This past Saturday I packed up the pup and we headed to the UNH spring eventing trials to support one of my good friends. She moved up a level this year to training from novice which is very exciting, and this was her and her horse, Clover’s, first outing of the year. It was a beautiful day, sun shining with a breeze, and we got there in time for my favorite part of supporting a friend at an eventing trial- walking the cross country course!! Cross country is the 3rd phase of an eventing trial where horse and rider take off into fields, woods, and water features. They are timed and assessed time penalties depending on how far off they were from the optimal time. You can also get penalties in cross country if your horse refuses a jump- 20 for the first refusal, 40 for the second, and then if you get a 3rd refusal on a jump, its elimination. If the rider falls at a jump, its elimination….in the levels below training, if you fall and land on your feet you can hop back on but its 65 penalties!
Cross country features are really cool. Logs, drops, banks, ditches, water jumps, roll tops, oxers with tree/shrub brushes, coops…some that are a direct straight shot to get to, some that you have to turn into, all really interesting & challenging. Some are really fun too, like jumping a giant duck or something like that. The horses cover some serious ground typically, and they are usually ridden at a gallop, maybe a bit slower for the lower levels, like you might see people decelerate coming up to a jump to prepare. Riders need to condition themselves and their horses by schooling cross country at different places, so when its time to do it at an event, all that hard work can pay off! My friend did an amazing job, she came in 4th!! She did a great job in dressage, double clear (no time or jump faults) in stadium jumping, and no penalties in xcountry. Mizpah had an awesome time walking with us and socializing with dogs, horses, and people. She loves Clover, walks right next to her like she is Clover’s escort. Her affinity for horses is actually part of her breeding. Dalmatians were bred to travel with horse drawn vehicles, hence their rep as fire house and Budweiser dogs. Mizpah naturally coaches when she is with horses. Here are some pics from the day, enjoy!!
UNH has a very popular equine science program. The cross country course is right on campus, like some buildings actually have a view out their window of a jump! The dressage arenas and the jumping arena were all very close too which is nice for horses. They are actually fundraising to improve their cross country course for 2017, so it will be fun to go back next year and see the changes. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!!