Retraining A Racehorse – Moonfire – Cross Country - Part 1
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   14th May 2011   •   8,981 views   •   13 comments
On 17 February 2011, I began preparing Moony for his eventing debut. After his Third Place in his first jumping show of the year, I decided it was time for him to start eventing and see if he couldn’t achieve similar results.

So I began training him for cross country

Retraining A RacehorseWe boxed Moony and Bronze to a nearby venue that we could rent for the use of their cross country course, and began preparing both horses for their year of eventing. I started by taking Bronze around the biggest course – which admittedly is not all that big, since it is only Novice, and an easy one at that. He went well – jumping everything without hesitance – so I handed him over to a friend of mine, and got on board my Moony horse.

I had my friend go over the lower jumps – any Welcome or Pre-Novice ones that looked worth jumping – ahead of me, and followed with Moony. Because he is a young horse who has seldom seen cross country before, it was important for him to have a lead so that he could learn to jump confidently after seeing from the example Bronze set that the jumps were not too difficult for him.

He started very well – scuttling a little at times, though that was to be expected. I held him straight and rode him positively forward, and he popped over the first few jumps without any problems.

Retraining A Racehorse

We met our first problem at a tricky sharkstooth that happened to be one of the biggest jumps on the Pre-Novice course. That isn’t saying much, of course, but it was a challenge for Moony at this point. Despite Bronze going over first, he was nervous of the jump, and ended up shying away and running out to the side despite my efforts to hold him in.

I presented him to it again, this time riding him strongly forward, and he flew over with one of the most beautiful jumps I’ve ever felt from him! We schooled over this jump a few more times, and soon enough he would clear it in the most amazing, powerful arc without even batting an eyelid.

Thus, we moved on – and from there we had no more problems. Moony would follow Bronze over each section of the course, then Bronze would stop and wait while Moony went back to do the section on his own.

Half way around the course, we came to a tricky little combination. A drop jump going downhill, through a little ditch, up a short but relatively steep hill – then over the little jump as you reach the top of the hill.

This was when Bronze decided he’d had enough. My friend struggled to get him over the drop, but finally she managed, only to have him stop suddenly in front of the next jump, and send her rolling slowly down his neck to land on the other side.

I admit it was rather funny to watch, especially seeing Bronze’s smug and lazy expression as he stood there, completely unconcerned, and not even trying to run.

Thankfully, my friend was unhurt. I got on Bronze to ride him through the combination and wake him up a little, then I gave him back to her – and he did it perfectly.

After that, it was Moony’s turn.

Moony, of course, simply had to show Bronze how a REAL horse got the job done! He popped neatly down the drop, landed in a forward canter, and took four even, powerful strides up the hill to meet the next jump in a perfect spot, and fly over! I’ve never known any horse to do that particular combination of jumps so smoothly on the first try.

From there, since Bronze was being his lazy self, Moony took the lead. He was jumping on his own now, with Bronze following him, and the second half of the course was considerably more difficult than the first in a few places! All the same, Moony flew round confidently without spooking even once, and Bronze followed him very happily when he realized he wasn’t leading any more.

At the end of the course, I reined Moony in and gave him a big pat, then walked him for a while. Thankfully, he was very fit at this stage, so he caught his breath quickly.

Once he had recovered enough, I took him around the course on his own, doing the thing as a whole – rather than each jump at a time. Bronze stayed behind and walked – so Moony was completely on his own.

The little horse was magnificent! I even threw a few of the easier Novice jumps into his course, and did those along with the bigger Pre-Novice ones, and he soared over each with ease – his stride never faltering.

Finally, we reached the end of the course, and Moony got another very big pat for being such a good little horse!

With both horses happy, yet tired – we walked them back, then boxed them and took them home for a well deserved rest.
WOW!! I can't wait to hear how Moony progresses!! Thanks for sharing your stories with us!!
  May 14, 2011  •  7,318 views
Soul Horse  
That sounds like some much fun! Sounds like moony is gaining alot of confidience over his jumps. I want to try cross country but I still need work on my regular jumps.
  May 14, 2011  •  7,349 views
Little Bitty Farm  
Wonderful story! :)
  May 14, 2011  •  7,561 views
Inactive Member  
wow your were so lucky to end up with moony, you were more likley to get a horse that was a rubbish jumper and spooked at everything, but somehow you got lucky enough to get the only one who was an amazing jumper, that was really confident!
  May 15, 2011  •  7,359 views
Lovely article, you've really done an amazing job with Moony and it's great to hear how you two are getting along :)
  May 15, 2011  •  7,320 views
great story, its sounds awesome!
  May 15, 2011  •  7,314 views
T E M P E S T  
Wow, can't wait to hear more about Moony!
  May 15, 2011  •  7,361 views
I am amazed by how far that horse has come! You're great with him!
  May 15, 2011  •  7,345 views
I can't wait to here about Moony's progression! I love this type of News, Its the stuff I'll actually read and Enjoy! I have a Little Palimino Pony called Moony but its spelt with an ie. Moonie. I love it when you said, Show him how a REAL horse does it, or something like that! Great story cant wait to here more from you and Moony!
  May 16, 2011  •  7,337 views
Moony is great and I am glad to hear about him again.
  May 22, 2011  •  7,344 views
Some more on his progress would be great!
  Jun 4, 2011  •  7,313 views
Deleted Accounts  
great:') can't wait to read the next part.
  Jun 13, 2011  •  7,324 views
Makaela Marie  
You've done so well with him! You must be so proud :3
  Mar 17, 2012  •  7,340 views
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