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Friday, November 19, 2010


As I start approaching jumping seriously, I’m reminded why I LOVE learning new things – it gives me all sorts of insight into things I already do! Not to mention that if as a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, learning to jump fulfills that “rush need” in my life, than it’s a rather healthy way to do it eh?

Revelation # (who the heck cares about what Rev # this is anyways!)
Most likely you are worried about the wrong thing.

The Jump Scenario: I’m looking at the fence instead of riding my flat work. Want to guess how that worked out? Ummm….actually way worse than even that….
The endurance scenario: You are worried about the drop off that is RIGHT THERE instead of riding your horse evenly, and forward, and relaxed. Chances you are AREN’T going to fall off the cliff. Chances are you WILL have a sore horse by the end of a 100 miles because you weren’t riding.

Revelation #
It went wrong WAY before you thought it went wrong.

The Jump Scenario: Why did you almost get bucked off after that fence and hit the dirt? Ummm….because I half halted at the base of the fence and she was rushing and then I sort of tried to grab mane and I left my eye on the fence…..No! It was because by the second stride off the fence before that one she was bouncing off your leg from side to side like a ping pong ball! Oh….
The endurance scenario: “I tried to slow down in the second half of the race – she stopped eating and drinking at mile 25.” Actually, you were in trouble at mile 10 when she took 20 minutes to come to pulse instead of her normal 5 for those conditions.

On the topic of jumping, let me just say I’m not sure I’m going to survive the experience of learning to jump on Farley! She certainly is giving this her all. The pony is jumping rather well….the rider…not so much.

It would be nice if she didn’t have quite so much….enthusiasm for the task. Oh yes! She enjoys the new game of what amounts to legal airs above ground! She actually JUMPED during this lesson – tucked her little legs and bounded over the bars like a little bunny. None of that sissy half-assed (which I rather liked) pop over the poles like she’s been doing at previous lessons!

It doesn’t help that she’s a bucker – this isn’t a new thing – it tends to pop up when she gets to try something new she particular likes. I know from experience if I ignore it, it will resolve and stop on its own fairly quickly. If I make a big deal out of it, it will just get worse. The trick is to stay on top while she works it out. They are happy bucks and when I get off balance, she (usually) stops. Thank goodness. At one point during the lesson my trainer thinks I stayed in the saddle today out of an unusually strong sense of preservation but actually, Farley stopped bucking and let me extract myself from her mane and screw my head on straight.

And to be perfectly honest – the only time she bucks is when I do something wrong. Once I fix it, she never bucks in that circumstance again. For example – when I was learning to canter - if I learned forward in the transition she would buck. If I kept my weight back, she gave me the transition. Now, it would be highly unusual if she offered to buck during a transition.

Currently she is trying to teach me:
  • Stop slamming my butt into the saddle during the landing
  • Stop sitting in the air and getting left behind the motion during the jump
  • Stop looking at the ground and leaning forward in the landing!

As long as I minded my p’s and q’s she behaved quite marvelously (for example – our last line of 2 jumps was actually quite pretty, all because I focused on keeping my eyes and butt up!). For our first serious jump lesson I thought it went well.

In summary – thank goodness I’m learning this particular skill at 25 instead of 52!

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