Horse Life

Musings- XC Style

I’m a classic overthinker so it should surprise exactly no one that all I’ve thought about since Sunday is the XC schooling, uh, experience.


Focus on the good. DO IT. DO IT NOW.

The highs of that day definitely outweighed the lows. By FAR. P used to have pretty much a 95% stopping rate at new jumps, and even familiar jumps were 50/50. He’s never jumped ANY of the Novice jumps at Windridge, so those were all brand new to him. And I estimated we jumped about 60 total times, since many of the jumps we repeated multiple times. He refused 2 separate jumps two times each, for a total of 4 refusals. That’s a 6% stopping rate. Yes, I did the math.


So why can’t I stop dwelling on it? I’m not sure. Maybe because I just can’t figure him out when it comes to this issue. He was so bold over the first couple jumps, then the spook at 3 was somewhat understandable. But the spinning and bolting like that at 4 was really uncalled for.

Was it because it was the first time we were heading away from the other horses?

Was he angry that I used my spurs when I felt him wiggle?

Was he legit scared of the stupid, plain rolltop?

Was it because he stopped at the previous jump, even though he ended up jumping it, and just felt like being bad?



Living the dream.

This is where I try to lighten up. First of all, I have a horse. Do you know how many years I wished for a horse? Literally decades. My kid-self would dropkick me from here to outer space if she heard me complaining about my horse.

Hanging out with mah poneh. Feel soooo sorry for me. Somewhere I’m sure tiny violins are playing.

It’s really happening.

Back in January, I wrote a post about a dream I had, where I accidentally walked a Novice course instead of BN, so Trainer B made me do that division. I told him about it because HA HA, and then his response was this:


When I saw that, I laughed out loud. Because sooooo funny. But the joke was on me, because we really did it, 5 months later. Yeesh.

Jumps are looking doable.

Yesterday I went to Trainer B’s for a lesson. His wife told me that B had talked to the owner of Windridge after we schooled there, and the log we took going uphill? Training. I said, “But it had a white number!” But apparently it’s only Novice if we had jumped it the other way, from flat ground. Jumping it uphill bumps it up to the Training division.

Snapshot 2 (7-8-2018 10-10 PM)
It definitely loomed large coming up the hill

And the last combination we did- the half coffin to log thing? It didn’t have flags, Trainer B assumed it was Novice (he’s not allowed to have opinions on jump levels anymore), but yep, that was Training, too.

In Trainer B’s words, “Look, you were schooling Training and we didn’t even know it!”


Don’t get me wrong- I still look at some Novice ones and my initial reaction is, “Yikes,” but for the most part, P is making them seem possible. Like the bench jump that he skipped over without a second thought…when I say that jump, for whatever reason, crept into all my thoughts of Novice, I’m not exaggerating.

Now it’s just a speed bump, thanks to P

And I even found myself watching Trainer B and his working student jumping the (flagged) Training jumps, and going, “Hey, that’s not so bad.” Shhhh, no one tell him.


Sharing the Fails.

I don’t really hold back on this blog. I mean, I write it for me and no one else, and the purpose of this at the end of the day is to detail our training (and to have a place to put all the hundreds of videos and pictures of my usually-adorable horse), and the fails are part of it.

Though pictures like this will always be my favorite

That being said, I went through a recent phase where I would sort of mention failures, but wouldn’t post associated media, mainly the stops. My reasoning was that I didn’t want to see it myself. I didn’t want to dwell on the stops, and just wanted to post perfect pictures/videos. Kinda like most everyone’s IG account.


So when I was writing the post about XC, I had a block of text about the refusals, then videos of our successes. I hadn’t even looked at the footage of the stops at that point.


But you know what? Not posting it doesn’t make me forget it, as much as I wish it did. And maybe a year from now P will have never stopped at anything again (hush, I can dream, right?) and I can post the gif of the insane stop/spin/bolt move he did and laugh at it.

When P was all, “Byyyeee y’all” But I somehow stayed on sans stirrup, like a rabid squirrel clinging to the last acorn on earth.

One of my favorite blogs to follow is Tales from a Bad Eventer (seriously hilarious…and oh-so-relatable), and I appreciate blogs like that because it’s honest and gives me some hope. No one is perfect 100% of the time and it’s ok to show the uglies, too. Plus, the fails are funnier.

Not exactly a fail, but this was a jump where I wasn’t sure what he would do and he looked hard at the falling away terrain on the backside. We have the exact same expression on our faces: mouths open, eyes a little like, “What are we doooooing?” Derp.

Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy working with Trainer B?

Seriously, I can’t believe where we are now vs a year ago.

In June 2017, I went XC schooling with Bette at Windridge (same place we went this past Sunday). Except last year not only did P refuse pretty much all of the tiny starter jumps and  need a lead over for many of them, those tiny little starter jumps looked enormous and daunting to me.

LOOK HOW TINY. Thanks for the lead, Finn the Angel Pony 🙂 PC: Bette
PC: My iPhone (look at that majestic quality). Jumping TRAINING 🙂
PC: Danica M. Oh look, another Training combo 🙂

It’s pretty incredible, really, and I owe it all to him. He never gets upset, he never makes me feel less-than, he’s just so methodical and well, genius, that I know we really lucked out. In all my years of re-riding as an adult, I’ve never felt more secure in the saddle, more confident on my horse, and more equipped to deal with (most) issues that arise.

Priceless stuff right there.

Husband is the perfect birthday gift giver
Wine glass that says, “Novice, Training, Prelim.” Going to be one of my horse show wine glasses ❤️


14 thoughts on “Musings- XC Style”

  1. I love your blog because you ARE honest! And there’s no sugar coating. And that’s what life with horses is all about. Um, I was scared to canter my horse. Trust me, when we get to do starter jumps I’m going to act like we just went to Rolex!
    Way to go with P! You guys have come SO FAR. And, you’re having tons of fun! Best combo ever


  2. Wow….from needing a lead over starter (which by the way keeping it real here Janna tried to get me to take gem over that same fence and I could not for the life of me) to dong training level in 1 year?!?!?!!? You are my new hero.


  3. you should be REALLY PROUD of the progress you’ve made with P. really really really really proud. he’s a good boy and obvi a super cool horse, but he’s certainly proven to be a tricky ride at times. you’ve stuck with it tho and adapted your approaches with training to figure out what will work for him, and seems like you found a great fit with trainer B. it’s such an amazing feeling when all the pieces finally start clicking into place – definitely a feeling to savor! those little bumps and bobbles in the road always happen and are so so so consuming bc our minds are cruel mean places (ask me how i know….) but really you’ve done such a great job with P! greatness awaits!!


    1. Awww, this may or may not have brought a tear to the ol’ eye 😊

      It’s been a looong road and isn’t over, but I’m really proud of the progress, too. P definitely isn’t easy, but he’s not incredibly complicated either. He just takes finesse, which I’m finally learning!

      And yes, the mind is SO mean!


  4. WOW. Y’all are a couple of badasses over there! What an amazing feeling to look back and see how far you’ve come. I love hearing about it all and can’t wait to hear the next chapter!


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