Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jumping Update

Courage and I haven't jumped a lot this year. Part of that is moving to a dressage barn and getting serious about improving our flat work. 

The other part of it has just been finding our sea legs together. I needed Courage to be in a place where I felt comfortable just kicking him and riding him forward. We hack around barn property now pretty much 5 days a week. I make Courage do ALL the spooky stuff. It's paying off enormously--his disobedience is now spooking forward instead of parking it or things things in reverse. I can deal with that.

squint a little. they're jumps.
And now I've started adding fences back in. I really also want to add lessons back in, but logistics are a bit of a nightmare this month, so eventually. For now, I'm focusing on jumping hundreds of tiny jumps. Hundreds. Easy. If it looks big to me, I put it down. I haven't put together any lines or grids or related distances. 

waiting while i set jumps
We ride big swoopy turns to tiny fences. I put my leg on and my shoulders back and my eyes up. I keep my hands forward and give big releases (because Courage would far rather I tip forward like a jumper than hit him in the face like an eventer). 

Honestly, it's really interesting. Some days it's even fun. Courage is far less green to his fences than he is in dressage. I am actually capable of riding quite well if I'm not feeling overfaced and terrified. Just like with out hacking, it's about building a bank of calm, positive experiences for us to draw on. 

The day we got video, I was a bit appalled by how backed off I had him, though happy with his relaxation. The next time we jumped, I kept the fence heights the same, but pushed him more forward. Basically, if he's not getting clean changes, I need more horse. 

When I watch other people ride, I'm always jealous of the ones who have the been there/done that horses that are pretty much point and shoot. So. That's what I'm trying to create. We don't have to be the fanciest or most polished or have the most ribbons and nicest stuff. I just want to continue creating my cool horse to have fun on, now over fences as well as on the flat.


  1. LOVE the indicator of "no clean change = need more forward" and your slow & steady training methods. Good stuff. :)

  2. I love how you put it- building a bank of calm, positive experiences to draw on. That's so important! Glad you guys are having fun :)

  3. I kind of adore your attitude in this post! Just gonna create the horse I want and here's my plan for it

  4. In my experience it takes me about two years to get a horse from from "holy crap psycho horse" to "lovely autopilot horse." Time and more time, and eternal kindergarden basics.... and then one day you realize you have a horse who can write paragraphs instead of just spell out his ABCs!

    1. Oh boy I'm slow cause it took me 5.

  5. I'm using the same philosophy of jumping lots of things 2' or under, while I remember how to jump and Boca learns how. I figure, how much trouble can we really get into at that height, and I still make the same mistakes anyway!

    I love that you learned that no clean change = need more forward. That is good stuff right there! And you don't need the big fences to figure it out.

  6. This is a great post. I love your positivity and attitude.

  7. You guys are moving right along at your own perfect pace. I think you've got a great plan to just keep adding as many calm and positive jumps/hacks/etc as you can!

    I have also realized recently that no clean change means I don't have enough.

  8. Took lessons with a super trainer when I was riding hunter/jumper. We hardly ever jumped more than 2'6" in lessons. Tons of flatwork, dressage based, and all kinds of jumping gymnastics at heights were we could focus on the tricky approaches, etc. without worry. Ended up with exactly that "point and jump" push button horse you so admire. No reason to jump the big stuff when the little stuff teaches all the good stuff. *G*

  9. This sounds perfect! Lots of tiny fences, building confidence, keeping the horse relaxed and forward, setting yourself up for success, all makes total sense.

  10. You speak "Courage" very well. And this is certainly the way to get him to speak "Aimee" too!

  11. This is an awesome way to be tackling fences. I need to channel that for myself!

  12. Part of creating the Point & Shoot horses, is riding them like they are already a Point & Shoot horse. Expect them to do the job and then leave them alone, letting them do it. Correct them only when they screw up.

    Easier said than done. Ask me how I know this... lol

  13. Great plan. No matter the height, having a nice bouncy canter with that "forward" feeling is important. This is something I am using in my flatwork, actually - when trotting or cantering in dressage I ask myself if I would jump out of this. If not, I add more bounce to it.

  14. I am really happy it sounds that you have found your peace in the slow and steady process. I just remember a former tone of your blog of frustration with not going faster, better, bigger. I like this much better. You are building a solid foundation that will eventually take you as far as you want to go. Great job!

  15. the whole bit about keeping it 'fun' is exactly what has helped my horse turn into a point and shoot ride. that, and lots of easy gymnastics (like an 18" one stride line - that's my all time favorite), since she used to rush.


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