Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Fall Rocking Horse Recap: Cross Country

Finishing up our - drawn out into three posts - show recap today! 

Let's tour the course first... then we'll do as much of a photo diary as I have, thanks again to XpressFoto. 

#1 - Log box headed kinda towards the parking

#2 - Bench, headed away from parking

#3 - little pimple jump then veer right through some woods to 4

#4 hut then a quick left hand turn through the trees before a little gallop to 5AB

#5AB - Triple to wedge

B was a 6 stride bending line from A, then a long gallop up to the brush

#6 - Brush roll top 

#7AB was this coop then a steep, unriveted downhill

B - flagged downhill into the sunken road

Through the sunken road

#8 - table under the tree at the top of the hill, then a long gallop

#9 - mushroom shared with N

#10 - my old fave MIM oxer then a fairly quick right hand turn to the water

#11ABC - coop to flagged water entry to cabin 

#11C - cabin then a gallop uphill away from the water

#12 - Big Red - shared with modified, then a long gallop again to 13

#13 - corner, backed up to the prelim B corner, then another long gallop

#14 - mushroom

#15AB - half coffin, right at the edge of the woods with the ditch rails painted bright white

#16 - flag

#17 - finished! 

Overall, it rode REALLY well. I was so happy with Ben. It feels surreal that we're back out here doing it. 

Leaving the box. He might've been going a bit sideways towards the trailers... that was a new one

#1 - a bit shocked to find himself out jumping


Let's do it! 

#2 rode just fine, we got ourselves together a bit more by the time we got there, so it was less sideways than #1. 

#3 - very clever over this

LOL at me riding like I immediately have to yank right. It was definitely a gentle turn and a ways to #4

#4 was a bit chippy and short and I told him he needed to get his shit together. Which he did. JT and I didn't have time to walk the whole course together unless I wanted to hang out quite late on Saturday. So we did a highlights version and did the water combo, the sunken road, and the half-coffin. The 5AB combo didn't even register on my radar as that tricky, but there were a lot of stops and even eliminations here. I LOVE wedges though. The first time we jumped one, JT told me shoulders up, hands wide, leg on. I expected a bit of shenanigans from Ben because of who he is, but he jumped that first wedge fantastically, and then I decided I loved them. Since then I ride them like I love them and he jumps them great; it is a great self-perpetuating cycle that we have. 

#5 - jumped this much better than #4, and we're already looking right and I'm pulling back a bit too much rather than opening right


Then we got held. I've never been held on course before and of course forgot to stop my watch. The two of us in the division with time penalties both got held. I think it's just hard to pick up the same rhythm again. 

But fortunately the rider wasn't injured, and we picked ourselves back up for #6 and took full advantage of brushy brush

We got held because someone came off at the sunken road at 7. Which made me ride it SOOOO positively. JT had said to get his shoulders up and ask for a tight spot in so he didn't fly towards the drop, shocking both of us. I was saying out loud "Get your shoulders UP, balance UP" as we came into it. I heard one of the jump judges say "Nice riding" as we came through it, which made me so happy. We had a rather uninspiring jump over the table at 8 though because he was spooking a bit at the shadows. I was glad we had the shared N table to build the confidence up again before ye old MIM oxer at 10. 

That he jumped the snot out of and I rode wayyyyy in the backseat. Sorry bud! 

The jump looks irritatingly small in pictures

11A - Same coop as the sunken road and he jumped this one well too, right from the base, wrapping around

And through the water, he jumped C really well 

And jumped big red well too


The rest of the course didn't get photographed, but he jumped the corner really well and kept his focus in spite of the other jumps around. The next table rode fine too. The half-coffin might be the scrappiest riding I've done to date. He spooked hard at the ditch, which I knew was coming, but I kept my eye up on the log and pushed him through. He considered noping out of the log at B, but again, I kept hands up and spurs in, and he popped over it. The really nice part about Ben is he's got A LOT of athleticism to go with his spooking. So as long as I can confidently push him forward and tell him he's DOING IT, he will in fact DO IT even if he has to finagle a little bit because of how he got himself into it. 

We went through the woods to have probably the worse chip of the course at 16 (8 being a close second with 4 behind that). JT could see us at that point from the finish, but we cleaned it up for a nice jump over 17. 

We ended up with 10 seconds of time, but I'm not upset about that. Without that we would've been third, but as is, we finished fifth in our return to training level. AND, more important, we finished on a number with a happy, relaxed stadium round and a good go of it cross country. It wasn't a super easy cross country course, and I'm so proud of both of us. 


  1. i love all the pictures -- you guys look great!! congrats again on having such an awesome run, esp with the hold!! you should def be proud!

    1. Thank you!! The price is so reasonable for the WHOLE package, I love it.

  2. Beautiful photos! And I assure you that jump does not look small at ALL. (Nor do any of the others!)

    1. Thank you!! We have a long history with that dang oxer after a slip and a crash last winter and I still hate looking it in the eye.