Saturday, October 1, 2011

Eventing 101

Don't forget your XC course.

As I walked my first cross country course ever, my trainer told me the first fence would be "inviting." HAHAHA. Yeah...any other XC course but this one. I swear that the first fence was 3'. (Also side note: how is BN beginner?!! It is by no means tiny!) A rolled coop lifted off the ground with flowers and decaying pumpkins underneath. All I could think was "Oh my God I'm not even going to make it past the first fence."

Now, you see the big grey horse in my previous post. He is not my eventer. No, no. He is my hunter and I keep him with my hunter trainer whom I love dearly. I am eventing Romeo, my 14'3 Blue Roan QH that is probably somewhere around 18 years old. And all I can think of is the fact that the first jump is going to look as big as my pony.

Well he jumped it. And I was so excited that I went off course. Kidding..kind of. I was however so overwhelmed that I forgot a jump. I was going like REALLY fast (to me) and jumping BIG solid XC fences and therefore I was so scared/happy/freaked out/joyous, I just forgot.

I forgot the jump after this one...
But it didn't matter...because by the time the jump judge stopped me a few jumps later, I had already stopped so hard at the first water that I nearly went off the front of my horse.

Enter problem 2: Romeo was PETRIFIED of water.

The venue was kind enough to let me school after my "technical," as I was the second to last horse on course for the day. It took 30 minutes to put him in the water.

Now...everyone says they learn new stuff about their animals every day.

Well. I thought I knew just about everything about my horse. I've had him for over 10 years for goodness sakes. But I learned something new. When my horse shuts down mentally because he is afraid, he flies backwards at about 15 mph. Which is a LOT faster than you'd think.

Our best flying backwards moves are, or used to be, in front of water and ditches. My horse is entirely too smart to think that water or ditches are a good idea...and I have a hard time disagreeing with him because I DON'T disagree. I think his feelings are perfectly sound! But with lots of work, and lots of help, he went into the water on the first try with no hesitiation just a short 8 months later :)


  1. Best way I found to remember the cross country course (at a multiday show, anyway) is to walk it a time or two the day you get to the show. Make sure you know every fence and how it will look as you approach it. I personally like to walk over/jump over every fence, as you can certainly do to all BN and N and a lot of T fences. I mean, if I can clamber over, my horse certainly should be able to the next day!

    Then at night, as you sit at the hotel, or are driving to dinner, and of course as you go to bed(and vainly try to fall asleep!), ride the course in your head as it will look from horseback exactly how you want the ride to go.

    This will help you fall asleep, too, but you may forget the end of the course if you don't make it through at least once ;-)

  2. Thank you! I have been so nervous lately, that at my last event, I walked the course 5 times and took pictures at every jump in my phone. I also slide over them so I can get a *really* close look.