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XC Training at Speetley

Today we travelled with my friend Kelsea Truelove in her horsebox which was great because we had some fun and we spent the journey singing!!! While we were getting ready and dressed, we had tied Shadow to the box right next to the little door into the living space, and Shadow kept on sticking her head in the door and snuffling round, being almost unbearably cute! I crouched down to scratch her round the ears and mum quickly snapped some photos of the adorable horse!

When we were up and mounted, Richard, our instructor today, sent us into a field and told us to go and canter round in a circle, after which he told us all off for cantering in such small circles! Then he lead us into a bigger field and told us to go over a log. I was second to jump and Shadow absolutely FLEW it!!! She really does love her cross country! After everyone had been over twice Richard gave us a quick course and made me go first and told me to jump the biggest log I've ever jumped. I was a bit nervous but I just kicked on and we did it no problem, Shadow was such a good girl!

Richard then moved us to another part of the course, and gave us a slightly more challenging set of jumps to do. We had a little problem at this blue house but I made sure Shadow got over it 2nd try and she became spooky at a trakehner but I dealt with that by riding positively and she cleared it by miles! In fact, I got left behind in the trakehner because she flew it so well!

Richard then directed us toward the WATER! We were told to canter in the water twice making a circle. Shadow and I were the first to enter the water cantering all the way through! Good girl! Richard then made up a new course, so we had to go over a log, though the water, out the other side and over another log. After the first log, you can hear Richard in the videos saying "don't gallop, don't gallop, don't gallop........" Fortunately, no one had a swimming lesson rather than a riding lesson during this period of time!!!

Next came the DITCHES!!! Dun, dun dunnn!!! Known as hiding places of dragons to all horses - well to Shadow anyway!!! The first time round, we had a lead and Shadow leaped it effortlessly and we gave leads to some of the other girls! I saw one girl fall off and land in the ditch, but she got back on after a few minutes. But straight after Richard asked me to try the bigger ditch with the log! I was a bit worried, we cantered up to it and I dismounted quickly into the ditch, totally on purpose, you know, just to make sure it was safe to jump... But I quickly go back on and asked Richard if I could just do the ditch on it's own, he said of course I could, if I wanted to be a baby!!! I thought I'd show him and I rode a little more positively the second time to the log and Shadow jumped it just like it wasn't there.

You can see my completely deliberate dismount on my You Tube channel here

The STEPS! Not encountered before by Shadow and I together! And they looked massive! We were the first to go, it felt like I was cantering up to a solid wall ready to meet my airborn body,they looked so scary... But then we were in the air, Shadow landing and leaping again like an agile cat lightly to the top! I was very proud of my baby, I'd had no clue what to do and she had completely taken care of me! Then it was time to go down the steps and I kind of just clung on, leaned back and hoped for the best lol!!! You can see my face in the photo! And it worked!!! How amazing is Shadow?

As we were walking out, Richard told me and two other girls to jump this big brush fence that was just next to the gate. Grimly, I went first and we had a stop. But it was my lack of conviction that caused the stop, and this time, after shaking myself up a bit I rode her to it in a nice rythmn and she literally just popped it.

All in all it was a fantastic day, and I loved it! Thanks to Richard for teaching us, Wendy for letting us hitch a ride and helping mum take videos and photos, Kelsea and Carla for being a really supportive and basically being great friends, and of course mum for being you! Xxxx

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