Cross-Country Schooling

We finally get to the best part of eventing: cross-country. We all know that if there was a sport that was just cross-country without the dressage and stadium, eventers would be all over that. As a CT, this show didn’t have XC, but I had signed up for schooling. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve already seen some of these pictures. If you don’t, why not start now: Facebook.

Cross country is, by far, Nilla’s favorite activity. Even though she had been tired all day and we had already done dressage and stadium, she opened up a reserve of energy and excitement when we got to the xc jumps.

For our first jumps we did a line of a little log to a slightly bigger log. She took the first log in stride, but her ears were locked on the next one:

And she took that one from a stride away and jumped it huge. I was completely unprepared and totally got left behind so ignore my position, but look how excited this mule is:

We checked out a bigger pile of logs after that and she was on it:

We even got some happy cantering (and lots of pets and praise) in between jumps:
Then we came around to this hanging log, which she absolutely loved:
We hopped in and out of the empty water. I absolutely hate banks. Especially down banks, but up banks don’t make me happy either. I am planning to do a xc clinic either later this month or next. I really need professional help to get over this. I know what it comes from (jumping green broke OTTBs down banks as a teenager with no real instruction on how to ride banks and having some bad crashes). So this looks like a tiny bank, but it was probably the scariest jump we did to me.
Coming out of the banks, I spotted a white turkey with a huge flock of babies. So brief detour to take pictures of her. I don’t generally like turkeys, but how pretty is she? The babies were very cute and they blended in to the grasses and dirt perfectly.
Back to XC. We did a little pile of logs coming out of the trees:
We went on to to a different log and, as we were approaching, about 5 lizards who had been sunbathing on the log went scurrying all over it trying to run away and Nilla was like “me too.” 
I love the tongue here. Nilla never refuses jumps and it was really my fault for not keeping leg on and steering; I was doing my usual sit back and let her figure it out. And she figured out that it was freaking alive and we should avoid it. I circled, re-presented with some actual leg and she popped right over. She did keep an ear on it though:
We did a line from the log to this tube jump, which is now one of my favorite pictures of her. She’s just so freaking happy with herself and she looks like such a good jumper. 
After that, we walked over to the other section of the XC course. This side only has a few jumps, but it does have the ditch and bank. We’ve done the ditch before. She popped right over it:
We did a few tiny log piles in that field and then my husband said we should try the hill jump and I was like, but I hate tiny little banks, why would I do a log on a hill? I came around and tried walking up the hill over the log since it was so small I knew she could just take it like a trail obstacle. Nilla said screw that, trotted up and jumped it. So we came back around and I let her at it:

God my position sucks, but what a good little mule. She did it even with me falling all over her neck like an idiot. Like I said, I know I need instruction – especially on jumps that are not on the flat – and I’m planning on doing a clinic soon. But how awesome is this mule?
She got lots of pats and praise and we ended there.

24 thoughts on “Cross-Country Schooling

  1. TeresaA

    That looks like you guys were having fun. I had to laugh at the 'she figured out that it was freaking alive and we should avoid it' 🙂

  2. emma

    oh man i hate hill jumps too haha – one was on my course this weekend and even tho it was technically supposed to be easy (shared with intro) i was still … not thrilled lol. Nilla looks freakin adorable tho – she must be so fun out there!

  3. Olivia

    Good catch. She was actually okay on the old trailer by herself since she could have a box stall. The problem was trailering her with another horse when she would have to stay on only one side. We may actually have solved it with the slant load and I'll talk about that in tomorrow's post.

  4. Olivia

    It's a C4 belt I got to use as a neck strap (a strap to grab instead of mane during jumping). I frequently forget to use it though.

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