Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: dark side of the moon
Keep the schooling height on XC below your regular jumping height and start with the easy the questions and work your way up (also, end the session on something VERY easy so he goes back to the barn going "okay, that was fun!"). If there are more experienced horses going out, play follow the leader too! My mare enjoyed follow the leader and it built her XC confidence so much.
Make sure you have enough forward and brakes installed. Meaning your leg goes on, your horse goes forward, no.questions.asked. Growling is good, but the forward should come from your leg. Also make sure he stops no questioned asked too, although I ride XC in a sidepull because my mare needs very few brakes and she is more confident in a sidepull for whatever reason. Put a neckstrap, vest and helmet on and enjoy!
My mare is not naturally a bold horse, in fact sometimes she has melt downs going on simple trail rides, but she knows her job going cross country and will get her confidence from her rider. Not to say I am the most confident rider, I'm not, but she has been schooled to go when I say go. It always helps to tap them a bit with your crop too when you're approaching a fence YOU are afraid of :) Take out the fear with your crop. And if you're used to stadium jumping, don't be afraid to let your horse gallop a little bit on XC, I always thought we were going too fast, but upon watching videos we were just right, if not slow. But I also do not hesitate to trot to a fence of appropriate height if she is looky or if I am unsure of the approach.
If your horse jumped those stadium fences already, XC should be a breeze. Most XC fences are very natural, with nice natural groundlines and shape and are inviting for the horses.
HAVE FUN :)