Scary XC jumps! WWYD / Moral Support please

Tobiano

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I have entered a 70 cm hunter trials tomorrow, with Bilbo who is a total saint. So far we have jumped about 50 cm xc and 70 cm sj jumps together and he is absolutely lovely.

But walking the course this evening I was rather horrified by how big the jumps were - not just higher than I had realised but wide too.

I haven't done an xc course for about 5 years due to not having the right horse / time etc and I really want to have a go but not sure I will get round 20 odd of these fences! Some are quite technical (funny approach lines / skinnies etc) which I have never really done before!

Do you guys think its ok to go and just jump about half the fences - the less scary ones? - obviously i will check with the organisers that they don't mind.

I really don't want to pull out altogether (unless when I get there I am fainting with fright) but worried about the idea of doing the whole course. Moral support / advice much appreciated please! :)
 

bluedanube

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No harm in having a go, after all you've paid for it. You might find that once you're in a rhythm it all goes very quickly and you might even start to enjoy it...

Have fun and hope the weather holds up for you :)
 

Red-1

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I have gone part way round the course before, and then retired.

Not because my horse was not going well, but because I did not like the look of the next fence. I tend to pat him as if he has won the Grand National, and then he knows he is finished.

Not sure they will like the idea of you just "missing out" some fences, passing fences at speed may startle the fence judges.

Worth talking to the organisers though, and even if you just do a few it is all mileage.

I do agree that once you get going, if it all feels well and in a rhythm then you may find you surprise yourself.

Good luck and enjoy!
 

gunnergundog

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Personally, I would say pull out. You need, ideally, to be training at a level higher than that at which you are competing....so, in an ideal world, you and your horse should be confident XC at 80 cm.

Why risk upsetting/scaring your horse/causing training problems? I assume that this is a horse you own and intend keeping, or.....? If so, then invest your time and money in training and preparing him and you properly so that you are as assured as you can be of going and having a very positive experience at your next competition.
 

Tobiano

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Thank you both!
Red-1 I am not really intending to be going at speed!! If I am, I probably won't have much say in whether we jump or go round. :p
 

Tobiano

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Thanks gunnergundog - good to have another POV. I was seeing this as a training thing in any case - no way I am going to be competitive. I have done xc before on a similar basis, (e.g. had to wait for a lead through the water) - I guess it depends whether the RC will have a problem with me bumbling around in my own time or not. Which I will find out! Otherwise, I guess it's good experience to get out and mooch around at the venue anyway.
 

little_critter

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The first HT I did the jumps looked massive when I walked the course. They do look smaller once you're on the horse!
You say Bilbo is a saint, so I'd say go for it, see how it goes. You can always pull up and retire if it feels too much.
 

Jnhuk

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Ride the first fences positively and see how you are going by the time the first scary fence comes along.... :) you may just find your brave pants once your adrenaline is up and find that if you are both enjoying it! Fences will def look smaller onboard and don't worry about the width as your horse wont.
 

Theocat

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See how you get on, and depending on the organisers they might be perfectly happy to let you school round - we certainly would at my riding club, and our fence judges are briefed to cheer you on! Just see what they say.
 

tinap

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I'm another who would pull out. We were debating whether to take our novice mare tomorrow, just to do a small 70cm class. She's been SJing uptp about 1.05m but has only been xc schooling a few times & is a bit of a worryer (sp?!) The daughter has been dying to try her but then decided not to risk blowing her brains in a competition environment so we're off xc schooling at another venue instead which on paper should be empty as there's 2 local HT's on tomorrow :)

After the daughter had an accident at a HT 2yrs ago, I'm a bit more wary of them not being 100% ready & would rather solve problems in a more controlled environment than out on course. (Of course that's just me though!!) x
 

oscarwild

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I did my first hunter trial a couple years ago now class was 75cm. Fences when on board didnt look scary but as approached, which i felt were my bogey fences (the skinnies, never done one before) I pulled up into a trot. In the end I think she would have done them in canter no probs and once we got a quarter of the way round we were in our stride and just kept cantering along. I would give it a go and you can always trot round and use it as a exercise rather than a comp. that what we did and in the end was 0.2 sec away from getting a prize.
 

Lolo

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Is this at Bergh Apton? If it is, kick on and enjoy it, it rides really nicely and when you're on your horse it won't seem that big any more- look straight up and over and kick on! I did it as my first ODE when I was very, very nervous on my old boy and some of the fences had me shaking with nerves. But once we'd jumped the first few the round flew by and I loved every second. It flows really well and there's nothing to break your stride.

The only thing I remember being horrifying was the water which took a lot of kicking from me to keep the momentum going, and that was because he was a canny old sod who liked to have a proper splash!
 

Tobiano

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Thanks again all! Well I had a lot of tossing and turning overnight and decided not to go - I will go and watch for a bit see if I can pick up some tips! I will aim to do the same event this time next year in full confidence! Really I had not realised the jumps would be so big (to me) and realistically at this point the level at which I will have fun is probably more like 50 cm.

Lolo its at Geldeston - I will look out for Bergh Apton!

thanks again for all the support. :)
 

Lolo

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Other places relatively local to you that have friendly 70cm courses to try out that I cut my teeth on (and kept going to because I never really got my nerve back) are Blackwater, Burnham Market (there's a 65cm ODE there in September which is very friendly and sweet), Lexham Hall, Weston Park EC (and Tamsin is lovely as an instructor too) and Horseshoe Farm. Lexham Hall has a CRC hunter trial this summer definitely which starts at 30cm and goes up to 80cm.

Geldeston scared the daylights out of me, I walked the course and spent the night crying I was so scared!
 

Templebar

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I would say it depends, is it you or the horse.

Has he jumped more than what you stated before or with someone else? If he has and he is a been there done it type and its your worries then go, ring the organisers and speak to them, they will have heard it before. Sometimes organisers will alert fence judges if someone is going on a schooling round so they know to expect anything and help encourage if you have problems. But tbh fence judges should be on alert anyway for their own safety so i wouldn't worry about going round a fence if you cant face it, if there are any you know about before hand then let them know you wont do that one, but i would say have a go. They may put you at one end of the class or other (usually near end) to try and prevent hold ups on the course but dont worry about that. If you have a friend or someone you know competing then ask them how it went so you know what to expect.

However if the horse is not as described above then i agree you should pull out, i would probably say this even if you were confident and experienced. But since your worried it will go straight through to him so if there is any doubt in his ability he will panic. It is important when going cross country that at least one of you needs to be confident and brave, a been there done it attitude in the horse can help a rider who is a little nervous. If you are both nervous you will just make yourselves worse and feed off each others energy.
 

Tobiano

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Thanks again all. I do feel a bit pathetic for not having done it but as I watched with butterflies when my friends did it (really well!) I think it was the right decision.

I pretty much know Bilbo could do it but whether he could have done it with me lolloping around on top I am less sure.

Thanks Lolo for the venue tips. I am now raring to go xc schooling in the proper way !!
 
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