Brilliant day off work today to take Ali cross country schooling on the all-weather arena at Aston Le Walls. Despite the continuing weather the arena surface was great and water fine too, even if there was a small amount of broken ice at the edge! Ali was unsurprisingly fresh so I spent some time practicing some “gear changes” in canter to ensure I had the control I needed for the turns and skinnies I would be doing later. I had her cross country bit on for the first time since last season, so this gave her chance to get used to it again too. Once she felt rideable and warmed up, I popped over a few of the straight forward fences focusing on keeping a good rhythm.
We then moved on to the water, just cantering through initially to make sure she kept the same rhythm and forwardness as on dry land, which is especially important when it comes to jumping fences in the water. She felt good and much more established at this than this time last year. We popped down some steps into water and over the jump in the water.
We linked a few fences together, practicing moving on faster then coming back to jump triple brushes, shoulder brushes, corners, steps etc. She was brilliant and really focused on jumping between the flags, even when my reins were longer, such as after the steps down to a very skinny barrel! She was certainly keen though, flying over some of the fences!!
Lastly we jumped into the water – at first she over jumped this slightly but we both stayed in balance, she settled the next time so definitely worth doing! They are always keen at this time of year, which is another good reason to get them out and doing some XC to settle back into it but she thinks it’s just so much fun!!
See some video clips of us here!