Wednesday, September 24, 2014

xc schooling - finally!

We *finally* made it back to OF for our regularly scheduled lesson for the first time in a month. These are typically jump lessons in an arena, tho we were supposed to school xc last weekend before Isabel's poorly timed wound. The lesson before ours was out on xc, though, and I figured, what the hell, maybe if I beg hard enough we can go too? 

Well, I was right. Except, no begging required. Trainer says, 'well I wasn't planning on it, but sure, let's go.' YESSSS!!!!!!!!

And I am SO GLAD we did. I just needed that confidence boost, ya know? Isabel and I have only schooled xc twice before. And I've only gone one other time with a lesson pony (Jasper, who I felt confident enough with to do the big-to-me 2'6"-ish stuff).

this candy cane will be jump one next week. it's perfect really, since Izzy wants to eat it

First we warmed up in the dressage ring. It's a nice stone-dust pad with no fence - just little railroad ties and pine trees as the perimeter, and a pretty judge's gazebo at one end. It was Isabel's first time in there, and she only needed one lap before getting to work. Good pony. 

The warm up was good. Trainer instructed me to compress our canter more - what we started with was good for xc, but she wanted to see our little, organized canter - what we would want in a dressage test. Good practice. 

It's funny - she says very little about my position compared to my normal dressage trainer (who also hails from OF, so they know each other well). I normally want a lot of feedback on position, but for my dressage canter, I'm at that weird in-between stage where my position needs so much work that I'm essentially ineffective as a rider while I try to sort it out. So it was kinda nice to focus on the actual riding part of it, knowing my position was sub-par, but getting ok-ish results all the same. I think that'll be my strategy during the test. Sacrifice rider position points in exchange for better actual canter work. 

We are going BBN this coming weekend at our first ever horse trial, and were able to school the first half of the course. 


Isabel was great. She was FORWARD, but staying with me. And I could still park her in between turns and she would just munch on grass while we waited. (Side note: I know a lot of people are picky about when their horses are allowed to graze... I admit: I pretty much spoil Izzy. She's allowed to eat almost all the time. But in my opinion, it takes the edge off. And she doesn't stand otherwise. So I let her eat. As long as she's listening and not getting too worked up, it's all good with me). 

this log jump almost looks like a keyhole. *almost* lol

There were six of us schooling, including some kiddies, so it could take a little while between turns. It was cool tho. We got to do a few combinations, wherein I learned that I WON'T lose Isabel like a runaway freight train in between obstacles. But I also learned that it's very likely that she might play on landings occasionally (see sass above lol). 

There were a couple moments of hesitation, but with enough leg nothing was insurmountable. The height looked ok to me. Apparently the max height on course is 2'3", but I'm not sure we actually schooled anything that big. Izzy's an adjustable girl tho - I just need to leg on, regardless of my mental state. 

We did have one stop: our first approach to the roll top (easily the biggest thing we schooled that day, which goes to show how inviting the BBN course will be). You'll see in the video tho - it wouldn't have been a stop if I had actually truly committed to the jump. A little more leg was all she needed. 

We didn't end up schooling the water complex bc it's all dried up at the moment, and trainer wasn't even sure if they'd add water for the show. It might end up being just banks. We will see. We kinda ran out of time anyway. 

All the same, though, I feel much more prepared for our xc course next week. The jumps are in my comfort zone as far as size goes (tho stadium is 2'3"... but I just have to keep reminding myself that Izzy can trot that height. It's fine. really truly.), and I was really pleased with her rideability out there. 

This video (sorry about the vertical-ness...) should reaffirm what I'm saying about how really truly good she is out there. She's forward and ready to go, but will add in as many strides as I ask her to (wrongly or rightly). I think she's liking this job :) {also - bonus points for counting how often she jumps with massive mouthfuls of grass lol}

So going xc schooling this weekend was sorely needed for my own mental health re: entering the HT next week. And it was a GREAT experience. I now feel super prepared. Plus, it's not likely that I'll have video of our actual xc round... so y'all will just have to use this video and your imagination next week. Good times!


  1. We're supposed to get rain today/tomorrow (pretty sure you're close to me). Hopefully the water jump will get a little water in it :)

    1. yes - you're right about that! tho it's been sooo dry that it might not be enough. they might fill the complex themselves (it's lined), and isabel and i have schooled it before... but i guess i'm ambivalent about whether i want it filled or not lol

  2. Replies
    1. thanks! and she IS!! if i can just keep my butt in gear and do my job, she'll be great!!

  3. awesome training field! Can we go train there with you guys? :)

  4. yay for a great schooling!

  5. yay, xc! She does have a sassified tail :)

    1. haha yea... my dressage trainer refers to her as 'expressive' lol

  6. Love the sass! You guys look absolutely fabulous and seem to be having a blast.

    1. Thanks! She loves the sass too lol. And yes- I am just having way too much fun- too bad every day can't be like this :)


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