Yesterday was such a fun- filled day because Bo and I went to our first ever cross country training hire! It sounds funny saying that since I have had Bo for around 9 years and this is just us doing our first one, but there is reason for that. Anyway, my friend and I had planned the trip over a month ago because since we moved to separate yards a couple of years back, we haven’t managed to ride together and Bo and Whistler (her horse) were really good friends so we thought it would be good to have a meet up and reunite them. Bo and Whistler recognised each other instantly and were so sweet together. It just warmed my heart seeing them sharing their haynets.
The cross country course itself was really impressive. It was laid out like a course which was nice as some places only have a field with cross country fences in it. There was a good variety of fences and plenty of smaller ones which was perfect for us and our two veterans.
As soon as I got on Bo, I could feel he was raring to go. He barely even stood still to let me fasten the girth! The warm up was pretty relaxed and uneventful- we managed a very civilised walk, trot and canter which was a good, steady start, or so I thought.
Then, it was on to trying some fences. The first fence we tried was just a small cross pole. I really didn’t think anything of it, I assumed we’d trot in, pop over it and canter away. Not quite. We did trot in and we did pop over it, but we did not canter away, no no no, we bronco’d away from it! Bo was like a rodeo star, he was obviously far too excited to be civilised anymore and while I was getting thrown about everywhere with my friends shouting ‘sit up!’, one of my reins somehow unattached itself from the bridle- not cool Bo, not cool. Thankfully, Bo did stop and we were able to sort out the bridle (the clip had some undone with all the action I assume) and we popped the jump again. I was ready this time though and I thought to myself ‘not this time dragon’ and Bo was better (I did sit up quick and keep his head up straight after landing). Then, we did it a third time for good luck and that too went smoothly.
We did a few more after this and they went well. Bo’s head was focussed on how absolutely exciting it all was and so didn’t concentrate immensely but he popped everything with power and keenness.
THEN, we did a tyre jump. Obviously, I’d become too relaxed and Bo thought I needed waking up. We trotted in, breaking into a nice canter then BAM on landing we were back in bronco mode- though this time, the bucks felt higher. Not fun. I didn’t lose a rein that time though so I count it as a win.
The rest of the jumps were actually really good. Bo popped over them with no more shenanigans and he loved every minute. He felt so full of power, it was amazing. I haven’t given my old boy enough credit for what he can still do.
Overall, the day was a huge success and I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time (well, apart from when I was getting propelled into the air). The last experience I had of cross country was on a 13.2hh pony- Barney- when I was around 12 years old. I fell off between 5-7 times (not even kidding) and my pony refused everything. I even got a pity round after the competition just to try and get him round the course. I was so upset and it knocked me for years. I am now 26 and yesterday was my first time trying cross country since that soul destroying day with Barney and I can safely say, I CAN do cross country, albeit small cross country.
I was really proud of both myself and Bo though, as well as my friend and her horse. We all had fun and it’s a day I won’t forget. I’m actually looking forward to going again, and if Ghillie works out, then I might be brave and take him. I’m so pleased to be feeling confident in myself again, it’s taken so many years and I finally feel like I can go ahead and try things. I just wish sometimes that I had been this confident throughout Bo’s younger years because he would have loved to do some of the higher fences. Regardless though, I am pleased we have done it and I am pleased with how well Bo coped.