I was schedueled to ride XC at 4 pm with Lee Ann from CAF. I went out like and hour early because I wanted to just let Steady go out there and be calm. On our way out he was huffing and puffing in excitment and I started have visions of event camp XC all over again. But after an hour just following around the lesson folks that were before us he was calm as can be. Operation chill Steady out on a cross country course: success! Then it was time for us! We started out over the beginner novice logs by the water complex! We have never jumped anything that big out on XC before but he didn't bat an eye. Lee Ann noted quickly that "you have yourself a very nice horse. He is very brave and honest. You just need to ride him straight to the jumps and keep his head in front of his body". I was beaming with pride over my horse. He was finally showing his capabilites on XC. Things I just knew were in him but had yet to find. Then we went on to stringing some stuff together. Over the log through the water over the coop and on to another log. Not a hesitation out of him on any jumps. He hestated to canter through the water but I have a feeling that had something to do with the gravel heading into the water. Gravel all weekend was just killing him to walk on. He was trimmed two days before and I think that was the reason. But after insisting he did so beautifully. Then we moved to another larger log then quick turn over a ditch. All with no issues. Well except my inability to keep him straight but everything else was really feeling great!
Then we moved on to a small bank. It didn't look small to me but maybe cause I have never done one. I failed to inform Lee Ann we had never jumped a bank before. She had us jump up first, no problem from Steady and I just needed to figure out where I belonged on the way up. Then she said jump down the bank. Ok easy enough right? Well Steady took the word seriously and JUMPED. Well you are not technically supposed to jump a bank you are supposed to jump down a bank. I was launched somewhere above the saddle and smacked back down into it loosing stirrups somewhere along the way..lol...literally I was laughing my butt off on that one. Ok that was fun! Now how are we supposed to do a bank again? I then informed LA that he has never done a bank before and she said oh well you should just walk off it then a few times and that jumping banks is a common green mistake. After we walked off a few times he got the hang of how banks worked. Awesome boy!!!
On from that over to a BN coop that 'Steady jumped nice and straight' as LA said. My response was "I think that is the first time straight and Steady have been used in the same sentence"!! And I was NOT joking. We then proceeded to a larger more intimidating ditch that right after had a short steep uphill. Ho hum says Steady. Not really he LOVED it but he didn't bat an eye. The others in my group did the ditch then LA says to me, "do you want to do that log at the top of the hill?" I laughed and wondered if she was serious but she didn't seem to be joking. I will now refer to it as 'the log that made me pee my breeches" TLTMMPMB! I didn't really pee but that was probably only because at that point in the day I had completely dehydrated myself by not drinking. She said "I want you to look at it and decide because it is a big jump and you need to be 100% commited. After looking at TLTMMPMB again and see that it is two strides from the woods to the TLTMMPMB then one stride to the down hill then over the ditch. I responded, "i will 'try' it"....LOL...wrong answer. She said NO you won't try it. You are either going to do it or not. I then thought about my answer and agreed it was a stupid one and grew some balls and said we CAN do it!! We jumped the ditch went up the hill turned toward the TLTMMPMB and he was wobbly and crooked and ran out to the right. Second time around, same thing. LA yells to me, "you need to stop steering! Straighten your hands and plant them in his neck and push him forward". Stop steering??? That makes no sense but these are the moments when I stop thinking and just do what the experts say. I mean I am looking one stride out from TLTMMPMB and LO and BEHOLD he jumps right over it down the hill and over the ditch. Holy SHIT that was AWESOME!!!! WOW I have never experienced anything like that in my life! But I totally plan on experiencing it many many many more times before I die. That is when a light bulb came on, I am pulling back and forth to get him straight but in turn am just making him more crooked. Keep my hands from flailing and ride him straight and that my friend is how to make a crooked horse straight.
We then went to some other banks. This is when we ran into Karen who was also schooling XC with another trainer. Her and Hampton had their first experience with banks then too but I will leave that story for her to tell. But I will let you know it is a good one :) Steady schooled these banks no problem. Then she added to the bank a quick turn to a brush fence and then back down the bank. Fun! She then strung together a mini course: Square log, up the double bank around through a wooded path down a hill to a ditch, a gallop out through the open and turn to a coop. All jumps NO PROBLEM, the idea of the gallop was to get into a good uphill gallop and in a steady rythym 100% success. And as I returned with the shit eating grin on my face LA says, "most fun you can have standing up?" Haha I will not publicly post my response ;)
After all this the trip has not ended but I will yet again have to post another time. But there is MUCH MUCH more in store. I will tell you that Saturday evening after XC Karen and I were both packed up, Hampton even in his shipping boots and I started persuading her that maybe the hunter/jumper show the next day would be fun! Really though I think she will pin the blame on me but she was NOT very hard to convince. So we took our exhausted buts to Cracker Barrel and looked over the showbill to pick out our classes. Then it was back to HHP to crash for the night.
I have no photos from XC but I will add some pics that Karen took of Me and Steady in our dressage test.
Judges comments: "Attractive elegant horse"