So when I found out the Hoosier Horse Park had an open XC Schooling day I begged a trainer that has seem me ride to coach me and away I went! You can't turn down a chance when the trainer has actually seen you ride and doesn't slowly back away from you.
I showed up a bundle of nerves. I knew the starter fences were out, but they were MUCH MUCH bigger than the little logs at Dan Hobyn. So after warming up by cantering around the water area wondering why I was out here (Stella mostly ignoring me) we walked around looking for something suitably tiny to jump. I passed up the first coop, but it ended up being more inviting than the hanging log I ended up starting over.
Or I meant to stay, stopping over. I guess when you trot down the jump, staring at it, observing how large it is, your horse stops. We also stopped for the first time at the next two fences we jumped, due to the same issues. Yet when I actually listened to short suffering new trainer she went over!
Who woulda thought?
Here's the main field where we started jumping. She is playing a bit after the second fence, which is why I came back down to the trot. I think I'm getting left behind and she is expressing her disdain for my lack of skills.
One thing I had to adjust to, was that when we are on a trail ride we follow the horse in front. Stella gets a little attached to her trail buddies and when we were out schooling she got a bit worked up when the horse we were out with would gallop away, or when she was asked to move away. I focused on keeping her busy, and not letting her come back to her new friend right away.
This was a bit tricky for me, although Stella didn't stop at anything. The first fence was on a hill and it made me a bit nervous, but the added "threat" of meeting this at the wrong distance helped me keep my leg on. She jumped the rolltop with gusto.
This last clip tickles me pink. It's so nice having a horse that does water, and knowing that the steps I took when I first got her were the right steps to take. She happily enters any water, even water she has never seen before and didn't have any compliance issues when asked to trot or canter in it. It was really awesome to blaze through the water and nail this fence from a gallop. Even if she did play after, and I wasn't worried one bit by the jump up the bank.
Overall I was just tickled to death by her. She isn't a horse that takes a joke, and if you have jumped the same coop 8 times in a row and on the 9th time stop riding because you think she's going to react to the horse approaching from a distance, she will oblige you and stop hard. As I gain more confidence in her ability and willingness it's nice to see that she is a pretty brave horse that requires a brave partner.