Brigadoon II - Cross Country

After the course walk Saturday, there was nothing I was overly worried about on the course for Henry and I. All the spooky jumps were in the first half of the course, and I knew I would have to ride every jump equally.

My game plan was to tap Henry on the shoulder coming into 4, a bright house although more for my sake than his. I also planned on trotting through the water and wanted to trot early to make it clear to Henry we don’t slow down at water.

I was most nervous about the warm up which was sandwiched between the start and finish. Henry gets very worried watching horses gallop away from him and I was dreading riding him through that. He came out on Sunday knowing exactly what we were there for and he was excited and ready. I got on and put him to work and he settled and got on with it. Winning! It was the most relaxed XC warm up we have had yet so I got him where he needed to be and then chilled out while we waited to go. We were rider 10, and he didn’t even worry about watching the other horses go before him.

We headed to the start box and I asked him to stand facing away from the course. He was relaxed and waited calmly until we were counted down. We trotted out of the box, picked up a lovely canter and flowed to fence 1, a nice roll top.

He jumped it and moved right into a nice forward canter and we jumped 2, a pheasant feeder easy peasy. 3 was Woody the dog which was quite skinny, so I set him up a bit more and he popped it easily. Coming to 4 I gave him a tap a few strides out and he jumped perfectly. 
I don't think he noticed

5AB was the first combination on course, a bench on a 6 stride bending line to a table. He was fine over A but was a bit spooky at B, although I don’t think it was the jump so much as the people and gazebos on the hill right next to the jump. He jumped it fine, and we trotted soon after and went right into the water and over the troll bridge at 6. 7 was the Brigadoon log and I swear he was reading the Brigadoon. Silly horse. I opened him up to 9 which was an upright and continued to let him flow for the next few fences which were mostly roll tops.

He was really flying, jumping perfectly out of stride and listening when I asked him to come back to me. He put on a burst of speed as we turned for home so we had a brief wrestle coming into 14AB however he came back from a stronger aide and jumped well, although he nearly fell on his face through the sunken road. Good job Henry.

We turned to the last jump and we were home clear, coming in 6 seconds under optimum time! Henry was perfect through the whole course and really confident too. He made easy work of everything and wasn’t really worried about any of the jumps. It was easy and while I thought we would be tight on time, and I really wasn’t riding to time, letting him flow and trusting that my training was there meant he covered the ground well.

We were 9th after dressage (even with a less than stellar score, because the judge though he was lame) and moved up to 8th after show jumping. I felt the course was easy and wouldn’t cause too many issues, but the scores were tight so figured that some people might get time.  In the end quite a few people got time and a few of the jumps caused some problems and we were bumped up to 5th.

This weekend was the perfect end to the season, and while I went into the weekend focusing on training and self-improvement, we smashed our goals and got a ribbon too. I went into each phase with a plan and I stuck to it. Henry was calm and confident, he knew his job and was so easy to have around.

To top the weekend off we won a bit of money and got third off the track horse in the class too, so we got a second ribbon and a hat! Two prizes are even better. It was a great finish to the year and I am pleased we stuck to 65 for this event. I am already planning my next season out and have an event earmarked to upgrade at and after this run I think Henry will be more than ready by then.

Henry now has a well-deserved holiday and Coolie will be getting his fat bum into shape.


  1. What a great way to end the season! Congrats!

  2. Wooot what a great day!! Congratulations ;) he’s turning into such an awesome horse!


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