Wednesday, June 17, 2015

First Cross Country Schooling: Great Success! And SNACKS

In case anyone doesn't want to read the rest of this long post and miss all the fun GIF-ness...Soon was a super star for his first time out cross country!  There.  Have a great day.

For the rest of you cool cats who enjoy horses and GIFs and cross country schooling recaps...

Awesome New Farm Owner invited Soonie and I out cross country schooling, and I happily accepted!  We have yet to go off the farm and do anything remotely exciting due to my distinct lack of truck and trailer.  So yesterday morning I ventured out to the farm early  in the morning to pop Bubba over some of Awesome New Farm's XC obstacles.  Because I figured if we're going to go school, I should probably, you know...see if he's even interested in jumping over trees and shit.

And he was.  Yesterday's school took about 20 minutes; we refreshed the walking and trotting up and down the baby bank, then popped over the little coffin a couple of times (he didn't even hesitate), and then jumped a couple of the logs and roll tops around the farm.  He was foot perfect, brave but not "grab 'n run," and seemed like he was ready to go off the farm and pop over some baby XC stuff, even if he was somewhat angry at working before he got his breakfast.

Yeah this was fun
Afterward, I went home and finished entertaining family (yes, I'm that person that ditches visitors to go ride), and then laid out my go-bag for today's adventure.  Basic stuff like an extra shirt, sunscreen, bottles of water, medical card and armband, helmet, and most importantly, snacks.

 Not to be confused with SNACKS.


We loaded the two green beans up this morning (let's all just stop and appreciate horses that walk right on to trailers for a moment.  Because they are AWESOME.  Awesome), and arrived at the schooling grounds an hour and a half or so later.  It was busier than I expected, but not as crazy as open XC schooling days could be.  Soonie was a little excited from the trailer ride and was "up" when he got off the trailer, and didn't really settle right away even when I got on.  He was so interested by all the activity; the jumps and funny looking flags, the many horses off in the distance cantering and galloping around jumping...he was debating what was going on and what he should do about it.

He was the awkward dude staring at the party

And then he decided that he should run too?

So we and fellow green bean (who may have been internalizing everything, but outwardly he was very calm and cool) marched aaaaaaaaaallllll the way across the field, past the more advanced areas and to the Baby Playground Corner.  And by marched I mean the friend walked, Soonie and I Passaged our way across the entire field and impressed no one.

How we looked to everybody else

And then...halfway to Baby Land when my horse was completely drenched in sweat, I realized that I had forgotten to replace my leather laced reins with the rubber reins.

And then my gloves were also soaked from patting his wet neck, so then I was holding wet leather reins with wet leather gloves and my horse was prancing around like he was there to win the Kentucky Derby.

Needless to say, we will be using rubber reins and another type of glove next time out.

That said, he did actually settle once we were away from all the activity and he got down to work.  After trotting around a bit, he took a big breath and I knew we were on the right track.  And thankfully, as soon as we started popping over some of the baby XC jumps, he relaxed immediately (and stopped sweating profusely).  He actually jumped around like a nice little hunter - soft, relaxed, in rhythm.  He didn't look at anything.  Nothing was impressive anyway, it's good to keep things simple the first day out to build confidence and have a good experience.  He was actually relaxed enough to stand around and hang out for a bit, and allowed me to snap a bunch of photos with my phone.  We jumped over the little coffin (which was significantly larger than the baby one at home he had done for the first time yesterday), and he was perfect.  Again, didn't hesitate at it at all.  Such a good boy!

Our last adventure was the water complex.  Bubba got worked up again being in the middle of the activity, with horses galloping around and jumping.  He was not bad, but definitely needed to walk around while we waited for our turn in the water.  Neither horse had gone through a water before, though Soon and I had done some puddles out hacking.  Thankfully, he remembered our You Will Do Water discussion from months ago, and when the other horse hesitated, Soonie came up and led him right in.  Walked straight in the water like he'd done it a million times before!  We hung around in the water, walking in circles and standing, then walked in and out.  Then we trotted in and out.  His only issue with the water was getting a little too attached to his buddy, so I took him through one last time going away from his buddy, which he complied and trotted in/out by himself.

Soonie loves water!

We left it there on a very good note; the whole experience was very positive and with no drama.  I am very thankful not only for the invitation, but the chance to ride with another person who is not in a hurry.  She wants to do it right; to have a very quiet, positive experience and not allow the horses to feel rushed.  If we had gotten there and one (or both) of the horses was having a bad day, then we probably would have walked around the ground and left it at that.  But both horses were excellent; when there were little greenie issues, we addressed them quietly and didn't allow the horses to get spun up by feeding off of any tension or nervousness on our parts.  Everybody, horses and people, seemed very pleased with themselves and had a good time.  Such a great day and such a great first experience for Soonie and his friend.

Then I got home after a very long, hot day and realized that I was out of SNACKS.


  1. What a fun day! Looks like a really fun cross-country course.