Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Screw that show stuff, let's bust out with some XC

After the hunter show on Saturday morning, I repacked the trailer so that we could head out Sunday for some XC schooling. I had contacted the hunstmistress with Independent Foxhounds to see if we could join them for roading (since Oberon has never seen hounds before), and instead she invited us to come school on her private XC course. She has about three dozen jump complexes from BN through Training, including banks, water, ditches, trakheners, nice bendy lines, coops... you name it. It's a super nice course on rolling hills with a path mown through it - just perfect.

We pulled in around 9 am Sunday and tacked up, then headed out with the huntsmistress, hunstmaster, and their three working students. We somehow lucked out with the weather - it was in the mid 80's, cloudy, with a nice breeze. For Texas at this time of year, that's FANTASTIC! I was a little nervous to be out on course, so Saga was a little jiggy, but settled down after the first few jumps. Hubby followed me on Oberon for every fence - since Oberon had never seen a solid fence before, we wanted him to have extra incentive to jump it.

Both horses were complete and total rockstars! Saga never batted an eye at anything, and the huntsmistress commented on how nicely he jumped and how tidy he was with his front end. I remembered to look up and count "one... TWO... one... TWO" in front of the fences so I wouldn't screw up the rhythm. I made sure that Saga was going the rhythm I wanted and not bolting at the fences, and for the most part it really worked out. Hooray!

Naturally there aren't any pics of me, since I was the one with the camera, but I did get some video of hubby with Oberon.

First up, the log pile. This was actually Oberon's best jumping effort, despite an early attempt to go around (not caught on video).



Next up, a mini-trakhener. Hubby had to learn to balance him since it was coming down a slight hill and he tends to get long and cruise-y if you let him.



And then of course, the Ditch of Doom. Oberon followed Saga over it with no problem the first time. When hubby tried it on his own the first time, Oberon hit the brakes, but he turned him around immediately and tried again:



Finally, we did the water complex. Oberon once again followed Saga in the first time and then cheerfully trotted through. This was the second or third time they went through - jump in, jump out. Not bad for a horse who has never been XC!



We finished up our day by doing an entire course. Unfortunately by then, Saga was pretty done. When he's tired, he ends up being a train wreck, sprawling along on his forehand. He can't balance himself and I can't balance him, so he just runs faster and longer. I pulled him up after the second fence, when it became pretty clear that I had no brakes and minimal steering. He had been a really good boy all day, so I can't fault him for the bit at the end. Oberon was still going strong, and hubby followed the hunstmistress over about 7 fences. I think there was a fence or two where Oberon decided that going around would be easier than jumping, but hubby turned him around, set him back up, and got him over.

On the drive home, hubby and I enthusiastically recounted the highlights. We were both really pleased with our horses - for never being out on course before, Oberon was a total star. The hunstmistress really liked him and said he seemed like a good match for hubby, although she did laugh at one point and called him a "minimalist" when he cleared a jump by about 1/2 an inch. At least he gets the job done! Saga was he usual bold self and carted me over everything. When I rode him steadily he gave me great jumps. I do need to get more used to riding at speed though - I'm spending too much time in the arena going at hunter speeds. Luckily, we've been invited back every Sunday, and starting August 5th they'll be riding out with the hounds on course.

Gee, it's just TOO BAD that the Sunday foxhunting stuff coincides with those hunter shows, don't you think? I wonder which one I should do... ;)

14 comments:

  1. I am so jealous, I would LOVE to jump into hunting like that. What a great resource to have close to you.

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    1. Amy, I know! We are SUPER lucky to have the invite to such a nice, private facility. I wish I had a 100-acre XC course in my backyard!

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  2. Sounds like a fab day and what a star Oberon is turning into! Good on Saga too -he will get a lot fitter if you do that every week so no doubt his tiredness will soon be a thing of the past :-)

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    1. Lol, yes, Saga will definitely be much fitter in another month! I just have to keep him up during the week. I wish we had more places to gallop at home, but I'm sure we can make do.

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  3. Wow - super nice you get to use that facility!! What fun. Looks like you guys had a blast.

    I 'bout busted a gut reading that the huntmistress called Oberon a "minimalist"... too funny! :)

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    1. CFS, I about fell off my horse laughing when she made the "minimalist" comment, in part because it was said ever-so-politely and with a tidy British accent. The huntsmistress definitely a sense of humor I can appreciate!

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  4. What a good boy Oberon is!! And Saga too by the sounds of it!
    Man that all sounds like fun. If only we had places like that around here.

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    1. LL, come visit and I'll take you... ;)

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  5. Sounds like so much fun!!! yay for good ponies too! :)

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  6. That looks like great fun! Oberon is such a steady boy. Very impressive for a first run.

    Now, we need pics of you and Saga for next time!

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    1. Oberon is a VERY steady boy... which is exactly why we bought him. I'm so happy that he's turning out as we'd hoped!

      I'd love some pics of me and Saga, but I'm always the one with the camera. Hubby never thinks to take any pics while he's riding, you know?

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  7. A secret about nunn finer bridles: they are made by this super cool amish tack shop on the east coast. You just call them and leave a message with your address. They mail you a catalog and then voila!! You can order nunn finer strap goods for about 50% off retail.

    Seriously.

    Let me know if you want the number.

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    1. OOOOOOH. REALLY? WANT!!!

      Yes, please send me the number. jenjobst at gmail dot com. I have a pair of Nunn Finer XC boots from like a million years ago that are still in great shape, so I really love their products. And I definitely want better-quality leather bridles. The one I just bought, while not super-expensive, also wasn't super cheap, and the leather SUCKS. Blargh. I'd love a really good-quality bridle from them!

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