Cross Country Adventures

Monday was a holiday around here, so we were invited to an open schooling at High Point Farm with Amanda and company. I took Knots and Maggie took Gracie, and our other barn peeps Jeannette and Katie also came along. Katie, Maggie, and me loaded up the trailer at the farm and actually made it down super early. Like 45 minutes before we were supposed to begin the lesson. I realize this isn’t early for many people, but it was for us and I was excited.

We slowly tacked up and got our horses warmed up. Maggie spent some extra time lunging Gracie since she settles better into work if she has the opportunity to buck on the line instead of under saddle ;). Then the rest of the lesson people descended and it was time to warm up with the group and then head out.

Knots and I had a good warm up, we have been working on moving back to dressage fundamentals in all warm ups until he starts relaxing. I was riding him in a D-ring, fatter snaffle for the schooling with a running martingale (this is important as the day continued on haha). We managed to finish cantering just as the group was ready to move off to the first jumps.

The first group was a series of logs, horizontally probably 2′, 18″, 2’3″, and 2’6″. Plus or minus a few inches, I am not as good of a guesser from horseback. We schooled a combination of two (Gracie and Maggie) or three (Knots and I) to warm up. I started off by dropping him and letting him run to the first few, which gave us crappy spots and ugly riding. So we refocused some more and I tried to keep my body back.

Next set of jumps was a 2’ish box, a log pile 2’3″ish, and some tires (however tall tires are… 2’3″?). I took a picture.

We didn’t work over the big jump farther back in the picture. Anyways we jumped the logs and then circled around and jumped the tires. Knots was a little shaky going into the tires, but luckily my leg was engaged. Maggie had a little bit of trouble over the logs. Gracie is still jumping weird, and got Maggie jarred a little bit in the tack, then basically stopped and bucked after the jump. Maggie went up into the air, took her foot out of the stirrup, and landed one her feet with the reins in hand. Wow. I got a couple of pictures before the jump:

Gracie learned a trick too, the jump after Maggie dismounted, she tried to slam on the breaks on the backside of the fence and knock Maggie loose again. Maggie fixed that problem. After successfully navigating those jumps, we moved on to the next combination series, of which I actually got some video. For Gracie, Maggie jumped a 2’ish log, then came around over a 2′ green box, then up the hill to some 2’ish logs standing upright. See video:

My combination was the bigger log to the right, then the brown ramp and the table/house thing in the middle of the third set. We had some trouble at the ramp the first time through. We didn’t quite commit and we jumped the space in between the two jumps. Oops. Then we tried to add back the table thing, and Knots was getting tired and strung out. I ended up letting him gallop up the hill all strung out, and he took a very long spot to the table and I got left behind pretty good. This was good practice though, because I need to really keep working at checking his speed and not running. He needs to continue getting stronger so that cantering up a hill to a jump isn’t as challenging.

Before moving along, we jumped the last couple of elements, the steps. There was a step up and a step down. Knots and I have practiced these at Pine Hill, so I thought they were kind of fun. Except Knots wouldn’t trot. He wasn’t quite trantering, but just a very up and down excited canter. Gracie didn’t do anything notable, just went up and down.

The last area we moved to feature a couple of fake ditches, a bench, a table, and some railroad tie jump thing. I didn’t get a picture, but you might be able to see some in the last video.

Maggie jumped the “ditch” which was two poles on the ground about 2 feet apart, then over to the green box, then the stand up logs, and finally the step up. Gracie just did not feel led to canter during these exercises. You can see in the video that she just doesn’t hardly want to move forward.

For Knots and I, we started with the same ditch, then jumped the railroad thing, then over to the ramp and up to the table, followed by the step up and down. I felt more in control for this round, and we didn’t get strung out and gallop up the hill!

I thought we were done at this point, but as it turns out we went to the “water complex” and jumped into the stadium bit. We jumped the three logs from jump number two, then turned and cantered through the water, over some barrels, and then onto the stadium in jump (a small coup). Knots and I had some trouble getting over the barrels. I let him get strung out going through the water and lost my reins, then couldn’t steer over the barrels. Several times. Finally I made it over, then jumped into the stadium and apparently lost my phone.

I didn’t realize this until later, and luckily Katie noticed it in the stadium arena. Whew. I definitely didn’t want to tell Robert I needed another new phone (I just replaced a cracked screen…). Gracie didn’t have any problems going through the water, although she had a “this is yucky” look on her face the entire time. She jumped the same jumps and then at long last we were finished.

We took care of the ponies and then loaded up and rolled out, dreaming of lunch. Ha. That wasn’t going to happen.

We were about 20 miles from the farm on the highway when our tire blew on the trailer. Both tires actually, on the same side.

Luckily we had a great friend with a floor jack, and we managed to eventually… make it home. The horses were not too bothered by the experience, Gracie even stopped pawing eventually haha. Life lesson here kids: always trailer with a floor jack, a spare tire, and one of these:

We made it home unscathed, hungry, and tired, but at least we got Katie’s papers graded 😉 Maybe more pictures to come. I’m crossing my fingers one of the other riders friend took some awesome pictures to share.

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