Fun cross country times

Two weeks ago my friends and I went out cross country training in preparation of the first few events of the season. There was just three of us riding and our coach, and we headed to a local agistment centre that has a small training course.

I had been to the venue once before many years ago and didn’t remember anything about it (I may have fallen off and been concussed). However it was a brilliant, safe course with a selection of jumps that were perfect for us to run through things we needed to.

We warmed up over some logs and Henry was switched on and ready to go, listening perfectly. I needed to remember to let him move forward to the fence and have a better cross country pace, which is fairly standard for me. I tend to take a little while to remember what cross country feels like.

The logs were all fine, and we did a double that went well despite me not riding forward enough, and we angled a log too which Henry nailed. I haven’t jumped many things on an angle with him so it was a good opportunity to practice.

Once we had all perfected jumping logs we moved onto the ditch complex. My friends horses both decided they had an aversion to ditch jumping and provided some entertainment with their theatrics but Henry (who I will remind everyone has left me for dead in a ditch) was perfectly cool to hop on over. He proceeded to get more and more bored by the ditches and was barley stepping over them. We built up the ditch complex by adding a large log on the way out, then a large log before the ditch to make a coffin. Henry nailed it, and we completed our first 95 line.

We moved onto the small water complex, and we started out having a paddle then jumping out and then in. That was pretty easy for all the horses and so we moved around to another part of the course to look at some other fences before we did a course.

Our course started with a big log stack (which I rode badly because I thought it was big, you’d think I would get over it one day!), then around to the ditch complex, up the hill to the water, over a log, a tyre jump then come right back and pop off a large bank. Then back down the hill and over another log, turning right to pop over a bright coloured concrete pipe, back over the first jump and finishing with an apex.

Henry jumped great but I as his pilot needed to close my leg earlier. Henry was super confident, I could just about here him shouting kowabunga as he did a bombie into the water jump. He came back to me when I asked and made short work of all the jumps. I need to let him roll to fences better, and not to fiddle once he is set up.
Henry: I'm going to make a big splash! Me: I got gross water in my eye.

It was such a great session and I felt very prepared for the first event of the season. I am grateful to have had this opportunity and that we can pause xc training after such a confident session.


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