SOS!! Anyone Know How To Ride Cross Country?

Help help help! I have my first horse trial Sunday (yay!) and have done dressage, jumpers, and I have foxhunted, but I’ve never technically competed in an official crazy cross country course. 

Any tips/tricks of the trade? When do I sit over fences? Or lean back? Or do nothing? Or do something? What changes between cross country and foxhunting/jumpers (besides the obvious, I mean riding wise)?
Halp please!



  1. Um, well, I would have suggested going schooling with a knowledgable friend or trainer once or twice prior to competing. But since you’re jumping in with both feet anyway, don’t worry about going fast. I hope your horse has at least schooled XC before? Take your time, and make sure your horse can get a good read on each obstacle. Get off his back in between fences, and stretch up/settle into the tack several strides before each fence. It’s ok to trot or walk things like down banks or water if your horse is unsure! Going downhill, let your hips slide forward so that your upper body balances back. Up hills, get in your 2-point. Best of luck, ride conservatively, and BE SAFE – don’t make any rash decisions or big bids for a flyer of a distance on XC!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you thank you thank you! Yes I should preface this by mentioning Gracie has schooled over cross country multiple times, nothing phases her. She is a jumper at heart, so we prefer the spot on or short distances. I’m mostly worried about how I ride differently going over downhill jumps, so thanks for the tip about the hips!! Among others 🙂


  2. Sit back down the down banks, there is no such thing as jumping position down the down banks (ask me how I found that out). Up banks feel just like jumping except you don’t come back down on the other side. Trot the water and banks, you’ll have plenty of time. Most of all, stay tight in the tack- Gracie is a pro and did everything without blinking last weekend 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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