he gets too excited XC... tips for first event?
We've not ridden cross-country like a course yet or anything but my god when I take Monty down to the pony club grounds and do a little xc training it's a mission to control him. If I just let him go, he's usually ok after a few strides, but that's at trot, and I'm worried that if I canter he'll gallop.
But there's an event coming up that I have been planning on entering for absolute ages. I'm planning on entering in the lowest grade and hoping he decides it's boring enough that he's going to listen... E grade is only 18 inches high and doesn't have any of the really scary jumps.
Anyway. Question is, what will help keep him under control in the jumping phases, especially cross-country? He goes nicely in a French link snaffle on the flat and 90% of the time I can control him in it training at home or down at the grounds but that's because 90% of the time we only jump single jumps and only from trot. If we go for a course he gets more and more excited and forward.
My coach is ALWAYS telling me to just let him go and trust in him but I can't do that, he ends up galloping which scares me to death partly because I don't like feeling out of control and partly because I had a nasty fall off him from a gallop and I'm no longer comfortable going that fast even if it's intentional.
His current setup is just a French link eggbutt and a flat cavesson, I have a flash converter and strap but it makes no difference at all. He listens much better over bigger fences than little ones which says to me it's a respect issue regarding the fences, rather than excitement.
My plan for the event is to just trot the jumping phases and I know I can force him back into a trot from a canter if I have to, can force him to a halt if needed, in the snaffle, when he's excited/strong... but that's at home and/or training over a single fence at a time, AND I hate being that strong with him. I have no idea what he'll be like on a course.
He is BRILLIANT on the flat, we have no issues there and my coach doesn't believe it's a problem with our flatwork. It's just purely a jumping thing.