Planning to go cross-country schooling? The following 10 golden rules will help you get maximum enjoyment and lessons learned from your session.
1 Practise at home first.
Your session should be cementing homework.
2 Don't go alone.
Having a pair of eyes on the ground can give you tips and advice that you may not otherwise think of. Having a companion with you on a horse means you have a lead, which may be handy.
3 Go with an instructor if you can.
They will help you remain focused and give you confidence.
4 Think about the pace.
Practice riding in between fences and in a straight line.
5 Warm up wisely.
Warm up over small fences and only progress as you feel confident.
6 String fences together.
Think about schooling over a short course, rather than stopping and starting after each fence. Cross-country schooling is as much about practicing riding in between fences and over different terrain as it is about getting used to all the different fence types.
7 Vary your lines.
Tackle simple fences at an angle and off a turn — this is great practice for combinations and tricky lines.
8 Vary the fences.
Negotiate a variety of different fence types, so your horse sees and learns.
9 Have a plan of action.
Have an action plan but don't overdo it. You may not achieve everything in one day.
10 Don't panic.
If you have a problem, stay calm, assess what happened and try again.
Read the full cross-country training feature, including advice from popular CCI4* eventer Jonty Evans, plus much more in the June issue of Your Horse magazine, on sale now. Find out what's in the latest issue here.