While I’ve always loved cross-country, it’s definitely something I’m not rushing to get Coco schooled in. As she’s such a spooky mare, she doesn’t really deal very well in open spaces so big fields with large solid fences aren’t really going to go down too well!
In my yard we have a track that has a few small cross country fences on it. They’re nothing massive but perfect for introducing a horse to more solid fences. Coco’s first time out there was with her old owner when he brought her down for me to try. She jumped everything without a second thought…the second time however, she spooked at everything. So much so that I couldn’t even get her near a jump let alone over one. This was way back when I had first bought Coco so I figured we needed to bond a bit more before I pushed her.
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when I brought her out on a hack with Dante. We went out to the field at Darielle’s yard where there are some very decent cross-country fences. We had been getting on so well with our jumping the last few months that I figured it was time we tried some cross-country fences. Well I may as well have asked her to jump the grand canyon the way she reacted! She instantly started napping toward the other horses in an attempt to avoid jumping at all. There was a very basic tyre fence that I thought would be an easy jump for her but even when she was getting a lead from Dante she ran out so the fight was on for me to get her over this one. Once I got her straight to the jump I knew she’d jump it but what I wasn’t expecting was for her to stop dead to give the tyres a good look before she pinged herself over them. I have to say it was pretty funny and I know everyone else had a good laugh at how ridiculous she was! BUT..she jumped it so I was happy.
I brought her around and again she needed extra encouragement to move forward and away from the other horses but this time once she locked onto the jump she flew over it without a bother. As we had been on a long hack before this I decided to leave her there.
Given this first cross-country experience, I definitely think getting Coco around a cross-country track is going to be our next biggest challenge! Hopefully I’ll pick up some handy tips as I venture into this new discipline with Coco!
Have you had much experience with a youngster out cross-country? Let me know in the comments, I think I’m going to need all the help I can get!