Items

Forums
Retraining A Racehorse – Moonfire – Cross Country - Part 3
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   28th May 2011   •   7,179 views   •   11 comments
On 4 March 2011, Moony went to his third – and what was to be his second last – cross country practice before his first show.

The course here was very low and unchallenging, but it was a new venue that we had found, so I thought that Bronze and Moony could both benefit from the exposure.

We got lost on the way there, and when we had finally found it, it was already quite late in the afternoon (Hence the terrible quality of the photos). All the same, I unloaded the horses – putting Moony in a little standing stall that was available. He stood so nicely and calmly, just munching placidly on his hay, even though he was in a new place.

Retraining A Racehorse

I started with Bronze – running quickly through his dressage test (Since he and Moony were both scheduled to compete at a dressage competition the following day, also in preparation for our first event of the year), which was unbelievably difficult in cross country stirrup-length, me having been too lazy to change them just for the brief warm-up.

Still, Bronze went nicely, and my instructor walked around to have a look at the course while I went over my tests, which I miraculously seemed to remember at that point.

Once she returned, we took Bronzey over the course. Not practicing first, but going straight out over the whole thing, as if we were at a show. He was lazy and nappy at first, but with a few little taps and some verbal encouragement, Bronze soon picked up his pace and tackled the pathetically easy little course in a good gallop. I took him around twice – deciding to use this as an opportunity to do fitness training as well – and by the end he was very tired, but certainly enjoying himself, and feeling good.

Next it was Moony’s turn. I tacked him up and gave him a short warm-up – running through his tests briefly, but not doing too much, since he was too excited by the prospect of cross country to perform properly, and I didn’t want him developing any bad habits with his dressage competition the following day.

So once I had him loose and supple, and had run through one of my tests, I took Moony out on the cross country course. My aim was to build up his eventer’s gallop – teach him to gallop in a fast pace, but keep a steady rhythm and stay off his forehand so he was ready to jump. Thankfully, little Moony was always a natural at this. All I had to do was half halt a little with my seat, and ride him strongly from my legs to my hands to keep him collected and contained.

Once he was feeling like a fast little spring beneath me, I set out on the course and tried to keep the rhythm. It was Moony’s first time doing a cross country course without jumping each jump as an individual first, and he did spook a couple of times. I kept him going, though, straight and confident, and we managed a lovely, smooth and enjoyable round – keeping our gallop all the way through.

None of the jumps proved any sort of challenge to him, but I did the course a second time anyway – just to build on his fitness, as with Bronze, and make sure he wouldn’t hesitate at any jumps at all.

He was very good, galloping eagerly over the little tyres, pipes and ditches with exuberance.

There were a few sections where I could ride steep uphill and downhill sections by taking a little loop off the track, so I went along those and practiced keeping a canter even when the ground inclined or declined. This is often difficult for a young horse, which is why jumps on hills often prove a problem in cross country. It is something that both horse and rider have to practice to perfect.

I found that I have a tendency to rely on my hands for balance too much when going uphill, and that Moony tends to hesitate when going from a downhill slope onto flat ground, so I worked on both these problems

I stabilized my lower leg to get my hands looser and softer and keep my balance in my seat, then rode Moony up and down the hills again. He was certainly more forward and eager uphill now that I was riding properly, but still hesitating on the downhill. So I set my weight back, kept a gentle contact on his mouth to balance him, and coaxed him forward as he reached the bottom so he wouldn’t hesitate and lose his impulsion for the next uphill.

After a few tries, we had this skill pretty much perfected, and Moony was having lots of fun.

Pleased with our work, I walked him back – then untacked him and lead him around for a while to cool him off, since it was getting late and cold, and I couldn’t have him standing wet in the box and catching a chill.

He got his breath back and dried off very quickly, leaving me feeling positive about his fitness, and I was fully confident that both horses would be well ready for their first event of the year!
Inactive Member  
well done! moony is looking great and he sounds brilliant to ride! Good luck on the dressage show!
  May 28, 2011  •  5,269 views
 
T E M P E S T  
Good luck at the dressage show!
  May 28, 2011  •  5,473 views
 
Dreamer100  
You and him and your other horses, all your horses are doing very well. I will love to hear about the show!
  May 30, 2011  •  5,254 views
 
Aslans Roar  
wow, nice horse!!
  May 31, 2011  •  5,225 views
 
Aslans Roar  
where did u get'em? or was the horse born with u?
  May 31, 2011  •  5,225 views
 
Simplicity  
well done! i love reading these~ keep writing!!
  May 31, 2011  •  5,224 views
 
Seven Sins  
great article lovely pics
  May 31, 2011  •  5,246 views
 
Prarie Rose  
Great job! You've taken Moony a long way. :D
  Jun 3, 2011  •  5,244 views
 
My Paper Heart  
Good luck!
  Jun 3, 2011  •  5,225 views
 
Isadorable  
Awesome! Mooney looks great!
  Jun 17, 2011  •  5,262 views
 
FreeRein  
i lovee that horse
  Jun 19, 2011  •  5,224 views
 More News by Polo the Weirdo
Among The Stars - Part 3 of 8
17th Feb 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
At the beginning of 2013, following his injury at champs, I began to bring Moo back into work. Physically, he seemed fine, but suddenly his behaviour was worse than it had ever been. He was perfectly sound, but if I put on any pre ...
Among The Stars - Part 2 of 8
10th Feb 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
Moo’s tantrums were getting worse. He was scheduled to compete in his first graded event, but before that we had a clinic scheduled with an Olympic level eventer. I said to my instructor just before that I was worried about taking ...
Among The Stars - Part 1 of 8
2nd Feb 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
As humans we love to look on the bright side, we love our silver linings and positive spins. We love to feel moved and inspired. Sorry, but I don’t have anything like that for you today. What I’m here to share with you isn’t grace ...
What Your Riding Instructor Wants For Christmas
24th Dec 2018   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
A riding instructor is a unique and precious being, and though each of us are unique individuals, there is most definitely some common ground. So if you’re looking for the perfect gift, never fear! My own riding instructor list to ...
Adult Rider Reality
25th Nov 2018   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
As a child and junior rider, I remember looking up to the adults with awe and envy. I remember thinking how lucky they are to be able to do everything the way they want, go to shows on their own, buy whatever tack they want, and w ...
Baby Horses are kind of like Farts
18th Aug 2018   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
Have you ever experienced while attending an extremely proper and dignified horse show, an elegantly dressed person suddenly erupting, at the top of their very polite lungs, WHY YOU LITTLE FART! And, having had this strange experi ...
Interview with Magic Mike
21st Apr 2018   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
Michael Kenneth de Vrye, AKA ‘Magic Mike’, is a 31 year old Equine Behaviourist from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He was born into a horsey family, and began his equestrian career through work riding for his aunt – Diane Botes of ...
Meeting Magic Mike
15th Apr 2018   |   Shows and Events   |   Polo the Weirdo
My first meeting with Mike was something of a serendipity; one very fortunate but unequivocally unplanned coincidence. And a more fitting set of circumstances I truly can’t imagine, since the very horse around whom this meeting ca ...
  View All News by Polo the Weirdo
 
©2002 - 2019   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
420 Members Online 243,195 Registered Members 2,528 News Articles 10,594,485 Unique News Article Views 237,872,786 Website Views