If you follow me on social media you have already been bombarded with lots of cross country spam from last Sunday so sorry about that as here is even more!
Gracie totally exceeded my expectations of her when we went to Club Hippique de Pibrac to do our first cross country lesson and our first lesson away from home.
The big equestrian centre is literally across the road from our yard, so we were able to hack there. But that actually was the part that frightened me the most. Since moving to our yard in September Gracie has not stepped onto a road as we now can hack out into an enormous forest directly from our yard. I shouldn’t have worried though, as the horses were brilliant and the hack there could not have gone better.
The lesson was ‘initiation’ level and with my instructor Frantz and in the class was Gracie and I, Axelle and Ciel and Marie & Rigolito all from my yard. It was really fun being in a group lesson, I have been having private lessons for years now and it is fun sharing the experience with other people.
When we arrived Gracie warmed up really calmly so I immediately felt at ease. I really had no expectations of her as this was her first outing. I had been so excited for this lesson I must admit I assumed Gracie would feel my energy and be really naughty but she wasn’t at all.
We started jumping and Gracie wasn’t sure at all to start. We had a couple of stops at the first jump as Gracie was geniunely balking at the jump thinking what on earth is that. Then on the 3rd go I managed to get her over it but she cat leaped over it from a stand still so high I honestly felt like I was being catapulted into outer space. I did have a fleeting moment where I thought I was falling from a very great height. That shook me a little to be honest and we came around again and I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it. But she did it. Another huge jump but I wasn’t unseated this time. Ok perhaps we can do this.
The next jump was a solid oxer but it was much less frightening and she flew over it. Then after that she was off! Stopping only once more when the jump was very near a tractor trailer and a fence line which was occupied by about 10 foals all watching us! For Gracie who we nickname ‘Dolly Daydream’ this was not a surprise that she struggled to concentrate there.
To watch highlights of our lesson click here to watch my short vlog.
As the hour went on our confidence grew and grew. She was flying. Gracie can be, well dare I say it a little lazy to ride at times. Mainly when we do dressage! She was not now! It was such a wonderful feeling as she felt like she was loving it.
The session was such a brilliant experience for us both. She felt like she was pulling me into the jumps with a desire to do them but remained calm and very ridable. She was the youngest there & by far the calmest of the 3 horses! She made me very proud indeed.
Next up is Arena Eventing on 13 March. Watch this space!