June 25, 2014

Cross Country School - Round 1

Monday = no work day for me and Lauren got out of work fairly early so we decided to take Echo and Dakota to Masterson Station. Masterson = free access to hundreds of acres to ride on. They hold events so there are jumps everywhere, arenas to use, etc. Neither horse had gone before and it was my first time riding there so I had no clue what to expect. 

I beat Lauren to the barn by maybe 20 minutes so I was able to get both horses groomed. Lauren got there as I was ready to tack up so she took over Echo and I got Dakota ready. We decided to tack up and trailer over instead of tacking at the park because we didn't know what kind of traffic would be at the park and how the horses would behave. Both horses loaded like pros and we were on the road by 5pm. 

20 minutes later we were parked, and unloaded. After Lauren made me go hug a tree when I made a rather stupid comment about falling off, we bridled the horses and off we went. Both horses stood to be mounted - no catastrophes.

We rode around one of the fields letting the horses settle in and Dakota and I trotted and did our own thing while Echo and Lauren warmed up. We regrouped and Lauren took Echo over the tiny fences to get her use to the idea of the jumps not being just standards and poles. Second time around they tried some additional fences and jumped the mid height ones. Echo seemed to love it, and had zero stop to her. If Lauren pointed her to a fence, no questions asked, Echo went over. 

Next we wandered our way to a different field where there were ditch jumps. We encountered a bike group and both horses minds were blown by all the bicycles but remained calm in their confusion. Echo jumped the ditch the first couple of times without hesitation but then began to question it and had a few moments of hell no, but got over it and jumped the ditches again without problem. While trying to film ditch jumping, Dakota decided a full body shake was necessary and my crop and phone went flying. I had to dismount, recollect my items and find a place to get back on. The unsteady pile of mulch didn't work so I led him into a covered pavilion and lined him up to the picnic tables.

Onto the next field. This required going through a creek. Dakota had conquered a creek once before but it was sandy on both sides and he leaped over it mostly. Echo had never been through it. Lauren ended up dismounting and leading her through. Once she realized it was water though, she didn't bat another eye at going through water. Dakota took some encouragement, but got through without leaping like a special horse. 

Echo's initial reaction to going through water and the creek. 
In the field were mostly training and prelim options for jumping but the water jump still was great to school both horses on. Echo walk, trot and cantered through the water like a pro. I held my breath the first couple of times because she started wanting to play in the water and knowing how much she loves to swim in water tanks I was afraid of her laying down in it. After watching Echo play, I decided to try Dakota in it, he actually went in! Proof is below!

Finally Lauren took Echo for a gallop and I decided to try cantering Dakota - something that doesn't happen often. After one more jump round, we headed back to the trailer, riding over a Dakota eating bridge that Echo had be his security blanket for. 

Tired ponies, ready to go home. 
I'll have more video of Echo on cross country by the end of the week. It's just taking me longer than I planned to get it uploaded. Dakota pulled a shoe yesterday after going to Masterson so he bought himself a few days off until I can get it back on. 


  1. Sounds fantastic, what a wonderfully positive experience for all involved!
    Ponies look great too - kudos :-D