Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rebuilding Confidence

Pony mare sporting her navy amigo blanket. Stupid old blanket was rubbing even with a shoulder guard on.

Due to some bad planning on my part, I had to abridge the morning's pony activities, which made for a short ride on Izzy. Good news, though--all I needed was a short ride.

I got on and focused on directing Izzy to do something. We started by walking figure eights to let her warm up a bit. Then we trotted serpentines, again, with me focusing on sitting up and riding. When Izzy tried to get looky about the spooky bush, I took her in should-fore with an open inside rein and made her stay off my inside leg around the whole corner. Ha!

And then it was off to the races. Not only do I need to get comfortable galloping, I need to teach myself to let Izzy maintain her own pace. As Steph says, "Let her take you there". So I did. I asked Izzy to gallop by sitting up and kicking (funny how much more precise that is than tipping forward and taking leg off, haha) and then I focused on balancing over my feet while she went forward. If she backed off, I'd send her more forward. I reminded myself that this was fun on the first lap... and then it actually was.

I always think of Izzy as not being a terribly forward horse, but the more we galloped, the more she wanted to. I'd ask for trot, and she wanted to just shorten her canter. Interesting. I'm excited to develop that more.

We finished up by jumping a 2' vertical a few times. I cantered in slowly, staring at the jump. Izzy halted squarely in front of it. "Right," I said, "I didn't actually want to jump it". I circled and came again, this time at a convincing canter. I thought about what I wanted her hind legs to do on the far side of the jump, and I kept my eyes focused two strides ahead.

Boom. Jump.

Once more to make sure it wasn't luck, and we had another good jump.

My takeaway is this: I am working towards being more decisive as a rider and allowing Izzy to do her job. That's why we gallop, that's why I sit up and kick, that's why I push my hands at the jump instead of take back. It's hard for me to process mentally, but I'm getting there. Izzy is being honest with me, but if I'm going to ride her, I need to want to. Period. No pointing at a jump and saying, "well maybe I think but ummmmm" and then expecting her to go.


  1. Good work and a fun report.

    I had an idea. What if you choose a jumping chant for yourself? Like "one, two, up!" You could say it to yourself or aloud. I do not jump very often, or very high, but when I do pop over a few jumps for a change of pace sometimes I cannot help a "Woohoo!" This forces me to breath and keeps a fun feel to the exercise.

  2. Definitely VERY important in jumping, you have to mean every jump. Never think about stopping cause that just sets up for disaster. Thinking about the next step is great. Never think about what you don't want but always think about what you do want. Very glad you had a confidence building ride.

  3. Great post! Sounds like a great ride.

  4. Hooray! I'm so jealous of all you are learning and getting to do with Izzy. You guys look great in the picture:) Gallop On!

  5. Horses certainly are experts are picking up when you aren't convinced.

  6. Sounds great. The old saying of "Throw your heart over the jump and your horse will follow" rings SO true! If you envision it, it happens!

  7. I love the line - allowing Izzy to do her job! Great picture too :)

  8. Even if you aren't convinced, just keep that leg on. Its amazing how many problems just keeping leg on solves!


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