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Who’s ready to party on Cross Country?! (that kind of rhymes, right?) I was able to give the XC course a good walk by myself well before I needed to be on May, so I took my time and took lots of pictures. Overall theme? Jumps were very small, but there were some good questions asked. Below is the full course:

Nice course map. I still got lost between 11 and 12. 

I didn’t bother rewarming up between SJ and XC, since they pretty much rode one right after the other. Also, the first jump in Starter looked like this:

It was then a straight shot to jump 2, which was at least more interesting.

We had a tight uphill rollback to jump 3:

Then, we had a bit of a straightaway downhill to jump 4:

You can see the SJ warmup just to the right here. The start gate to the top left was for N and BN.

After jump 4, we cantered along the “galloping lane” which ran next to the warm-up for SJ and jumped 5 and 6 in the fenceline.

[wpvideo HTvBCJMD ]

We had another steep downhill. to jump 7, where May took a GOOD look at the bright gravel behind it.

The gravel doesn’t look like anything in this pic, but it was a lot more apparent in the helmet cam. 

Jump 8 was a bit narrow and uphill, and led right up to jump 9, which was wider but a bit spooky going into the woods.

I thought it was nice to have a clear bending line at Starter. 

We then went back down hill and up again to jump 10. I trotted down this hill to make sure we kept our line and didn’t risk slipping.

Hills are always steeper in real life than they appear in pictures. 

We had some time before jump 11, which really wasn’t an issue.

Interesting they put bright shavings in the middle of a dark bench. Oh well, May didn’t care. 

Jump 12 was apparently set for another division when I walked the course, which made me sad because it looked fun set a bit higher.

You can see the flags for other divisions jumping this in the opposite direction. 

Then… the water. One of the reasons why I wanted to do this event, and why I wanted to do it at Starter, is because this event has a pretty spooky water complex. It is mostly in the shade (by the time I rode), it has a lot of jumps surrounding it, and the entrance is very narrow and away from the barns.

Then, I found myself sitting in third place in the division, the competitive side of me came out, and the water had a go-around option. I had jumped my first clear SJ round with May EVER, and I wanted satin. This is a terrible way to feel, and I really should stop checking scores during competition. I asked NT what she thought. She told me that, if all was going well and May was feeling confident, to give it a try. I nodded. Sure. I can do that. Here is two views of it, so you can get an idea of how it looked both when I walked it, and when I rode it:





The entrance was to the right of this red roll top, which was away from the barn and a bit narrow. You can just BARELY see the green and white Starter flag ALL the way to the right. 
The sun went behind the clouds for our ride, so I think this gives you a better idea of what the water looked like during our course. Dark, a bit claustrophobic, which a tight entrance that was tough to get straight to. 

Jump 14 was a small bank going uphill, which was fun. Right after Jump 14 I checked my watch. Optimum time was 5:18 with speed penalties being below 3:20. I was sitting at just under 4 minutes, so no worries there. I had WAY too much fun just kicking on to the last 2 jumps, and the jump judge at the end definitely got a kick out of me whooping along.

Isn’t this adorable?

We left the woods and went into an open field where the last two jumps were. Jumps 15 and 16 were fairly straight forward, with more stuff sitting in the bench of jump 15.


Again, random junk in the bench. 
Sorry for the terrible pic. The sun was wild early in the morning. 

So how did it go? See below!

When all was said and done, the person in 2nd ended up with a few time penalties, and we moved up to finish 2nd out of 17! Super proud of wonder mare. She was… less than impressed with the whole thing and, as soon as she was cooled down, went back to napping by the trailer.

May was seriously suspicious of the white gravel anytime we came across it, and looking at the video, I am really not surprised. It’s got to be pretty hard for a horse to read. Not a big deal though, and she was super game over all the fences.

We ended up doing the water. She sucked ALL THE WAY back to the walk, but she didn’t stop, back up, or go sideways. She got lots of pats and loose reins in the water. Until I had to steer away from where I knew a drainage pipe was hidden.

We ended up finishing with a time around 4:25, although the video below clocks in at 4:20. Either way, well within both time limits.

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  1. martidoll123

    great job. And REMUS always shies at the gravel color changes at Fair Hill. one year he leaped over the path the gravel was on (NO SILLY IT WAS NOT A JUMP LOL). I am so impressed with you guys. 2nd 🙂 I bet your husband was so excited for you too! That course looks like it was fun!! (sometimes it is fun to not be overchallenged and just ride and have fun). SO when is the next one??

    1. Emily

      I might be done for the year hahaha. Money needs to start going in other directions, and I really need to be ready to move up to BN before I try again.

  2. AMC

    Awesome job! That looked like a fun course. Juice can be funny about water too, sometimes he trots right through and sometimes he stops dead and tries to spin. So we won’t be doing any recognized BN until we get over that! Haha

    1. Emily

      Thank you! She really dislikes the water,but I was proud of her for going in. Definitely something we need to school before Bn tho!

  3. Liz

    Yay wonder mare! Congratulations on a stellar trial. =)

    1. Emily

      She was awesome. I had the BIGGEST smile on my face the whole time.

  4. roamingridersite

    OMG!! You guys rocked that course! What a great course too with so many jump styles and the bank is adorable. I agree with Michelle above – sometimes going out and having fun without being over challenged is just the ticket.

    1. Emily

      Yup! It was an interesting course where they used terrain and a variety of jumps to make things interesting, without making the jumps themselves challenging. It was fun, and that’s really the end goal.

  5. Amanda C

    Congrats! And good for you for taking the harder option.

    1. Emily

      Thank you! She was a total rockstar.

  6. Centered in the Saddle

    Yayyy! So fun!! Congratulations on a great show! And if you’re looking at that higher set jump thinking it looks fun, then that move up to BN will probably be a blast 😉

    1. Emily

      This is true! I miss BN XC courses, but the BN SJ still makes me a bit nauseous. Stuff to work on!

  7. emma

    yay so happy for you!!! i really like that course too – even tho some of the jumps were maybe smaller than they needed to be, i like that there was so much variety and fill and brush and mulch and stuff to look at! definitely great experience! and yay for doing the water!!! 😀

    1. Emily

      It was a fun experience and a great confidence boost for us both. Now to get those toes wet a little more often!

  8. the_everything_pony

    You two CRUSHED it! Congrats! She looked super happy out there, and way to go for going for it through the water! May was awesome! The jumps do look a bit small, but I like how the venue really tried to vary the jumps to make them more interesting. Yay for 2nd place!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! I guess I should just be happy that they looked small. If they looked big, I would be in a lot more trouble! May was a rockstar, so proud of her.

  9. KC Scott

    Great job! It looked like a ton of fun 🙂

    I’m always agonizing over whether to check scoring or not. One the one hand, one time I found out we were leading after dressage and it really made me kick on in SJ and XC to go clear, so that time it worked out. On the other hand, I made it a point to NOT check scores when we moved up to Novice and really had the best time with no additional pressure.

    That water is DEFINITELY spooky, but congrats on (successfully) taking the harder option!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! When we get back to BN, I am going to keep my phone as far away from me as possible throughout the entire event. It’s the journey, not the destination. (Cheesy enough? 😉 )

  10. melanie

    Well done!! You two are a fabulous team 🙂

    1. Emily

      Thank you! She loves the XC.

  11. Karen & Hampton

    Ahhhh this is amazing!!!! Congrats! Altho … man I didn’t realize they had time penalties for starter?! Sheesh!

    1. Emily

      Thank you!

      But seriously, what’s with the time penalties? I didn’t even bring my watch because it never occurred to me that S Tarter would need to be timed… Oh well. Borrowed someone else’s and it moved me up to 2nd!

  12. eventerinprogress

    Well done! So happy for you and that your hard work is paying off!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! We’re really getting to the fun part.

  13. HunkyHanoverian

    That is FANTASTIC Emily!! Huge congrats to you and May!!! So cool that she did the water too- even if at a walk. So happy for you guys!!!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! It was SO MUCH FUN. May is a total rockstar.

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