This past weekend Fox had his very first true XC school/lesson with our coach K. And I had my first lesson in truly being a horse taxi.
For many years I had been a trailerless horse owner. I had to beg and borrow from kind friends or local shipping companies to get my pony to where I wanted go. When Superhubs and I finally got our own farm I was still trailerless for about a year, although there is a local tack shop that rents trailer and I did have a truck so I wasn't completely immobile. But it was still a hassel and expensive to trek all the way over to the tack shop pick up the trailer and trek all the way back, then do it again when I had to turn the trailer in.
There was also the small issue of Seneca's well known trailering issue. Which I couldn't work on if I didn't have a trailer. So Superhubs and I finally bought our own trailer. It wasn't anything special but it was affordable. About a year later I was able to upgrade to the lovely 3 horse Exiss slant that I currently tote my horses around in. Which as you might imagine has made me quite popular among my trailerless friends.
So when K. started getting the schooling day together and a friend at a local farm who was sans trailer really wanted to go I happily offered to divert my path to pick up her lovely draft cross Birdie. About midway through the week prior to our XC day my coach texted me to ask if I'd be willing to stop and pick up one of her other students at another local stable. Having been on the trailerless end of horse owning I know exactly what its like trying desperately to find a ride so you can school/train/compete/have fun. So I try to help when I can. I made a second correction to my planned route and coordinated everybody.
I picked everyone up without mishap with only a small issue loading R.'s mare in to the trailer. Soon enough off we went to a local farm that recently upgraded all their XC fences. I can't tell you how awesome it is to have a cross country course within an hour of my house!
Fox was mostly brillant. He had a few squirrely moments where naughty thoughts of spooking and shying entered his brain. There were a couple of seconds when he heard then caught sight of the farm's geese. I refocused his attention on the super scary rolltop and he stopped thinking about spooking.
My little red pony was pretty honest to everything until I started getting in his way. There were three fences on course where I lost my grip on my big girl panties. The rolltop was the first it just seemed so massive so we had a stop. The second was a confection of brush and railroad ties, again it looked really wide so we had two stops. But Fox went right over the scary brush fence where nearly everyone else had run outs or stops.
I had no problem with the BN/N size ditch but Fox did try to step down in to it rather than over it the first time. But eventually he got the idea and trotted over like a champ. The real bear on course was the bank. Fox didn't exactly understand the up question. So he had to think about it a long while. When he did get it I got in his way because I didn't release enough or create enough impulsion going in to get the job done. The down bank was where I was suddenly (and I have no memory of doing it) morphing in to Bruce Davidson.
Fox did manage to whack himself on the last run up the bank. He got a cut on the one spot on his back right hind not protected by a boot, on the front of his fetlock. I found it while hosing him off afterwards and before loading in the trailer. Fox blew it off as a minor scrape, I doctored him with an antibiotic cream and other than being really tired when he got home he's been fine.
Lesson's learned? Get out of my own way, let my horse go forward and he will take care of me. One of these days I'm going to learn to do that. We did canter quite a bit, not over any fences, those type of big girl panties are still out of reach for me but we're going in that direction.
Until we get there keep it between the flags!