Monday, August 22, 2016

Coursewalking and getting my mojo back

After my mini panic attack after walking my first Training XC course, which got me so in my head that my riding suffered in the first two phases, I decided I needed to have a plan going into my second Training event. I have been working hard since our fall to find my mojo again and get back in sync with Tillie jumping. Its slowly coming back, but I was a bit nervous about this second attempt and if it would help or hinder.

This was my "OMG im might die fence" at the last event which ended up riding just fine

To help keep things going in the positive direction, I asked Dom to walk my courses with me and walk me through tactics and warm up plans for the day. I am so glad I did because, unlike my last event, this one I walked it and felt confident despite some solid fences and questions.

Dont get me wrong, a few fences I did mentally note to ride the pants out of...but I knew we could do it and nothing felt too big to handle...I know I am getting my mojo back when the fences dont look as intimidating.

So I am going to share each fence and the feedback Dom gave on how to ride each one:

Fence 1 pretty straightforward with a downhill landing. Dom said to be sure to let the reins slide out and sit up on landing with it being down hill but to trust Tillie and allow the terrain to back her off since it swooped back up hill again approaching fence #2

Also another straightforward fence Dom said to take in stride and use it to check in. Do you have a half halt? Is Tillie responding to the aids?

Fence 3 a fairly wide table Dom said to make sure you get to the base. He said to prevent the holding and gappy distance we tend to get sometimes, to ride the "waves" of seeing the distance. Youll feel the first wave of seeing a spot, then the second and maybe a third. More often youll want to wait to take the second or third wave.

4 A & B were angled tables 4 or 5 strides depending on your line. Dom said to really ride middle to middle and watch out for drifting at these...they will need to jump these wider because of the angled approach needed.

Fence 5 - the product stand. I took multiple angles of this one because it was a sizable one for sure and after a downhill approach. I knew this one I needed to sit up and check in with Tillie a good ways out. Quite a few horses looked at this or refused it. Dom said it was imperative to have the horse balanced after the hill for it and keep the leg on with the dark mulch which would possibly throw the horse off.

The chevron we spent some time talking about because many green horses will be unsure about these with the cutouts in them. Dom said not to take it for granted because of that despite it seeming to be a straightforward fence.

Fence #7 and our first water complex...this fence I thought looked big! Compared to the prelim fence next to it. Dom reassured me to look at only the solid portion not the brush and that we could jump it all day long. The tricky part of this fence is that a large pond sat just two strides straight behind it so the horse could potentially read it thinking it was jumping into more water PLUS you had to turn right away not to end up going swimming.

Fence 8 was after a nice galloping portion. So the key was to rebalance and be ready to land and go right into a narrow path through the woods on a slight turn which could throw off the rhythm.

9 A &B the second water complex. We talked about this one quite a while. 9A was at a bit of an odd angle to get the right approach requiring you to hug the tree line. With it being a jump directly into water it could potentially be a tricky fence. At least it had a gap under so the horse could see through and get a better read on it. Dom said not to be alarmed if the horse jumped it and lingered or stalled but to really keep your eyes up and locked on the B element with leg on.

Fence 10 was another quite large one but one to take out of a forward stride.

11 A & B on a bending line. We walked it to be 5 strides. I took a picture of the back side because the image doesnt make it appear too large, but it was a quite sizable B element which Dom recommended jumping towards the right, wider part so it would read and feel more like a table.

This fence was an open oxer...which I should have gotten more angels of. Dom said to ride it just like an Oxer in stadium, get right to the base and go for the nice jump up and over so the horse lands softly but not flat.

Pretty straightforward rolltop but it was a slight downhill landing just before the half coffin so the strategy was to take this more to the left to set us up for the coffin.

Now that we stayed left for the other fence, it would set us up nicely to read this combination. The trick being to make sure the horse locks on the correct jump after the ditch.

Another straightforward jump but to be sure again to get to the base and not get too flat with the next combination shortly after.

16 A&B Bank to skinny. Dom seemed surprised this was on the course because the bank was quite large (3ft) and really took time to talk about riding it well. He stressed not to get too long to it and get right up to the base because otherwise the horse may hang a leg or miss their footing. He even said if needed to trot the approach to ensure getting right up to it.

He said then to make sure I dont sit on her too soon and finish my bank ride before setting up for the was long enough away and he wanted to be sure we got up the bank in balance. Once all four feet were up, then concentrate on straightness and close the left aids with it being on a slight right bend and stay tall since most horses will run out on it right on take off.

 Second to last fence just take it out of stride and pretty straight foward.

Same for the last fence.

All in all Dom felt this course was more inviting and easier for the horse to read than our last event so reassured me we would do just fine. Which Ill let you know how we did later this week!!!

Sneak peek:


  1. This course looks like a lot of fun, though some of those jumps are scary big to me. I look forward to hearing how you did.

  2. Those fences are serious business!!! :O