Getting Back to the Fun

Getting Back to the Fun

Saturday was the first 100% stress free day I’d had in quite a while, so I celebrated by spending all day outside with ponies and my camera.  If that doesn’t lift one’s spirits… I don’t know what will!

Since several riders at our barn are getting ready for the early March hunter derby and I’m working towards the late April one, our trainer has done a great job doing “derby lessons” that offer more challenging courses than the typical outside inside outside inside that you’d see in the hunter ring.


This kind of lesson is pretty much perfect for Simon and I.  We both love technical challenges, and he is a really honest horse to new jumps… so as long as I ride properly we usually do okay!  Simon warmed up feeling pretty good, and we started with a trotting course to show the horses all the new jumps.


The derby challenges in the ring were a single barrel with flowers (no pictures of us doing it, but he was great!), a bench jump with planters underneath, two sizes of hay bales and a jump made with sideways standards and flower boxes.

He gave the bench jump a little bit of a funny look, but hopped over it with no drama.  I thought the single barrel would give us trouble, and although he did zig zag to it a little bit a few trot strides out he realized it was for jumping and pretty much said, “Oh okay no problem!” and popped right over.  Good boy!


Then we built up to a few courses, but the last one sticks out in my mind the most so that’s what I’ll post about.  It was a mix of incorporating the new derby jumps with tight rollbacks and technical challenges.  We needed to be able to execute rollbacks while maintaining enough pace to make the two stride and the one stride combinations… which isn’t something we’re old pros at yet.  Here’s the (not to scale) course:


Our first course was a little messy.  The haybale jump had two options – a 18″ and a 2’9″ stacked option.  On the first course, I chose the teeny option because I was being a wimp and he had a lot of oomph coming out of the two stride.  The result is Simon say “meh” and cantering right over it.  Whoops.


Also, for our last jump I totally leaned in for the long… so he added instead.  We all know how beautiful that looks, but I’ll share our fail with you anyway for giggles.


One thing I am really proud about though, is Simon’s new found ability to get the horse strides.  Granted, my trainer set the lines a bit easy this weekend so I’m not saying we would have rocked it on a 12′ stride… but he’s jumping more across everything and he’s lengthening up his canter.  The “easy” lines felt pretty easy for us.  I squeezed across the jump, but didn’t feel like I needed to stretch him down the lines in order to make it.  Here’s a cool compilation of our first attempt at the two stride this past weekend.  He leaves a little long for the second single, but they’re also set pretty tiny.


The next time was much better.  I felt very jumpery “slicing” the first two jumps… even though the pictures don’t show that much of a slice at all.  I swear, we were jumping clear across them 🙂



Bench jump went fine, to the two stride which was non-eventful.


I put on my big girl panties and jumped the 2’9″ hay bales… easy peasy!


Had to do a firm whoa to keep him from running through the one stride, but he listened and came right back.


The rollback was really tight to the last fence, but unlike last time I sat up and we got a much better spot to it.  While everything wasn’t perfect, I finished the lesson all smiles.  So much fun!  That’s why we do this crazy horse thing, right?


Moral of the story is, if any of you need a pick me up I suggest you ask your trainer to go find some crazy stuff for y’all to jump.  It really gave me a boost of fun that we most definitely needed.


32 thoughts on “Getting Back to the Fun

  1. These have definitely been the most fun lessons. I’m glad you included one of the courses… that one was my favorite but I’d kind of totally forgotten about it already.

  2. Those jumps are really neat! I especially like the hay bale option. What an easy, inexpensive way to make a jump and do something different. It looks like you guys had a blast!

  3. Yay I was waiting for this post! (Saw a preview on instagram haha). I AM SO PROUD OF YOU FOR JUMPING THE BIG HAY! AND LOOK HOW FREAKING WELL YOU DID IT! See, easy! 🙂 Also, no disrespect to smaller heights, but the 12′ strides really aren’t appropriate for small fences- the horses don’t jump over them as well so it really makes it hard to get the right striding. Once you start consistently doing 2’9+ stuff, the strides will be so much easier. You really don’t have any other option but to run a little when the jumps are small and set to normal strides 🙁 Anyway, you look fantastic! Cool jumps!

    1. Big hay bales not as scary as advertised!! Thanks 🙂 And you’re totally right about the 12′ stride and little jumps. My trainer will move things in/out depending on what height we’re jumping. I also think if there were more fill to these like you’d see at a hunter show, the stride would come even easier.

  4. You guys look great, and that looks like a blast! Connor would have been on the other side of the state from that bench jump, I’m pretty sure. See, jumps that don’t fall down, you’re totally on the path to cross over to eventing. 🙂

  5. Those jumps look fun! I love the standards on the sides – I’m surprised that I’ve never seen that before because it looks perfect. Oh, if only my barn had winged standards.

    And.. were those hay bales measured? Because 18″ plus 18″ equals 3′. Just saying. 🙂

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