Tuesday, December 28, 2021


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Festive Almost-New-Year to everyone! I'm not really sure what to say about the Year 2021 that hasn't already been said.... "Be Better Than 2020" was a low bar for expectations.... And yet, it felt like we only barely squeaked by haha. 

finishing the year strong and happy and still galloping around on grass!!
But. We did squeak by. And, objectively speaking, 2021 was indeed a good year for Charlie in just about every important measure. It didn't always feel like that in the moment, but it feels like that now - and that's what matters. 

my most handsomest beast!
Maybe I'll write more about the year as a whole later. For today, tho, omg I've got media!! From what's become a little bit of a 'year end tradition' around these parts: a Last Hurrah XC School!! Last year, Charlie and Punky set off for Loch Moy to school their arena cross country courses. 

charlie has good footsteps to follow <3
This year, a teenage barn mate wanted to introduce her lovely 3'6 hunter to cross country fences -- but didn't want to do it at home in case he was a bit of a nut about the barn (as Charlie also frequently can be lol). So! A perfect weather window appeared, and we immediately set out for a fun field trip to Tranquillity!

the fiercest brontosaurus that ever was
And guys -- we LOVE Tranquillity! I don't come here for purposeful xc schools very often, since we've kinda jumped all the jumps a million times by now on all our various paper chases and hunter paces over the years. And, in my head, I always think of the jumps as kinda small since they only have complete courses through N. 

wheeeee pheasant feeder! left is and always will be best, apparently
But... Actually, it honestly really is a great schooling location. We chose it since there's lots of small stuff, making it a perfect venue for introducing a horse to xc. Plus it's close to home and is a bargain at $35 for schooling.  
legs for days lol
More than that, tho, it's just set up really well with TONS of stuff packed in relatively close together, making it easy to just kinda bop around jumping whatever you want -- and progressing in terms of height or technicality in inviting ways. 

logs 'n stuff
I honestly didn't really plan to do much -- y'all already know I love a short 'n sweet xc school. But since we made the drive and all, might as well make it worth it, right? We gave a lead for Merlin over some small logs and stuff just to get started. Turns out, tho, Merlin was an absolute rock star, not spooky at all, no hesitation etc, so they pretty quickly cut the cord and were jumping all the N things almost immediately. 

apparently i'm still a little ditch-shy after fair hill omg lol
So, obviously, Charlie and I set out to do the same. After warming up in the first field and giving a lead over some of the intro stuff, we moved on to the BN feeder pictured earlier, and the N Angry Bird ramp (in the helmet cam footage below). Plus a little romp up a table-to-bank combination. 

blue house is best house
After jumping everything we wanted there, we moseyed over to the ditch area, where Charlie jumped some logs, the 3-stride ditch to house combination (after which he gleefully dragged me off into the distance lol), and the N ramped table.

lol emma.... gotta go with that gung ho pony!!
And guys -- this horse just felt so good. Really pulling me to the fences, leaving me in the dust basically haha. Bold and happy, just the way I like him to be! 

Of course, I can always nitpick myself to death (can't we all?) -- tho I'm happy to report that in Molly lessons (ugh 4 since my last recap that hopefully I'll write about eventually....) she's kinda zeroed in on some positional elements that might get me more consistently where I wanna be over fences, vs the sorta stand-off-ish defensive posture I've not been able to quit. 

Basically, I've been pretty focused on my hand location (including holding the mane or neck strap when I feel uncertain, per Martin's instruction). As is Molly's way, tho, she's helping me identify the underlying mechanics that will get my whole body in a better position -- and, no surprise at all, it has to do with bringing my elbows and chest closer to Charlie's neck, while closing all the angles in my legs. It's a process tho -- something that's going to take time to commit to muscle memory. And, lol, jumping lessons couldn't hurt!!

living dreams <3
In the meantime, it feels good to get out and do this stuff. Charlie feels good. I feel pretty much good too. Hopefully we can keep it up for as long as the weather lasts! 


  1. Thst looks like a blast. Clearly the horses were enjoying it too. I love it when a horse goes to the bit and forward.

    1. Agreed 1,000% - I kinda love the feeling of getting really TAKEN to the fence (assuming the horse is honest lol, which of course Charles is <3 )

  2. You guys look awesome! So jealous you have rideable outside ground.

    1. Dude this time of year is like PRIME riding season — the ground is definitely getting softer and softer (probably will turn to mud in the next couple weeks if not sooner), but we get so dry and hard over the summer that the ground can really absorb wetter cooler fall conditions for kinda a while. I love it!

  3. Yay!! Great way to end the year!!

    1. Thanks!! Definitely a good feeling, I’m honestly hoping for more rides like this before winter really sets in around February ish

  4. Charles is such a beast over the coop(?)! What a fun opportunity for your barnmate - I love when people in my discipline are open minded and go and just try things out with their ponies even if it doesn't lead to changing disciplines or anything, just that bonding and enjoyment of the animals is the best part - which a lesson well learned from your blog over this year.

    I hope you had a great holidays too Emma!

  5. Sounds like such a fun day! So fun that you had a friend trying something new with her hunter. He sounds like a fun horse!
    And I'm so glad you and Charlie had a blast! You two seem like you're in a good place together this year.


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