We’ve been having massive rain in Austin lately, so my lesson on Sunday was my first one since the disappointing horse show. I’d be lying if I said I was super excited to be lessoning again. My brain had already prepared itself for life with a baby hunter, and had lost a lot of my gumption for the 2’6″-2’9″ jumpers with my changeless wonder horse.
My trainer had setup a mock hunter derby course to prepare for the horse show that got rained out Saturday, so she had us do a lot of windy courses with options, trot fences and rollbacks. This is the perfect course for Simon and I, because there are few places where we have to worry about strides and he tends to land on the correct lead when I’m preparing for a rollback. Even so, I started the lesson with a less than stellar attitude and prepared to flop around the jumps enthusiastically.
That is until I did my characteristic “here comes a square oxer so I should probably slow as much as possible and lean forward.” As Simon
approached crawled to the oxer, I realized that if he attempted to jump it I would most likely fall off in a heap on the ground. So naturally I looked at the ground and sent him all of my “please don’t jump this jump” thoughts, to which he answered by politely stopping. It was 100% my fault, and the wakeup call I needed. There is no pouting in jumpers. Sit up and kick on, or get off the horse.
We re-approached the oxer. I sat up and asked him to go forward, and he did. Shocking how these simple concepts continue to evade me sometimes.
My trainer told me that I needed to work on breaking down over fences, so I made that my goal for the rest of the lesson instead of worrying about asking for leads over the fence. That plus my stop in the first course gave me a firm boost of determination. Our next course was pretty awesome for us. My distances were on point, and Simon even offered a flying change or two in rollbacks.
This is why my beloved horse can be so frustrating. At home he will land on his leads all day long and do changes when I barely ask, but take him to a show and the hamsters in his brain start spinning quickly as they squeak “THERE ARE SO MANY JUMPS TO JUMP AND WE ARE GOING TO JUMP THEM SO AWESOME!” Lessons like yesterday used to give me hope for the hunters, but instead I’m channeling that to determination for a competitive jumper course.
He even got super wiggly like he does when he’s amped up from lots of rollbacks and not sure which direction we’re going to go, but instead of getting loose in the tack or flying off to the side like I have in the past I stayed nice and tight and channeled his enthusiastic energy straight.
It was a good lesson. Even though I was a little still a little pouty, I felt a flicker of determination come back to show the horse I have right now.