Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Jump the Oxer Backwards

At least, that's what I've always been told. Izzy, on the other hand, is learning to jump and loving every minute, so when I turned her loose in the arena and there were jumps set up, she promptly jumped the oxer backwards. Silly mare.

She warmed up nicely on the flat, and then we got to do a jump school. We had an oxer, about 2' wide, 18" in the front and about 2'3" in the back (with a plank and a striped rail) and a vertical, about 2' with a plastic jump standard underneath it. Our only problem was me--I ride really defensively because I anticipate a stop. That means that I'm leery of riding really forward because, of course, the more momentum we have, the harder it is to stop.

This is ridiculous. I learned to ride that way when I was riding the ancient schoolmaster, years ago, because he'd throw in the occasional stop if he didn't like how I was riding. Cassie, Izzy's mother, is one of the most willing jumpers I've ever been around, and I NEVER had to ride her like that. So. To fix me screwing up my horse, I'm going to spend some time visualizing riding forward in to jumps and I'm going to try to get on Cassie more often to up my confidence. The old girl never lets me down. ;-)

Back to today. I rode Izzy in to the vertical. She was crooked and she took a look at it, but she went for it. Then we headed for the oxer, the right way. I knew she wasn't scared of it because I'd already seen her jump it. Still, I just puttered in to it and didn't really keep her forward at all. She came to almost a complete halt, then LAUNCHED herself over it. I grabbed mane and managed a decent landing without hitting her in the mouth. We landed at the halt. Just then, Cathy walked up. "Nice save," she told me, "but the approach left something to be desired." Haha, yes, yes it did.

After that, we worked on developing more impulsion on the approach as well as me sitting still and not getting left behind. We had one really nice jump, in which I actually stayed with her impressive leap and folded nicely at the hips so we probably looked ok. Then we were done. I'm not sure when we'll get to jump next, since we're supposed to move the horses to the new property this weekend... Here's hoping it will be soon.

Also, my cross country vest shipped today. We're that much closer to being actual eventers.


  1. So Cool! I think I miss jumping (think, because I was always a nervous jumper).

  2. I know just how you feel. My old lease horse had a dirty stop in him and I had to approach every jump as if he were about to pull an emergency brake.

    Lucy on the other hand is all systems a-go and while I know this, part of me still wants to ride defensively! I think after our most recent jump school, though, I have total confidence in her. Izzy seems like she's somewhere in the middle: she thinks about it but knows you wouldn't point her at something that she couldn't do!

  3. My friend's horse (an under 14 hands aged Morgan gelding) was being ridden by the 3 star rider that had been instructing a lesson that had run long. The rider looked at the clock on the wall, realized it had stopped, and started peering at her watch, which she had trouble seeing as the horse trotted along in the indoor. The rider was peering, peering, and only noticed something amiss when the launch started! Cuss words erupted, as the Morgan had continued the curve he was on, and jumped a three foot square oxer from the wrong side.

    She managed to stay aboard, and the pony didn't even touch the fence, despite her being out of position over it.

    We teased her about that for a long, long time.

  4. Ah, Schoolmasters! Mine knew every dirty trick in the book. It took me forever to stop riding defensively after I retired him. You'll get there, you just have to learn to trust your horse and yourself again. It sounds like Izzy's doing great, give her the chance to prove it!

  5. I know what you mean about riding forward. I have a 16.1h TB gelding and we have had a heck of a time jumping. Now that I have fixed alot of my problems we are doing great. I have found that if we trot into the jumps we have much more impulsion and he is less likely to refuse. Good job on landing the oxer. Can't wait to read more!!!


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