So we went cross country schooling yesterday and Ben was an absolute STAR! He was so perfect, only bucked a handful of times, jumped everything without even peeking, and was so quiet!
We started off taking the trail to the little field that we warm up in. Its about a mile to the cross country course so we trotted along the trails to get there. Then we did some basic flatwork on varied terrain which he was awesome for! He was in this gorgeous frame the entire time which bodes extremely well for his behavior off property at shows. Here's hoping he's this good on Saturday for the combined test!
Then we trotted and cantered over a little log and then cantered a bending line from the log to a stone wall to warm up. Then we put a couple of little courses together where I jumped the log to stone wall bending line, left turn to another stone wall with a significant drop on the other sides, handful of strides to a bank up. Then we turned around and dropped down the bank, did some on-the-buckle Lucinda Green steering back over the stone wall, to a log vertical, to a hogsback type fence. He was awesome for that, even though I basically had no reins and therefore no control. I was just praying that he wouldn't buck, because if he did I would've been a goner!
After that we moved on into the woods where we popped over some stacked logs and a cordwood a bunch of times. He was super for that too despite one moment where he got a little excited because he chipped and jumped over his shoulder. Then we moved out into the fields where the main cross country course is. This is where the video picks up.
We started jumping a coop to a hanging log then wrapping around what is called "The Point" and coming back to the hanging log to the helsinki fence. He was super for all of this except for a brief moment when he got halfway through the course and realized the group was way back there, stopped, and tried to turn and run back. After a brief discussion, we were back on track and he wasn't going to try that again ;-)
Then we put together another course involving a log set at the top of a short incline, right turn to a road crossing combination where the approach to the second fence is significantly downhill. He was really good about that. Then we went up a steep hill to a bank up, to a mini-trakehner, three strides to a plank fence. Sharp left turn to some stacked logs, an even sharper left turn to a coop. Then back down the bank and back over the road crossing the other direction. Then we put the first and second courses together. He was a star for all of this!
Then we went out of the start box and over the first two fences of the cross country course which he was super about, except for getting close to the first log and jumping over his shoulder. Then we jumped a sawmill fence at the top of the hill, galloped down the hill (It's been my goal to trust him to gallop downhill forever and we did it!), over a house then down the road over a barn jump.
Lastly, we jumped a coffin! Ditch and all! So that was super exciting because he hardly gave me any trouble at all. We walked up to just the ditch first and he launched himself over it, clearing it by about 3 feet (unfortunately I do not have that on video!), and then we just put the coffin together and cantered up to it. He looked but went! And the second time he barely peeked. As a matter of fact he got a little over confident and got a little bucky coming down to the ditch the last time which you will see on the video.
I am SO pleased with him, I can't wait for Saturday, I can't wait for the first event of the season in a month, and I think we are going to have a good season!
Without further ado, here is the video: