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We Are Flying Solo

March 17, 2013

The Becky Diaries: Day 6: Cross Country

What could possibly be wrong with that?

A warm beautiful Saturday meant it was time to revisit our XC skills and work on some drops.  Apparently, my signature zombie move when dropping off a bank is neither correct nor effective.  Colour me shocked.  *sarcasm font*

I had expected to mount a very tired pony after his attitude in the long lining pen yesterday, so I hopped on with the intention of doing just a little lateral yielding to get his hind legs moving.  Instead, when I asked for trot, I discovered someone had slept well indeed and I was sitting on a rocket, ready for launch!

A little N table on the ridge
The exercises were basic -- a few simple warmup lines, small down-banks, some accuracy questions, and a drop into water.  But the theme throughout was optimizing my position and eradicating the zombie.

Upon approaching a drop question, the horse needs to lower his head to examine the jump and then execute it, so my challenge was to make sure I let out the reins upon approach so when he needed to lower his head, the space was already there.  As he jumped, I was to focus on keeping those hands down, shoulder back, and give him freedom to do his job.  

Drop it like it's hot...with lower hands.
A few skinnies asked a similar question -- keeping Encore straight, as soft as possible, and keeping my hands on his withers the entire time.  The drop into water carried it one step further, making sure I did not choke up on him, which would then have him approaching the drop with his head in the air instead of down and ready to stretch over the edge.

Although we often took about 1/2 a mile to stop after each jump, it was great fun to have another go at XC when he wasn't fearing wild beasts (I'm sure having a schooling buddy helped!) and he put on his best bold, clever hat for the day and worked through it all like a pro.

It was a nice way to spend the afternoon before chilling the beer and readying the food for the annual farm party -- yes, live band included!  All I can say is that eventers of all ages have no issues with climbing up on those picnic tables and showing off their mad body control, shaking what their mommas gave 'em!

Our last lesson before his day off will revisit our dressage.  I have no idea WHAT to expect from him at this point as far as energy level is concerned.  It's very warm today and the wind has FINALLY taken a break, so hopefully I won't have quite the brick-mouthed machine of XC inside the little white fences!

It's hard to believe we only have three lessons left.  I have no words to encompass what an amazing opportunity and what a good, hard-working, hilarious, and genuine group of people I've met.  The real world doesn't seem to appealing; I'm in no rush to go back!


  1. The whole thing just sounds amazing! I hope I get to do something similar someday!

  2. It is -- and now I know why people who get to take lessons all the time kick my butt! But Becky has given us some very valuable tools to build on while making me even more of a stalker, hahahah!

  3. But..but...your signature zombie move is ever so amusing! I mourn its demise. Although, as it is a zombie, perchance it will ocassionally come back to life?

    All kidding aside, I'm very happy that you get to have such an amazing Spring Break with an Olympian Kick-Butt Boot Camp.

    I seriously have all the paperwork filled out so your mom can adopt me. In fact, since I was born @ the end of February in the same year as you, I'm pretty sure we're long-lost twins and she owes me some seriously overdue prezzies. *grabby hands* Ten days with an Olympian, please, NewMom!! ;-)

  4. ROFL, good job finding the paperwork, Frizz! And don't worry, the zombie is, by definition, undead. I am pretty sure I will not be perfect forevermore. In fact, I'd bet on that.

  5. So cool. :)

    People who take lessons all the time are amazing. I hang out with them and try to get it to run off on me.

  6. Indeed, SB -- I'm hoping osmosis works!