Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Today was supposed to be "light hack" day, particularly since the smoke is back with a vengeance. I told myself that Cuna and I would walk around the barn area and maybe wander up a trail.

So I hopped on, let him amble out to the arena, and noticed that the jumps from yesterday were still set up, but a notch or two higher now from the lesson after mine.

About the same time, some clouds rolled in and the wind picked up, starting to blow the smoke away.

And the jumps just looked so inviting.

And of course I need to practice my position in my new, shorter stirrups.

And it wasn't that smokey...

We picked up a canter. I decided to try and improve a few things from yesterday right off the bat. First off, FORWARD. I forget to insist on this, then Cuna worries and accelerates, and then it's chaos. Instead, I moved Cuna into a nice, forward canter, and sent him forward and back a few times to make sure we were where I wanted to be.

Then we did a couple of little patterns. I found some super awkward spots and did my best not to make them worse.

Walk and regroup. The jumps are ok, but I'm not flowing with the motion in between them. I need to find my lines earlier, send him to the jump, and be still.

We try again. Nice, forward canter. See a decent spot to the single vertical and wait for it to come to me. Look right in the air to let Cuna know where we're going and land on the correct lead. Immediately start looking for my line. See a close spot in to the two stride. Settle to that distance, keeping seat near the saddle and body quiet. Jump in, steady one, steady two, smooth jump out.


Nine fences, taller than yesterday, and I feel good about my ride.

Unrelated awesome picture
As we meandered off into the hills, I had some time to reflect. I can't yet say, "I'm going to get close to that jump" or "I want to stand off of that one a bit". I can't control what spot I'm going to get (unless it's a related distance of about 4 strides or less). I can, however, reliably see my stride about 3-5 strides out, depending on the fence. I don't try to change a whole lot yet, because obviously, that's way too late to make any adjustments.

I guess it really doesn't even change my ride yet--basically, I need him coming in on a rhythm and then we settle to the fence. Still, the fact that I can see anything means that my poor, panicked brain is finally starting to slow down and think even when confronted with bigger fences. Winning!

Oh, and how awesome is it that my kick-ass jumping horse then proceeds to hack out of the arena on the buckle through the hills?

Yeah, totally.


  1. I think that whole "you must find the perfect distance" mentality of teaching kinda fried a lot of us. I know I used to be SO focused on always seeing the distance. Then I learned that it's all about the rhythm and the quality of the canter. I haven't done any real jumping in years (*sniff*), but I know letting go of focusing so hard on the distance is going to be so hard to do. Although, man, when you come around a corner and see your distance seven strides out and nail it, it does feel awesome!

  2. Agree with Frizzle, I think that "finding" or "seeing" a distance is kind of a misnomer. You and Cuna are a great team :)

  3. Agree with the above. As long as the canter is there, the jump will work itself out. For me, that's easier said then done...

    So happy you found Cuna! Having the right one makes all the difference in the world so yay for finding "The One".

  4. I'm so impressed by how quickly your confidence and recognition of your own skills has come back! Seriously, it wasn't that long ago that you'd have laughed at the idea of a hack turning into an impromptu jump sesh with *higher* than lesson-sized jumps. Good thing you stuck it out and gave yourself time to relax and hit the groove with Cuna. =D

  5. I pretty much came here to say what Frizzle and Sarah said, only they said it better than I would have. You give me hope that I can get to where entering a 3' jumper class or sizing up some jumps some random day and deciding to pop over a few before a trail ride is no big deal too.

  6. I used to have good days at seeing the distance and bad days. Not sure why. My horse was an awesome jumper--and I trained him myself from a 3 year old, so you'd think I'd know what I was doing. But, sometimes I had it and sometimes I didn't. Bless my horse for always figuring out how to get us over on the days I didn't. *G*

    Sounds as if your head is in the right place about it all. Keep up the good work and the nice forward canter.

  7. Can this be the same SB? Hee hee, good on you! And you are doing the right thing. Eventing is not about "placing" your horse, it's about building a good canter and then letting the horse do his job. As long as you have a soft hand and leg on, he can sort it out and do a better job than we can.

  8. Cuna is awesome!!! I'm glad the panic is starting to go away. I don't know a lot about jumping, but it sounds like you're making awesome progress. :D


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