Today was my first outdoor rally ever on Shadow (the last one had been an indoor rally at Moorhouse Equestrian Centre in Doncaster) and I was super excited. It was also going to be the first time Shadow and I would have go at cross country, and the scary part was we were in the first group going out to the cross country course in the morning. As per usual, we were rushing round trying to get Shadow ready quickly. We weren't entirely sure whether the rally started at 9:30 or 10:00, but we got there just in time anyway.
I was feeling apprehensive about taking Shady out on the cross country course, I couldn't sleep the night before because I hadn't taken her to cross country before and I didn't know what would happen, Frickley is a BE course and I knew there were some very big jumps there. Richard, the instructor got everyone together and we all trotted behind his little yellow car to the first jumps, a group of logs. Shadow was a little giddy because she was at the back but we got there safely.
Before I knew it, we were cantering around and flying over those logs, having an absolute ball and I was grinning like a cheshire cat! Then I was told to jump this massive log, and I pooped myself going up to it, the log looked massive and really daunting and I was worried! As it turns out so was Shadow, we didn't jump it, but instead I decided to do a flying dismount to closely inpsect the take off, which I was later told was actually graceful! so yeah, totally meant to do that...
There were about three fall offs in the first hour, bodies flying in every direction! One time, Amelia was doing the drop fence into the water, she jumped in perfectly and then lost her balance on landing, but she clung on then launched herself at the bank! She hit the ground at the very edge of the water, no one could believe how you could fall off at the water jump yet not get wet!!!
When it was my turn to do the drop into the water, we kind of stood at the edge peering into the water, all a bit scary! Suddenly, Shadow sat back onto her haunches, gathering her power before launching her self into the air over the water like a tiger springing on its prey!!! In fact, she had launched herself so far that it was only about three strides until the bank! Wow!!! It was amazing!!! I tried to trick Richard to let me in the water a third time, and it nearly worked too, if it hadn't been for the fact that mum turned around and told him I'd already been in!!!
After that we had to do a ditch and Shadow was a bit worried at the thought of jumping over the deep ditch and we had to have a lead from Tilly, and we finally managed it. Shadow made sure to jump at least 4ft in the air, just in case dragons might be lurking at the bottom!!! Then Richard made us do it without a lead and she jumped even higher, she was seriously convinced there were dragons hidden in the ditch.
At the end of the cross country we got to gallop up to the very top of the field at full pelt and it was AMAZING. Because Frickley Hall has the ODE course, and the land is really well looked after it was just beautiful rolling green grass, and such a treat to be allowed to have a gallop on it. Shadow flew up the hill, going faster and faster as soon as I asked her, she was thoroughly enjoying herself too. All too soon we had to pull up and having been such a good girl the whole way through, just got a little giddy when we were walking back.
After lunch everyone just hung about for a bit because all the parents were at a meeting and we didn't know when we were supposed to be getting on what we were doing. Finally we were all on and we stood to listen to our instructor as she talked us through the different components that make riding and road safety. Shadow got a bit restless so I had to keep her a bit off a distance away from the others, but that meant that I wasn't able to hear the instructor very well. When we finally took our test I made sure that I made a big production of looking around signalling and overtaking, I really wanted to get it right. We all ended up passing the test, but we then had to stand about for even longer waiting for the dressage arena to be empty so we could do some flatwork. When we finally did get in, poor Shadow felt quite tired she could barely pick her feet up bless her, and tripped a couple of times. We didn't do anything too trying, just some work on the balance of you and your horse by going across the diagonal in trot then the lead horse would shift into canter. Then we worked on the riders balance and basically did the same thing just without stirrups. I was glad when we finished because Shadow and I had had enough. She was such a good girl.
All in all, it was a cracking day full of fun and lots of giggles and even though I had my doubts, it turned out to be my best day out with Shadow so far, I loved it so much
Thanks to the Badsworth Pony Club for organizing such an awesome day x also thanks to my mum who was just her and that is just amazing, her usual caring and supportive self.