Cross-Country Schooling

We finally get to the best part of eventing: cross-country. We all know that if there was a sport that was just cross-country without the dressage and stadium, eventers would be all over that. As a CT, this show didn't have XC, but I had signed up for schooling. If you follow me on Facebook, you've already seen some of these pictures. If you don't, why not start now: Facebook.

Cross country is, by far, Nilla's favorite activity. Even though she had been tired all day and we had already done dressage and stadium, she opened up a reserve of energy and excitement when we got to the xc jumps.

For our first jumps we did a line of a little log to a slightly bigger log. She took the first log in stride, but her ears were locked on the next one:

And she took that one from a stride away and jumped it huge. I was completely unprepared and totally got left behind so ignore my position, but look how excited this mule is:

We checked out a bigger pile of logs after that and she was on it:

We even got some happy cantering (and lots of pets and praise) in between jumps:

Then we came around to this hanging log, which she absolutely loved:

We hopped in and out of the empty water. I absolutely hate banks. Especially down banks, but up banks don't make me happy either. I am planning to do a xc clinic either later this month or next. I really need professional help to get over this. I know what it comes from (jumping green broke OTTBs down banks as a teenager with no real instruction on how to ride banks and having some bad crashes). So this looks like a tiny bank, but it was probably the scariest jump we did to me.

Coming out of the banks, I spotted a white turkey with a huge flock of babies. So brief detour to take pictures of her. I don't generally like turkeys, but how pretty is she? The babies were very cute and they blended in to the grasses and dirt perfectly.

Back to XC. We did a little pile of logs coming out of the trees:

We went on to to a different log and, as we were approaching, about 5 lizards who had been sunbathing on the log went scurrying all over it trying to run away and Nilla was like "me too." 

I love the tongue here. Nilla never refuses jumps and it was really my fault for not keeping leg on and steering; I was doing my usual sit back and let her figure it out. And she figured out that it was freaking alive and we should avoid it. I circled, re-presented with some actual leg and she popped right over. She did keep an ear on it though:

We did a line from the log to this tube jump, which is now one of my favorite pictures of her. She's just so freaking happy with herself and she looks like such a good jumper. 

After that, we walked over to the other section of the XC course. This side only has a few jumps, but it does have the ditch and bank. We've done the ditch before. She popped right over it:

We did a few tiny log piles in that field and then my husband said we should try the hill jump and I was like, but I hate tiny little banks, why would I do a log on a hill? I came around and tried walking up the hill over the log since it was so small I knew she could just take it like a trail obstacle. Nilla said screw that, trotted up and jumped it. So we came back around and I let her at it:

God my position sucks, but what a good little mule. She did it even with me falling all over her neck like an idiot. Like I said, I know I need instruction - especially on jumps that are not on the flat - and I'm planning on doing a clinic soon. But how awesome is this mule?

She got lots of pats and praise and we ended there.

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