To see my new blog, click here!
Cross country is a thrilling discipline that tests the limits of horse and rider. Both the horse and rider need to be very brave and have complete trust in each other. The goal in cross country is the same as that of show jumping, be the fastest one around the course with the lease amount of faults. “An optimum time is posted and competitors must complete within this time window.” “While the goal of some competitors may be a ribbon, many compete for the thrill of completing.”
Cross country courses vary from “two and three quarters to four miles long”, winding through fields and trees. Every cross country course consists of roughly 12 to 35 fixed and solid jumps. The jumps are made to look natural, being made out of logs, stone walls, tall grasses and water. Sometimes though, the jumps will be made to look unusual and scary to test the horse’s bravery and courage. All cross country jumps have little flags on top of them. A red flag will go on the right while a white flag goes on the left. This is to help the rider remember her course and which jump to go to, because you are only supposed to jump a jump if the red flag is on your right.
The attire for cross country is very informal, you can wear whatever kind of shirt and boots that you want. Although it is mandatory to wear breeches, a safety vest, a skull cap and a medical arm band. It is recommended for your horse to wear a stud girth and boots.
You must prepare your horse months in advance for any cross country event. Conditioning your horse (and you) will give him more stamina and the ability to jump better. Every cross country horse and rider in the highest levels of cross country is in a regimented conditioning program.
A very brave and courageous horse is required for cross country, although in the lower levels almost any horse can be trained for this discipline. However, in the higher levels Warmbloods, Arabians and thoroughbreds are ideal cross country mounts.
Cross Country is the most demanding sport of all English disciplines, and it is also the most natural sport for horses. Jumping while running across fields and through woods; the horse’s natural habitat. May you always ride safely, and have fun doing cross country!
Here is a video showcasing cross country: