Saturday, April 14, 2012


I had the chance to go XC Schooling again today so Cindy and I loaded Banff and Bastian onto the trailer and off we went! My overall plan was to try and get myself relaxed enough so that Bastian would feel relaxed. He is very keyed in to whatever his rider is feeling. We've come a long way and almost mastered our in the ring jumping jitters, now I need to apply that same principle to the big bad outside world.

We spent the first 10 minutes or so walking. He's started doing this walk -jig-walk-jig-walk thing when I first get on (even in the ring) its weird, I need to figure out why he's doing this and get it stopped. Anyway, he did this a few times, but I just kept talking to him and eventually he was walking around and not being too much of a looky-lou. Then we trotted. A lot. He spend most of his time trotting behind my leg, but I was willing to overlook it as long as he stayed quiet, soft and slow. I was also having a stirrup debaucle. (I just got new stirrup leathers and I did not have them adjusted properly, I went up two holes after I had mounted and then just left them where they were, but they needed to go up a bit more). My leg was really slipping forward and I was very hunched over in my shoulders as revealed by the video. I was not the best rider today, lol!

We had spent about 25 minutes and walking and trotting before I finally tried a tiny log. I did not plan well. Its the first jump we take in the video. I meant to steer out of the line and only do the tiny log, but Bastian knows his job and is an awesome guy. He locked onto the second log and in a panicked moment I said "okay" and we went. I got left behind and it looks horrible, but what a horse I have! After that we managed several better jumps, then Cindy helped me just canter around (we hadn't cantered in the big scary field yet). We cantered up hill, down hill and he was wonderful, he never once got crazy. He was still behind my leg, but like I said we both needed to just realize that the field wasn't going to eat us. Every now and then he would get quicker, but he wasn't being grabby andhe wasn't even really being that quick, I just thought he was because of my own timidness.

We had some rough jumps, and we has some pretty nice jumps. I almost came off at one point, but managed to hang on by the seat of my pants literally, my Kerrits Sit-Tights played a part in my sticking on his back. Thank goodness he has an impeccable one-rein stop. I managed to pull myself back on. Unfortunately that meant we had to do the offending jump again. We did and we ended beautifully for us! Here is a recap video: (and let me just say that Cindy and Banff were awesome!)

We still have a ways to go until we get to that happy-confident-ready-to-gallop-xc-fences-and-go-feeling, but for being our third time total cross country schooling and the fact that this was a brand new place where we had never been before Bastian and I were awesome! And I am fully aware that it is all my fault. I don't entirely trust him outside because its new for us and I have this irrational fear that he will take off with me. I mean he has never not stopped when I've asked him to, ever. I need to put on my big girl panties and get over it. I need to relax more, my tension makes him say "ok mom, where is the danger? I'm on the lookout for it. omg, is it under that log? wait, I think I hear something in that tree way over there, is that what's wrong....." When I relax and focus on our job, he relaxes and focuses. Its a total mind game. We ended really well and the last thing I did was to canter all the way around the field. I was very proud of him and of myself. I made a lot of mistakes and I have stuff to work on, but all in all we made HUGE progress today. I hope we can get out at least once more before Winona.

Next Saturday is the last Hunter Schooling Show at Chagrin, we're doing the 2'3" division again and we are going to rock it. I will keep my leg on, stay out of his feet.

Ride Awesome my friends, Ride Awesome.
Bastian (in the stunning yellow and blue argyle) and Banff back on the trailer after their awesome XC Schools! Photot courtesy of our lovely groundsperson: Samantha Channell!

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