River Valley Pony Club goes cross country

Published 2:12 pm Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Foothills Foxes Horsemasters member Casey Delap at River Valley Pony Club’s cross country clinic at Stoneridge Equestrian Center. Photo by Denise Gould.


by Krista Just, 11-year-old RVPC member (D2/D3 HM rating)

River Valley Pony Club member Samantha Firby. (photo by Denise Gould)

On Sunday, March 11, River Valley Pony Club had a fun day of cross country riding at Stoneridge Farm in Liberty, S.C.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

It was a warm and sunny day, perfect for riding our horses and ponies. I had five people in my group, taught by Eric Dierks.

He did an awesome job teaching us about the three zones of cross-country riding – the galloping zone, the preparation zone and the jump zone.

We learned the proper galloping position and the need to shorten our stirrups when riding fast. The stirrups felt really short at first, then we got used to them. My stirrups were at the top hole.

Stoneridge has a ton of cross country jumps and big open fields. I loved riding in the open. We jumped over logs and stacks of wood. Dierks gave us a course of four jumps and watched to make sure we went through the three different zones for each jump. My pony, Frodo, likes to go fast, so I had to make sure to slow him down for the preparation


RVPC member Shelby Ritacco at the Eric Dierks cross country clinic at Stoneridge Equestrian Center.

In the preparation zone we make sure the pony is heading straight to the jump and at the right speed. In the jumping zone we look forward past the jump. All my friends riding over the jumps did great.

We learned how to jump a ditch. We rode our horses next to the ditch to get them comfortable with the ditch. Then we jumped the ditch several times and from both directions. The older girls also jumped over an open pit.

At the end of our lesson we rode our horses in the water. We performed suppling exercises while riding in the water, like taking our feet out of the stirrups and raising our hands. We rode together in a circle. You must have good balance or you might get wet! After the ride, I galloped Frodo up the hill, leading up to the barn.