Here's a quick snapshot of a coffin fence on the course today. No surprise why they call it a coffin! You do NOT want to die in that hole.
|Photo: Erin Keating|
Never look down when you approach a fence. Never. EVER. Look up and forward, where you want to go. The horse will feel your eyes. And your commitment. Honest. There is probably no other experience where you are as tuned into another living being as cross country, so that you move together as one without thought or hesitation -- except sex. Good sex. Great sex. Cross country is like great sex. At the end you are exhausted, sweaty, shaking, out of breath and exhilarated. Spent but victorious.
Here is a video of the sport back in the day when I was a young rider. These were my heroes. The elite in the sport.
The sport was different then, too. Much more a test of fitness, preparation and endurance. Cross country has been shortened in today's sport, to spare the horses. I honestly don't know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. I know...me...indecisive. It happens.
But even shortened, those fences don't come down and the horses are still 1200 lbs and they are still traveling at over 20 miles per hour. And it is still some kick ass fun.