With Zins splint bone injury, our show season got off to a later than expected start. But now that we’ve started, it feels like we are doing something every weekend – I love it! We had Twin mid-April, Fresno end of April and now the first weekend in May gave us a cross country schooling! So many fun times!
I used to live and go to school in Santa Cruz, and since it’s only a 30-40 minute haul to Woodside my old horse & I schooled there a LOT. It was always the place I felt the most comfortable at, but thankfully since then I have branched out more and gone other places! It is funny, I used to think Woodside was SO BIG, but now schooling at other venues I realize their XC course is actually pretty small! Regardless, I still enjoy schooling there and we definitely had a blast last Saturday!
Since Woodside is only a little over an hour and a half from where we live, the drive there felt like it went by super fast! I also didn’t have to leave the barn until 8AM (!!!!) so I also got the luxury of “sleeping in”. When I got there, the place was PACKED….it was the last weekend to school before the closing date of their May event and there was also an “A” Hunter/Jumper show there that weekend. As a result, one of my biggest fears came true – I had to back up the truck and trailer into a spot. Oh my god I legitimately had a panic attack, BUT I sucked it up and backed up into the spot after several tries. Honestly, this was the worst thing to happen to me all day so I should consider myself pretty fortunate!
I was riding with 3 other people in my group, including my trainer on one of his other client’s horses. Woodside has 2 main water complexes, and the four of us headed down to the lower water complex. There were SO many people schooling that day and it was a bit crowded, but we all respected each others space so it worked out nicely. This was my first time being in a “novice” group and there to school all the novice fences and questions. Since I am basically crazy and super over the top OCD, I had spent the entire week before looking up videos of the novice cross country course so I could see the jumps and knew what to expect. Luckily everything was pretty straight forward and inviting and I wasn’t really “worried” about anything. We did struggle pretty hard with one line(discussed below), but overall Zin was SUCH a good girl! She has such a great work ethic and I’m so fortunate I get to ride and work with her every day.
Zin was overall a really good girl, but we did struggle with two things on course. About half way through the course, there is a 4 stride line with 2 angled cabins. We already struggle a bit with bending lines (it’s a work in progress), so I was curious how it was going to ride. I watched everyone else in my group ride it and it rode GREAT. And then it was my turn – and it did not ride great, ha. I couldn’t keep Zin straight and between my leg and hand, and as a result we kept getting 5 strides with the last stride being very crooked, backwards and chippy. When I get nervous or a bit timid, I tend to just land from the jump and “hang out” for a second. I need to remember there is life after the jump and that we have to land and GO. Once I rode straight and forward, we got the 4 strides no problem – and it left me wondering why I didn’t just ride like that initially!! I’m hoping that by that point on course we will be in a bit more of a flow and rhythm…..and also if I can just sit down and ride forward we will be fine! When in doubt, sit up and add leg!
There were also two jumps where I was REALLY proud of Zin. Jumps with width tend to make me the most nervous and backed off, and there is one really wide table at the end of the course. Well, it’s really wide to me, I’m sure other people think its tiny but to each their own! Anyway Zin jumped it no problem!! I’m pretty sure I landed with a huge smile on my face. On my end, I didn’t really ride it the best and got left a little behind – I wasn’t expecting her to launch over it so easily! The other thing that made me really happy was the down bank. Zin has never had a problem with down banks, but she’s also never been super bold off them either, if that makes sense. She tends to kind of take a peek and then hop off – not really hesitating, but not going super forward either. Anyway, after the red table there is a pretty substantial down bank. I remember thinking wow if I was a horse there’s no way I’d jump off that . Well, good thing Zin is the horse and not me because she just popped right down on problem! It’s funny, the things I get kind of nervous about Zin has no problem with and the things she gets nervous about I really need to do a better job of riding forward to the fence and supporting her with my leg – do show her she CAN do this.
Overall I was so pleased with our schooling and am really looking forward to the event at the end of the month! Oh, I made a video of some clips from our schooling if anyone is interested the link is here: May 2018 Woodside Schooling. I really need to work on my video editing skills, if anyone has a good video editor app, I’d love to hear about it!