Baby's First Cross Country Schooling

My brain is such a pile of mush right now that I almost started writing the definition of homoscedasticity instead of about  my horse.

 When you make a scatterplot and the points... 
You know what? Nevermind.

I'm in that period of my year where I'm furtively studying for an exam. I mean, from July to August I'm studying but I wouldn't call it furtive. I have a LOT of flashcards. I have four binders of notes and six practice exams that I'm going to start taking ... soon. I get home from work so late that by the time I'm finally out of my work clothes I just fall straight into bed.

The only escape from this work-sleep-study cycle I have is Runkle. Every time I see him it's like I finally rest. Even when I'm asleep I dream about the problems and the time and the clicking of calculator buttons.

But when I'm at the barn or riding I am completely consumed by it to the exclusion of all else. I'm thinking about our steering, or what new cut he has, or my position. I go on hacks and even if it's cold and windy and miserable out I have a huge smile on my face because at least I'm not inside with a book in front of me.

As a self declared Professional Unprofessional Rider, I have to say the best thing to do when your brain is liquified is to take your baby horse cross country schooling for the first time. Especially when there's a hurricane off shore and the doppler looks something like this:

But at least the footing will be good!!!

I wasn't sure what to expect from our first school. Initially I had this idea that we'd be cantering around the tiniest beginner novice jumps. That got downgraded to elementary jumps. Which got downgraded to just jump one jump. By the time I got on I decided to go with, I hope I stayed on.

And all that makes it sound like he was an out of control wild animal, which he wasn't. But he is a four year old who raced just a few months ago and can't read a job description and go, "Oh cool, this is my new occupation and I am cognizant enough to throw out everything I used to know." I have to teach him we're not going to race, ever again, and what we're going to do now is way more fun and he's actually naturally really talented at it so it's all going to be okay!

At the start we had a minimal loss of steering but my brakes seemed fine. After demonstrating amazing moonwalking abilities (he wanted to head back to the trailer but I wouldn't let him turn) and having a piss (twice!) I finally walked him over a jump and after that he calmed down. We walked and trotted a few more of the tiny logs, and then graduated to the little tiny bank. He jumped up it amazingly. When we trotted down it he tried to launch into orbit which should have been terrifying but I won't lie, it was a pretty cool feeling. We both need to work on the enthusiasm a little.

I almost missed my end goal anyway, after all that, at the very last jump. I trotted him to the WORLD'S TINIEST BENCH.

I wish I had something to scale this. Like a chihuahua.

I'm serious. That was the fence that almost did me in. It's not even up to my knee.  He likes to get deep to the jump, which he did, but then instead of popping over it like normal he looked at it. I think he was trying to figure out why we would bother. Of course I jumped up his neck like a jackass and when he put his head down to look I had to quickly backtrack to keep myself from rolling off.

I gave my trainer a good laugh and managed to stay in the tack so all's well that ends well. And don't worry, I'm going to save my epic falls for when they're really worth it, like this week in my lesson when I tried to nose dive at trot poles.


  1. haha yay for keeping the horse between you and the ground! sounds like a successful first xc outing for baby Runkle :)

    1. That's always the art of riding, ain't it?

      And it totally was I couldn't have asked for much more!


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