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On the 21st of February 2019, we (the Hesteyri Horses team), headed to Gloucestershire based Oxstalls Cross Country for the first time! Last season, we were a touch busy with our ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End so we didn’t get to many other parties!
We went with two horses, one who had never been cross country before and another who hadn’t been for two years. We also took our gorgeous collie, Tess, who was allowed to have an on lead run about and who loved having a day out!
There was a fab field to warm up in with enough space for a really good gallop, some small and some slightly larger ones to get horse and rider into the swing of things.
Next, we went into the field with the show jumps at the top and found a ditch to introduce to the horse who had no experience of ditches! We found the best training ditch was at the bottom of the field, perfect to show the horse what it was all about without them being worried about falling in!
The other field had a really kind step complex and a lovely water with gentle slopes and a range of jumps in and out.
Each field had a large range of jumps which could be worked into a course or jumped individually. We sometimes find that courses can either only be ridden as a course or only be schooled over individually so this was a fab mix of combinations and schooling! The jumps were beautifully prepared and painted, particularly the water which was so inviting! The ground was also incredible when we went and just firm enough to give the perfect ride! Our lad is barefoot and our client’s horse was fully shod without studs and neither of them struggled at all with approach, take off or landing. They enjoyed a race and both galloped around and over jumps confidently without slipping.
Afterwards, the horses had nice wash off in the area provided and we picked up some Polos for them at the tuck shop as well as Cokes for riders, driver and cameramen!
We were really impressed with the venue! Major perks for us were:
Dog Friendly! Although not to the point where you have strangers’ dogs chasing you and nipping at your horse’s heels!
Parking! The carpark was large and finished with stone so there’s no risk of getting stuck. The venue also provided plenty of muck scrapers to clean up after your horse. Our box is rubber matted but we can’t use shavings as they clog up the holes for the partition pins so we are always grateful when we can clean the box out when we get to events or training.
Facilities! We really appreciate when a venue goes above and beyond with facilities. As riders, particularly ones who have spent the summer camping, we’re used to roughing it. It’s really nice not to have to though! Our supporters and owners also like to use an actual toilet instead of a portable toilet or the horse lorry! Being able to wash off our horses with a hose was fantastic too. The bucket and sponge does the job but clean, running water does it better! The tuck shop was a nice touch too, we historically forget to feed and look after ourselves so it was great to be able to grab a quick snack after a lovely ride in the sun!
Vibe! The equestrian world can be a judgmental place so it was lovely to be left to get the horses ready and not feel as though anyone is watching your every move. At the same time, there is someone on site to go to if you need help. The whole place had a really relaxed feel, right down to the honesty box and sign in book and we loved it!
Course! Last and most importantly, the cross country course and jumps were well presented, laid out and anchored down. There were introductory complexes as well as more advanced combinations. They really offer something for riders and horses at different levels and it is a great schooling course to move up to a higher height and build confidence. Have a look at our horses on course here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTp-ySps_u4&feature=youtu.be
Thank you for reading our review of Oxstalls Cross Country! We are Hesteyri Horses, Gloucestershire based horse trainers specialising in giving all horses a chance. You can read more about our work and horses on our Horsemart and Facebook pages. www.facebook.com/hesteyri-horses