I’ve wanted to go cross country schooling ever since I bought my mare years ago.

I hadn’t strapped on a cross country vest in more than a decade, and the last time I’d jumped a log or into water was in high school. I’m nearing 30 now.

Belinda, my 18-year-old hanoverian mare, and I mostly compete at local hunter shows and occasionally in dressage. Going on a leisurely trail ride used to be a big deal for us not that long ago. We both grew up on the competitive hunter circuits. She doesn’t really have much of a gallop in her. And I don’t know the first thing about the rules of eventing. But I’ve always admired it.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve schooled and lessoned on horses in a variety of disciplines.  I’m a big fan of cross training. It’s taught me a lot about having a correct seat and hands, and how important it is to know and use the correct aids effectively, no matter if you ride in a huntseat or dressage saddle.

Belinda is a great jumper and really seems to enjoy the work. So I thought an outing in a big field full of jumps would be a nice change of pace for us at the end of summer and before the fall show season kicks in.

So last weekend we loaded up and headed to a local eventing trainer’s property up the road. I strapped on that old eventing vest (thank God it still fit me) and off we went.

We had a blast.

Belinda didn’t bat an eye at any of the natural jumps. She ate up the course like it was just another day. So I upped the ante a little bit, and we tried bigger fences than I anticipated going into the day.

We ended the day feeling invigorated and accomplished. But most of all we had a ton of fun. I think there might be a few one-day schooling trials in our future.