Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Guess Who Can Still Jump?

trotting time
The good news about my EXCITING NEWS from yesterday was that I was way too fixated on freaking out about that and thus was super calm for my jump lesson. I even got crazy and told the instructor we'd ride outside instead of using the walls of the indoor as a crutch for our intermittent right-turning (non) abilities.

Plus the irrepressible Alyssa was on hand to photograph and we get so much better pictures outside.

color me surprised
Once again, I was really happy with G's ability to hone in on specific issues for Courage and I to work on without overwhelming Courage.

We started out walking and G was like "just walk him down through this EPIC LINE OF POLES" (not a direct quote) and I was like "LULZ NO PROBLEM" even though Courage has a long history of flipping his shit about poles.

But guess what?

He was totally chill about them.

I think G's approach helped--instead of just being like "ALL THE POLES", he had us do trot circles at the bottom of the arena, focusing on leg yielding out to lengthen Courage's stride and control his shoulders. Then I'd maintain the rhythm and contact and go right through the poles like nbd.

Then we added in canter circles.

I tried to not anticipate trouble and ride well, but as we cantered around on the right lead, Courage thought about flipping his shit a little and sort of got all hopping and bouncing backwards and like "OH HELLZ NO".

And G was like "is this normal" and I'm like "yeah..."

Because it is something he does under pressure, even if the only pressure is on his brain.

not edited.
So we did another half circle at the canter and then just ignored the right lead and that was that. Because adding more pressure wasn't going to fix it.

Instead, we added in a little crossrail at the end of the epic poles. The challenge was to make it the exact same ride for me and just let Courage do what he needed to.

It was surprisingly non-dramatic.

my only defense is "possessed right hand"
Again, this is where I appreciate G's understanding of thoroughbreds. Courage jumped just fine.

So we did it some more.

Then took a break, then did it more.

Essentially, we created the consistency and trust that Courage needed to be successful at this exercise and to set him up to be confident further down the road.


Then G made the jump into a wee vertical.

And Courage was fantastic. We were able to just have that same ride with a slightly bigger fence.

It all felt very natural and effortless, in the sense that I was so preoccupied with riding well that I had no time to think about much else.

And when I feel like I'm actually (somewhat) in control of the situation and can actually ride my horse, the nerves go away. So yes. Whole entire jump lesson and no fear. I call that a win.

I made a comment to G that I appreciated him not pushing my horse and that if this was what we needed, I Was happy to do it all summer long.

And he's like "really, once we get this worked out, you'll move right along".

I have lots of takeaways and plenty of homework (HOW WILL I DO JUMP HOMEWORK MUST DRESSAGE SO MUCH DRESSAGE) and I'm ready to work on all of it. I can feel my horse progressing and that makes me happy.


  1. G sounds really great! And that vertical looks plenty big to me :)

  2. G sounds awesome! Yay good lessons!

  3. Every single day I'm like "oh god should I jump or dressage, jump or dressage?!?!" because I'm actually physically incapable of dressaging properly in my jump tack (and it's not even a bit issue, it's all my own biomechanical issues) and my brain doesn't work right for dressage in my jump tack. Yeah. It's a problem. But if you CAN do a bit of both in one ride, I find that sometimes ponies really appreciate that.

  4. Replies
    1. He was my teacher when I was in ID too. You like him. It's true. He's very like-able!

  5. i love how relaxed Courage looks in all of these pictures - so glad you are happy in the training situation!

  6. Building a foundation with baby steps makes such a nicer ride! I grew up riding school horses that were basically trained using the method of "OK this one hasn't killed any kids yet in the week we've been using it in lessons after we bought it from some random dealer, so let's start jumping it." Then I started riding horses with, like, actual training on the flat and was like wow, this is a lot more pleasant.

  7. I just want to say that I LOVE Courage's jump there. He looks super confident and his form is terrific. And it looks like you're right where you should be. Nice job!

  8. Woohoo! He's got such a great jump. :) you've done amazing with him.

  9. Yay for happy rides. And that's not that wee of a vertical ;)

  10. Tell G I miss him!!! Those pictures make me so homesick. And yep, that's how he teaches. See why I've been so gung-ho about G? :) SOOOOOO HAPPY FOR YOU!

  11. I'm so glad that it went well :) Looking fantastic!

  12. I'm so glad that it went well :) Looking fantastic!

  13. Awesome! Love the last photo of you! And the possessed hand :) I have a steeplechase lesson with G in the future and am slightly nervous but your blog made me feel better :)

    1. Tell me when! I will come watch and awkwardly photograph. ;-)

  14. Woop you guys are killing it!
    Love your stirrups girl ☺☺☺☺

    1. Ps i love how G seems to be jumping the jump with you in the before last photo ☺


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