Monday, July 26, 2010

Jumping day!

Irie's mom and I set an actual course of jumps today. Yay! Before, we'd just set three different jumps side-by-side, which was ok for doing them individually, but wasn't conducive to much else. I'll have to take pictures, since some of the jumps are pretty fun. We have a sort-of skinny, lattice standards, a plank jump, a double rail, and of course the barrels. We even set a small combination. It's not super hard, but it demands just a little more than what we did before.

And then I got Izzy out. She decided to have a nutty day, so we did about 10 minutes of walking and bending to get her relaxed and focused. She trotted ok and we worked on bending, shortening, lengthening, and transitions with some leg yields thrown in for good measure. So far, so good. She seemed to be settling. Then we cantered. Izzy just galloped down the long side, then would shorten up for the turn. Going right, it took about 5 laps around the arena to get her to be reasonable about her speed and paying attention. It only took about two the other way. ;-) Smart girl.

We warmed up over the little skinny crossrail. Izzy was more interested in the fact that the new configuration of the jumps meant she had to use different parts of the arena than she was in the jump itself. This is why I like to jump with a friend; not only can they give feedback, but the person not jumping can set jumps. When she could stay straight to the cross rail, jump it, then stay steady afterwards, we moved on to the next challenge: a plank jump set as a vertical.


I didn't know what to expect with that. Izzy had plank phobia earlier this spring, but we worked through it, and then she hadn't seen a plank until today. Apparently, she also wasn't all that excited about it. I kept her straight, put leg on, and put myself just a hair behind the motion in case she decided to stop or leap or whatever. She jumped it like she'd done it a thousand times. Yay pony mare!

Next, we set out sights on the combination. It's set as a two stride for a moving horse jumping 2'6" or better jumps, which makes it a comfortable three stride for someone trotting in over 2' verticals. The approach was a tough short, which meant I had to be extra careful about keeping Izzy straight and prepared. We trotted in, hopped over the first one, then she canter nicely out over the second. YAY PONY MARE! We did it once more to correct the minor issue of her not picking her front toes up over the second jump and she was as good as gold.

Instead of pushing for more, I hopped off and let her be done. She was really cute. I turned her loose in the arena to roll and she kept coming up to Irie's mom (who rode Cassie) and I, trying to get treats.

To finish off the day, I loaded her in the trailer (attached to a truck) several times. We just got on, stood there, turned around, stopped, and got off about three times. Wednesday we're going to try to load her with another horse on the trailer.

It's encouraging to see some progress with her. I've been mulling over the idea of selling her and buying a Halfie because Irie's mom has so much fun with him (as did I, when I rode him). Basically, Izzy and I have had a tempestuous relationship this year and sometimes I'm tired of it and just want something less talented but easier to deal with. After talking it over with Irie's mom, I've decided to stick it out a while longer. She is making progress. I've stayer with her through the worst of it. Realistically, the horse I want is Izzy in a year or two, which I'll never, ever be able to afford. I need to hang in there and things will get better.

I do need a bit of feedback, though. When I do dressage with Izzy, she's loving and steady and whatnot. When we're jumping, she's forever pushing her head up in upward transitions. Should I just keep doing more dressage to work on it, not worry about it, or (gasp! a gadget!!) use a running martingale? Any thoughts?


  1. Eeek...not a fan of gadgetry! But I might suggest you work over cavaletti/poles on the ground a few times a week. Asking her to stay in her frame over the poles at the walk, trot and canter. It's less exciting then bounding up to a jump but might be a good in between way to transition some of the dressage style to your jumping.

  2. Sounds like a great session!

    As for the head up, I say don't worry about, if she otherwise rates. If you try to have a horse on the vertical going into fences, they cannot see it as well. Some may just have rubs, many start to rush... my cardinal sin ('cause I am a wimp). If she goes where you say, at the pace you ask, can take care of herself, and will steady or lengthen if asked, she is SAFE and it really doesn't matter too much if her head is up. You're planning to do eventing/derbies/ show jumpers, not show ring hunters, right?

  3. More flat work is the solution to the head problem - she's just getting excited by the jumping. Ride your jumps just like they're poles on the ground - and do poles on the ground in your flat work - and pretty soon if you keeping doing your flat work that'll go away, I expect. I'm not a big fan of martingales - they just mask symptoms and don't treat the underlying issues and they can cause a lot of other problems.

    Oh, and I meant to say it looks like you two are really beginning to click now!

  4. Re switching to another horse - remember, there are lots of less talented horses out there who could also be a pain :)
    I really think you're doing the right thing in continuing working with Izzy. So many people have told me that their horses changed SO much as they got older and had more training, sometimes going from bucking, etc. to being the steadiest horse at the show. I know how frustrating it can be with a green horse (although you're further along than me). Sometimes I just want my husband's wonderful draft cross. She's so much fun and never a worry. There's a lot to be said for that. Hmmm, am I starting to talk myself out of my opinion...

  5. Kate is on the money about the flat work. The key to good jumping is the approach and the approach can only be improved with flat work. The good dressage training will carry over to the jumping.

    Cavaletti and little crossrails are the key. You ride them is if they aren't there, working towards keeping her round. A jump is just like a big canter stride then.

    Izzy is a beautiful girl and putting the time into her will reward you tenfold in the end. If she truly is as talented as you say, then she is worth every annoying moment.

    Martingales are, to my mind, only for a horse that loses a total connection to the bit when it raises its head--or to protect the rider from getting clonked by a horse tossing its head. Otherwise, they are "just gadgets."

  6. Those jumps sound like a lot of fun.

    Def stick with Izz, she is worth it.


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