Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wherein Izzy Makes Charlie Sheen Look Chicken

Who is the bravest and bestest and cleanest jumping pony in the world?


We had one last jump school this morning to prepare for the exciting and upcoming lesson. (Yes Frizz, I am currently hunting down a photographer.)

As I set up the jumps, I just felt nervous and upset. "Why am I doing this? It terrifies me. I could just do dressage and trail ride."

Somehow, that didn't sound nearly as satisfying as I thought it would. Intellectually at least, I like jumping.

I started Izzy out lunging over the modified barrels again. We quickly ran through the progression--crossrail, vertical, oxer, oxer with barrel, just barrels. She did ok--one almost stop at the barrels, but then she went for it.

Ok. No excuses. Time to ride.

We did a quick warmup of my favorite jumped variety. Forward, back, forward, halt, move off both legs and we're set. First things first: I wanted to establish forward, pace, and balance.

We started with this simple vertical (the gymnastic component: I set it on the diagonal). We cantered in and focused on establishing a rhythm, then halting after the fence. As Jimmy would say, "You want them to land thinking, 'now what?' instead of 'watch this!'"

We're still getting in sync with each other, really. We had a couple of really nice jumps, but we're trying to strike a compromise between too backed off (my comfort zone) and too forward (her comfort zone). It will come.

Finally, we made a jump we were both comfortable with, did a circle, and aimed at...


Ok, it's like 2' tall and the barrels are plastic, so they move if you hit them. Still, intimidating.

Rest assured friends: I was wearing my fullseat breeches.

There are two schools of thought on jumping scary jumps. One says to trot in and let the horse have a look. The other says canter in, strongly forward, horse will learn to be brave.

Since Izzy is smart and learning and I'm not particularly brave, we chose school #1. We trotted in. Izzy hopped over and I grabbed mane, than patted and praised and told her what a wonderful pony she was.

We turned around to go over it the other way. We trotted in, and about 3 strides out, Izzy started veering right. I kept my hands steady, put my right leg on, and halted her straight in front of the jump. We stood for a second, I patted her, then we turned left to circle back and try again. Same.

Hm... obviously, I'm the problem here. What's missing?



This time, we circled back and on the approach I focused on staying centered over Izzy while keeping her forward (riding back to front... like dressage...). We trotted in and bam, jumped it.

YEAH!!! We did it a couple more times and even made a loop from the barrels to the vertical, which went ok. Izzy actually offered to canter in the last few times.

After assuring her of her general awesomeness, I decided we were done.

All that's left to do is wash her white leg and tail... and clean all my jump tack... and do some dressage tomorrow.

So exciting!


  1. Yeah, congrats! Sounds like a successful school to me. Good on you for recognizing a lack of impulsion. If the engine in the back ain't kickin', how's the rocket supposed to lift off?

  2. I'd add a ground rail to that vertical. It gives a little better look to the horse--not so airy. The barrel jump is great. I have a feeling you are holding back a little too much, being a "control freak" about that jump. (Frankly, I'd be that way now if I were jumping one of my guys.) It's your uncertainly that's holding Izzy back.

    Suggestion: make the barrels part of a two jump combo. Use trot rails to a crossrail then one good stride to the barrels. The crossrail will set you both up for the barrels and you will begin to feel the proper impulsion and approach. Trot to the crossrail, get Izzy to jump and then roll on to the barrels. Takes all the "scary" out and builds your confidence. If you set the whole thing someplace where you can approach on either lead, you can get some good practice in.

    In the meantime...Good for you!! Every ride is progress.

  3. I remember Lucinda Green saying that a trot in to something new/scary is usually the way to go...horses have more impulsion when cantering, yes, but that impulsion can also be directed at a sliding stop or run out, and you can be seriously caught off's just soooo much safer to do as you did and trot with impulsion, leg on, first. Well done as always!!! I'm going to have to see if we have some barrels laying around the barn somewhere...:)

  4. Yay! I'm sure you're excited for the lesson. Have FUN!!

  5. OMG you jumped those? You are so brave!!!!!! Seriously I would love to jump but just don't have the guts! Good on you!

  6. So jealous. My mare is barely broken and is only 4 and I have at least 12 months before I start her over mini stuff and and and I just want to jump now after reading this!! LOVE jumping!!


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