Pro XC school

Guess who finally got a pro ride on XC for the first time ever? That’s right,this guy:


I’ve had this brewing in the back of my mind for a while. Henry is super solid at Novice but I feel like he just needs a bit more confidence to run Training (at least with me), and since a few of the Training fences still make me think I might die, who better to put those miles on him than my coach? I’ve never seen her die, not even once. She’s the confident ride he needs right now.

I was both really excited and a little nervous at the same time. The only other pro ride Henry has had was the one last year from my dressage trainer. No one else besides me has ever ridden him XC. He’s a pretty solid dude (I’ve broken his spirit) so I figured behavior-wise he would be ok, but I kept thinking “What if she hates him? What if she’s like ‘omg this thing is horrific, you’re gonna die!’ or ‘Nope, he needs to start all over.’?”… those are all sane, rational things to lay in bed and worry about… right?

No one hates him, he’s un-hate-able

She got on, was warned about the spookiness while walking (which he displayed approximately one minute later when another horse spooked and he split all 4 legs in different directions with his belly two feet off the ground), and off they went. Luckily within just a few minutes she said she loved his canter, and then once they started jumping she said she liked him, and by the end she loved him and was trying to keep him. Because Henny is the best.

He jumped through the water (after spooking while walking past the hose), the ditches (after giving them all the stink eye as we walked up), the banks (superman impression is still solidly in place), the Weldon’s Wall (more stink eye), and then the mound, taking all the Training options with no issues. Coach praised him highly for how adjustable he was and his rideability. I explained that yeah, that’s the problem–he always does what I tell him and I have horrible judgement! Poor Henry, he is long-suffering.

He’s never going to learn how to just DROP down a bank, is he? #thisseemsalittleexcessive

So I’ve decided to have her run him Training the first week of Coconino. My pride really wants me to be the one in the irons, but the horse’s greater good trumps my pride any day of the week, and I really think that having her run him will be great for his confidence. And, after all, the whole point is to build a smart, happy, well-schooled horse, so that’s what we will do. He can have a good run around Training the first week with her, do the Novice 3 Day the second week with me, and hopefully come home having learned a lot. Besides… it might be fun to just play Owner for once.

22 thoughts on “Pro XC school

    1. She’s really good at sitting there and waiting/supporting to the base, instead of freaking out and changing her mind 15 times in the last 6 strides like someone else we know.


  1. Those clips are great! I mean, Henny always looks great but he looks pretty confident over those jumps. I think your plan for Coco sounds perfect 🙂


  2. Since you have to drive four million miles (HA) to get there you might as well get the most bang for your buck so it sounds like a great plan!! Love watching Henry go 🙂


  3. I LOVE playing owner! And it is always the best feeling when someone who actually knows something says they like your horse. Looks like he was totally game for the experience!


  4. omg i know exactly what you mean about the horse always doing what i say for better or worse (often worse…). luckily my mare will tune me out more on xc and make good decisions all on her own, but that’s been our downfall in stadium as late. regardless, it sounds like a really solid plan for coconino!


  5. God, what a good owner, too! Asking other people to ride for me is sooooo hard. I’m not mature enough for it or too selfish or something. The next pony, I will be better!


  6. Sounds like the best decision for you guys! Your trainer has such a nice style of riding, even on the dives off the bank. The Novice 3 day sounds like a lot of fun!


  7. Sounds like a great plan! I used to always let pride get in the way. But in my old age I’m more than happy to let my horse have a positive experience versus my chicken self scaring the both of us.
    Can’t wait to read the recap!


  8. Wow he seriously cares not about those jumps. I think you made a great decision, and every once in awhile playing owner is fun. Especially if you put the hours into him cause you can sit back and watch how far you have taken him.


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