Canter & Candor

Canter and Candor; an honest account of an amateur equestrian and her life with an OTTB

Beginner Novice “Big Kids”


Because that title gives absolutely nothing away, right?



So this Sunday (yes, mother’s day… sorry mom!) N did a little outing to the Horse Park at Woodside. After the slightly problematic Fresno schooling, I was really hoping that minus the train and shooting range issues, we might be able to get a decent schooling done.

And boy oh boy, did baby horse deliver!

It started out a bit tetchy, as C was wild on the longe and when I got on, even more so. After some trotting and cantering around and some ‘discussions’, he seemed to have enough energy out to take a breath and grab a snack, as pictured* below.


nom nom nom

When we approached the first fence after a couple of warmup intro logs, N was like, “Okay, introduce him to it!” and I gave her a look. And when she asked why, it was because the jump was huge. Okay, not huge, but not intro. Cue horse mom panic about whether Poopsie is prepared to jump BN or not, yadda yadda, but N knows us best and there wasn’t much intro stuff at Woodside anyway, so off we went, and it was our best schooling yet.

C brought his A-game. He wasn’t (too) spooky, had just the right amount of go, and with a little encouragement/leg was willing to do pretty much whatever. It was fantastic. And the more confident I got, the better I rode, so all over? Just incredible.




The only big issues came at the ditches. Since my origins were in the hunters, I hadn’t done many, and while I think C may have with someone else, he’d only done one shallow ditch with me. The BN ditches might as well have been hiding horse-eating monsters and we had to follow behind other horses and even then he flung me miles out of the tack– note to self, next time, listen to your trainer when she tells you to invest in a neck strap, for the sake of your very patient baby horse.

After that, we had one last snafu at a hanging log coming out of a water. I think I’d lost some confidence at the ditches and I was kind of hoping he’d just cart me over it, conveniently forgetting he’s still a baby and I can’t “let Jesus take the reins.” So he refused, we popped over a couple of intro logs with me being more assertive as I’d been before, and then tried again. The next jump in the line was a coop and I could feel him sucking back as we approached it, but I was especially determined and with a little leg and a little luck we got over it.


A trend you may notice in the pictures– I have a consistently shorter left rein, so poor C has to deal with that, too. The things he puts up with!

But overall, when I got off, aside from agonizing pain in my knees and butt… wow. There is no better feeling than successfully schooling ‘real’ XC on a horse I made (for the most part, anyway). When I bought C, we were still working on steering and go and stop. And now we can collect and jump and it feels like a real partnership, where we both have to hold up our end of the deal. I am so, so proud of my baby horse, and how far he’s come, and heck– I think I might be proud of me, too.


no better feeling in the world!

Cheers to the upcoming season!

— M

* Pictures by Darren Nolan, (c) 2016


24 thoughts on “Beginner Novice “Big Kids”

  1. Great job!! And nice pics too. I hear ditches and water are the hardest and take time so don’t be too hard on yourself!


    • Yep! He loves water, but the ditches… not so much! I wish we had ditches at home to school but we’ll have to fake it till we make it, right? Haha!


  2. Love those photos – you both look super happy. 🙂


  3. You guys both look great!


  4. Congrats, all that hard work is paying off! Love the photos.


  5. These photos are so great! That’s awesome that you had a photog along. Sounds like you guys have been putting in some really great work.


  6. That sounds so fun! Glad you are getting to enjoy him.


  7. Yay! So glad you had a good outing. Plus, your equitation is amazing, like actually in every picture! Well done 😀


    • Oh gosh, thank you! I really appreciate it! It was definitely one of those days when it felt like everything was clicking better than usual– though there is one scary photo I decided not to include in the post 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful shots. I really want to go XC schooling there, but I need a trainer whose registered with them.


    • It was a great facility– lots of very doable baby BN jumps. I didn’t feel overfaced and we’d never done BN XC before! Maybe you can tag along with N next time 😉


  9. wooo so exciting – you guys look great!!


  10. AWWWWW this is so adorbs!!! Way to go Mia 😀

    And yes, I haven’t forgotten about you and still check for new posts all the time.


  11. See! You’re doing awesome with him. Looks nice and focused. And I love the snack break picture!!


  12. Wooooo! You guys look great 😀



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