Thursday, June 9, 2011

Best Pony Ever!!! (aka Continued Confessions of a Chicken Rider)

Good news and bad news.

Good news: I took pictures.

Bad news: I forgot to take them off my camera. You'll have to wait to see them.

After two days in a row of dressage, we definitely needed to get back to jumping. I set a small gymnastic in the indoor (have I mentioned it started raining again here and the outdoor is slop? lame!). It was jump, then 9' to a ground rail, then 9' to the second jump. A simple one stride, basically. I set it as two verticals, but realized that my magical confidence from last week seemed to have meandered off, so I dropped the first one down to a cross rail.

After all, Izzy hasn't seen a real gymnastic since last summer, right? I was already visualizing how our love new saddle (thank you again Gingham!!) would keep me in the middle of her when she slammed on the breaks at the second jump.

I do not know why I think this way. I admit, it's stupid.


I brought the lovely mare in and after a very nice warm up, we trotted in to the gymnastic. I kept my eyes up and focused on keeping my legs soft and loose--the last thing I need to do is chase her through a gymnastic. She popped over the cross rail, took one canter stride, and neatly folded her legs over the vertical. I stayed right with her.

AMAZING!!! I <3 this pony!!!

We came again. I always need to go through the first time a little bit stupid. Then the next time I go through, I can pay a little more attention to what's going on. I pointed Izzy at the jump. About two strides out, she pretty much just said, "This is stupid" and picked up the canter. We like the canter jumps.

We went through a few more times and each time she felt awesome and I got a little less scared. Plus, she didn't rush at all. Hurray Jimmy Wofford for reminding us to just take your leg off when your horse rushes! I got off, set the first jump as a vertical too, then remounted.

All of a sudden, the jumps looked huge. (Yes, a whole 2'.) There were so many poles (5). Poor Izzy would be too confused and have to stop (not sure when she started stopping). I don't want to over face her (um... at 2'?)

We walked towards the gymnastic to let us both have a look. "Breathe," I told myself. "You don't have to do this. We're still just building confidence." A little voice at the back of my head whined, "But you were so confident last week. What's your problem now?"

Izzy's ears locked on the the first jump as we walked toward it. She was game. I took a deep breath, turned around, picked up a canter, made a circle, and...

WE FLEW THROUGH IT!!! Absolutely perfect! It felt like nothing.

I probably do need to start setting jumps up higher. Izzy barely even has to jump at this height...


  1. Good for you! Keep taking it slow and building your confidence. It's great that her attitude is so game and if it takes smaller fences to keep your nerves in check so you give her a confident, strong ride every single time then keep them low and build up to bigger ones over lots of time. As good as she's being, young horses confidence is extremely fragile. Keep up with the great experiences, so awesome!

  2. Fabulous post! I was totally cheering you on the whole time! I say keep the jumps at 2' for as long as you need to until it looks totally boring and little to you. I probably showed at 2'6" for a year longer than Tucker needed to, but I just wasn't 100% confident, and I'm glad I gave myself the extra time. Horses don't have deadlines, so just keep doing what you're doing, and take the pressure of yourself for now. You'll know when you're ready for more, and you certainly aren't harming your horse by asking her to jump something smaller than she is capable of. This is supposed to be fun!! (And I'm pretty sure that yesterday you had a lot of fun!)

  3. Hey, keep those jumps low just as long as you need to. Because even though jumps might look tiny from the ground, they morph into 8-foot brick walls when you're on the back of a horse!
    Ya know what helps? Group lessons. I used to take one private lesson and one group lesson back in the day, and I found that the group lesson was always a huge confidence boost. You see other people jumnping and screwing up occasionally but still getting it done and having a good time. Plus, then you tell yourself, "OK, if she can do it, I can do it!"

  4. Such a tease with the no pictures! That's ok though-I'm very jealous of your awesome gymnastic fun. I need to break out a yard stick or something to measure striding so we can do the same...

  5. There is something (everything, even!) to be said for remembering to breathe, taking the pressure off and building confidence. I could learn a lesson from this post. It's one thing to know something in your head, but so rewarding to see it all come to fruition. Congrats, and thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Yay! That's exciting :) Looking forward to pictures!

  7. Don't raise the jumps until you feel more confident. What you need to do is create all kinds of "puzzles" to sort out at the lower heights. Change the striding. Make some little oxers and verticals in combinations. Set up three jumps. Jump from angles. Learn all you can about approaches and your position at the lower heights until it becomes second nature. Then, when you raise the height, it will be easy and your confidence will be higher than the fences. *S*


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