Never ever ever EVER change your mind on which route you are going to take, on the last few strides on the approach to a fence. Obviously in the cold light of day (i.e. when not actually riding XC) this sounds like totally unnecessary advice, but unfortunately adrenalin can make it seem like a fine idea at the time!
I was lucky to get away with just a stop when my very sensible and honest horse said “You have GOT to be kidding?!?!” when I made a split-second crazy decision to change to a direct route about 5 strides from a combination near the end of my/our first ever Intermediate run… I think I was a bit intoxicated by how well it was going, or oxygen deprived from holding my breath over all those big fences, or something, and suddenly decided to ignore my trainer’s very wise words!
I then rode him properly at the route I’d initially planned to do, and he jumped it fine. I was absolutely kicking myself, as you can imagine!
Not recommended… we ‘fess up to these things so you don’t make the same mistakes… 😉