more tadpole fences to keep his interest because he really didn’t see the reason behind working that hard to run away from all the other horses when there wasn’t anything to even jump.

We had already cantered through a gigantic field and then had this to do before popping into another field and our jump 3

By the time we were half way down that sandy lane I was pony club kicking him to keep him in a trot. Fence 3 with a nice log that caught his attention and he picked up a canter right before it but it was a lot of work on my part. There was no getting in 2 point and coasting.

Fence 3 at the start of this field with fence 4 way off in the distance

Dusty missed fence 3 behind the trees but if you listen with the volume up you can hear the jump judges making fun of our sloth like progress into the field and down to the water.

Har har har

I really wanted a picture of us cantering through it. It is one of two bucket list pictures I want on cross country. It was not meant to be this day. We came over the log at 3 and slowly cantered towards the water. We came to the water and nearly slammed on the breaks, then entered and thought about drinking, but I kept his butt moving through and onward.

Move it horse. What happened to all that bravado in the dressage warm up or during stadium??

There were a few BN jumps I really liked the looks of after the water but once there I had no horse under me. He was still game to jump what I put in front of him but that pesky little incident at FENCE where he just would not move between fences came back to haunt us yet again. I made the decision to keep his feet moving and get this course done knowing that what I had left was going to be really hard terrain. Its so odd because generally my attention is spent trying to slow his roll yet out on cross country he acts like a sloth stuck in peanut butter on a cold day. My brain can’t reconcile the two.

Pictures always sorta suck at capturing terrain bu this hill was steep and once down it you worked your way right back up an equally steep hill

We got out of that field and it became a war of wills to keep him moving. He wanted to walk. WALK. On cross country?!? WTH horse?!?! In dressage all you wanted to do was be a race horse, then in stadium you took the bit and ran off and now, now that you finally get to gallop to your little heart is full of it, you ask to walk?

This shows it a little better. We came around from the back side of that white barn, in front of it then down into the valley only to climb back up to this point. It was a really steep hill and it took what little joy Eeyore had left out of him. He nearly fully quit on me here and while I had planned on doing that nice set of stacked BN logs you see, I bypassed it.

It was partly fitness related. We had done a lot that weekend and he was feeling it but mostly it was attitude and a whole lot of not seeing the point of continuing on when nobody could see him, he was all alone in the world and this was starting to feel less like fun and more like work to the Orange Butthead.

Up and over fence 5 and so close to finishing

Finally, we made it through the hills and around a sharp curve to see fence 5 which was a log shared with BN. You can hear me on the video talking to him and nearly pleading with him to just keep going.

Trainer captured my run to the finish

When we passed through the finish flags I was elated and a tad defeated. I was so so so proud of us. We did it. We completed our first horse trial and all our hard work paid off. But also…that xc run sucked. The fences were fine. No issue. But the in between? I’m telling you all that when Eeyore isn’t on board with the plan it sucks and he was certainly not on board with that course.

Trainer AB came over and gave me a big hug for completing. She saw where we came from and witnessed my first show and she was beaming like she was my own mom (who by the way called me a loser for coming in last so…). Her end analysis was that Eeyore has got to learn to quit being an asshat (ok thats my word) in warm up and learn to conserve energy for later. Seriously, we worked hard to get him to stop being a turd in warm up and it was all wasted energy.

I have so many thoughts and over arching opinions on this show and how it went that I’ll save for another day. I will leave you with this though. Upon getting back to the barn and getting Eeyore cooled off and settled so I could pack up and leave Wyatt looked at me and asked:

Mom, can we go to a real horse show now?

Way to keep me humble kiddo. Of course this was after he had already told me “that looks way better mom” when I changed from dressage clothes to my jumping outfit and then when someone called me badass for sleeping in a tent “she called you a badass? I’m shocked”

Kids – killing you softly with their words daily.

35 thoughts on “Jumping Branch Farm HT: Cross Country”

  1. First of all, I am SO proud of you for getting to this point with him. Go you! Secondly, this pretty much sounds like my dream XC run. I read people’s accounts of their horses charging along and leaping all the fences and it scares me half to death. I think the IDEAL place for me to start eventing would be on a horse I had to Pony Club kick to a fence. He’s adorable and I think your confidence on him is going to rocket you both up, up, up in no time!


  2. Way to go!! I’m so glad you got your first one in the books and it went so well! Eeyore will figure out the game. He probably already has, lol.
    And screw those jump judges! Tadpole is for people to trot! Hell I walked through the water! Maybe I’m over sensitive to judgy jump judges who don’t realize they are being videoed


    1. It will be interesting the next time we go out xc to see if he learned what it is all about or not.

      Yeah I was kinda perturbed about them making fun of me on xc. I mean I get it that we were going slow but it was tadpole and shut up


  3. I am also super proud of you for completing your first course with Eeyore!! Sure, there is always work to be done with horses – that is just part of the game. This event will give you a starting point to work from and you guys will just keep getting better.


  4. I’m with Dom. I’d rather ride a horse I had to keep going then hold back. I think you won in the most important way. You should be proud. I am proud of you. You finished and it was awesome.


  5. Congratulations!!! You did it! Just think, all the things you aren’t happy about? Go read your posts from a year ago and come back and read this post! You have come so far! We’re so proud of you! And the jump judges need to shut up. Seriously though, you did so well and this is a great show to build on. Congratulations!


  6. Whooooo!!!!! What a great first event! Hey, you can always work on things, but the important part is you went out there and Did The Thing! You set a goal and worked hard to make it happen! Welcome to the dark side hahahaha! 😉


    1. I’m pretty sure we were 18th of 19 with the last person scratching when she landed face first off her horse is stadium warm up. They still haven’t posted results and I didn’t look at the time but either way no ribbon from this show.


  7. Omg Wyatt haha, what a comment… in fairness my grandfather says the same thing to me too. “Call me when the jumps get bigger!” It’s…. kinda rude lol.

    For real tho, I’m so so so proud of you guys!! And so happy that the jumps turned out to be nbd!! You’ve certainly earned a good experience haha! The rest will come in time. I’m constantly amazed by how much I learn about our training and partnership in running a course, things I’d never see in just regular schooling. But that’s what it’s all about tho – getting out and doing the things and figuring out how to make next time even better! Congrats on your first full official three phase!!! 😀


    1. Right? like thanks for the support ugh. I give him a pass since he is 6 and we go to the Grand Prix Saturday Night Lights at TIEC in the summer which is his bar as a “real show”.

      There is a lot you can’t simulate in a schooling experience but that just means I have more reasons to show! 😁


  8. CONGRATS!!!! Soooooo proud of you to have gotten this far! I know for me starting out, I’d like a kick ride as well! He totally needs to learn to conserve energy, but you two will get there! I’m sooooo excited to read this ❤


    1. Both Trainer and I are hoping hat he gets it eventually and stops wasting his energy early on, but really with the atmosphere and this being his first event I think he kept it together pretty well


  9. i think you should be VERY EXTREMELY proud of that. i know it wasn’t your ‘dream xc run’ but hey if it was perfect, you’d have nothing to work on for next time 😛

    my first time taking a green horse through his first xc run at starter he walked every single jump, we got eliminated at the water, i kept going and he saw the trailers 3 fences from home and he had an apoplectic fit that we weren’t just… going back… he tried to stand up and after a brief argument he begrudgingly cantered the last three jumps. and I was still smiling!!! because even a bad day on xc is better than a good day at work. and sometimes to finish is to win.

    so don’t listen to your kids or frankly, anyone except your trainer. you are fucking awesome, period.


      1. AND we were winning after dressage. and I didnt even care that we had gotten eliminated at the water

        that’s the last of my addendums.

        basically, don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.


    1. Awe thanks! I really needed to hear that!!! You are right. We completed and that’s a big deal. I didn’t mind the kiddo. He is 6 and likes to push my buttons. I wasn’t thrilled with the jump judges being rude but who cares?? We did it and that’s what matters!


  10. Sara! This is so wonderful! Huge congratulations on completing your first HT. The fun you’re having is so evident in every entry these days and I love seeing how much your confidence is growing along the journey.


  11. Yay you completed! That is huge (regardless of what Wyatt thinks though yay he has so much confidence in you)! Sometimes horses just poop out and it will probably take more lesson and more shows for your and Eeyore to get into your groove but you will and you’ll both gain more fitness and confidence too. But always savor the wins that’s just as important as making a game plan moving forward.


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