Oh how I missed Cross Country

My instructor commented on one of my facebook post and basically said where are you and what have you been up to. I wrote back and said that I really haven’t been for any lessons because each time a horse comes in I spent some time getting it fit with trail riding and light ring work and then it sells 🙂 My horse (Junior) isn’t sound enough due to fusing hocks for any sort of heavy riding and Letterman is just now ready for serious work.

I have been trying to get Letterman and Burgiss out XC schooling but it wouldn’t stop raining. You can’t blame the farm owners for not opening their courses and really taking babies schooling in bad footing isn’t fair.

This weekend was gorgeous and Sally Cousins was teaching at Carousel Park in Wilmington, Delaware. They have a great course ranging from elementary-training and run a nice starter trial series. I decided just to take one horse so that I could enjoy it and not feel overwhelmed.

We stopped on the way down to pick up my mom and her CANTER horse, Hold that Halo. She bought him this summer and all he has been doing is growing upward. He’s turned into one gorgeous animal and is a XC machine!

Burgiss is a pretty chill dude. He gets off the trailer and stands perfect to be tacked up. We had to hack out to the course and you have to cross a stream. He was a little bit confused but just stood quietly and then followed my mom’s horse across. My mom’s horse was being silly so we had to go canter up a big hill to let off some steam and he was just plugging along not really caring that we just got off the trailer and had to canter up a big hill.

At one point, my mom drops her whip and I get off and walk over to a jump to get back on. Burgiss is just going around like he has done this forever. My mom is off trotting and cantering and I am just taking my time walking around. He’s still a bit unfit so I didn’t want to tire him out.

The horse above is my mom’s 3yr, Hold that Halo. When he was in the field he looked like this.

My mom kept saying he was small but he really wasn’t he just lacked muscle. Horses tend to look pretty funky when they drop all that racing muscle. Now he is 16.1 h and Sally said he looks like a WB cross.

Burgiss started out with his typical big jumps. Sally was having me work on getting him to jump up and out and not just straight up. When he starts out he wants to land quick with his hind end. He has a really big jump so I am having to work to figure out the best way to ride him. Sally is always super nice and complimentary of my riding on greenies. She reminded me it’s important not to be a hero, meaning you are sitting on a green horse so you have to protect yourself and be smart about the ride. She said I was doing a great job with my body but just look up and out with the eyes to encourage him to keep coming across and experiment with releases to see what works best for the jump.

Here you can see a picture of him wanting to land early with his hind end and me sitting a bit too defensive. I needed to be a bit more forward in the body and let go with more of a following hand.

The only time he got upset was when somebody came to drop off their check to Sally and then went galloping off up the hill and around. Our horses were not sure what that was all about. The worse that he did was get sweaty and do a bit of jiggity jog. He had relaxed a few minutes later.

Log going up a hill

Burgiss and Halo explore the water together

I love riding the babies in the water. WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

He wasn’t really sure what to do about the down bank. His version of saying no is just standing there. We trotted back around and jumped the up bank and then just came at the down bank at a slow sitting trot and he jumped right off. I think he wasn’t sure of how to answer the question but once he figured it out you could feel him say I GOT IT!

I just looked at this picture and started laughing again. This xc course is at a public park and this particular jump is near the parking lot where people walk to the dog park. There are three of us in the group jumping. We get to this area and these two ladies start having a major fight. My mom is trying to jump and there is one lady with a dog on one side of the path and another lady on the other side of the path. All of a sudden, they start yelling at each other and some sort of fight is going on. We can’t jump because we can’t figure out which way they are going. We are all just standing there watching these two ladies fight. Sally had the funniest look on her face. They both huff off and go one direction and we all got back to jumping. Nobody said a word but when we were riding home we all had a good laugh about the dog people fighting. Burgiss had just been standing around watching the dog fight so we had a bit of a stop because he just wasn’t in the game. He quickly got his game face back on.

We had totally fixed the landing with the hind end early thing as you can see in this picture. He was then flicking his hind feet up quite high.

I told Sally that I got left on this one and she laughed and she said way better than getting ahead. She commented that its way harder trotting fences than it is cantering but the more trotting you do the better rideability you get which is exactly what I believe in. You will know when they are ready to canter and by the end of the day he was but we kept trotting. I will trot until it all becomes boring and then start to canter the fences.

I was absolutely thrilled with how nicely he went. He’s just such a fun horse and I can’t wait to do it again. Already looking to see if I can fit in another one this weekend.

My mom’s horse is absolutely amazing. He jumps everything and anything he is pointed at and is just so smart for a 3yr. He’s grown up a lot and is a horse for the future. I think Sally liked them both and was very complimentary of how nice they both are and asked more about CANTER’s program 🙂



One response to “Oh how I missed Cross Country

  1. LOVE Burgiss! He’s such a cutie and looks like such a blast to ride! I have a great photo of Sally from Fairhill!

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