Getting the Feel

Getting the Feel

Had a good lesson last night.  On Saturday I picked up my tall boots from the cobblers from getting the zipper fixed, and since then I’ve been complaining about them almost non-stop and feeling like I can’t ride at all with this slick concrete boot on my lower leg.  Asked my trainer if I could potentially show in half chaps at the show, and she wasn’t impressed haha.  The good news is that by the end of the lesson I felt like I was riding somewhat normally in them, and with a ride every day until the show I’ll probably be fine.  Tall boot crisis averted once again.

Maybe one day I won't have to hear her complain about tall boots anymore...
Maybe one day I won’t have to hear her complain about tall boots anymore…

Last night we worked on courses, and I realized that I am having to change my feel when jumping Simon. This is not something new though, we’ve gone through several different phases of feel when jumping.

When we first started, I wanted sloooooooooow.  Like double ad slow.  Our feel was basically trantering over 18″.  Amaze balls, but not really good for the hunters.

Then after our first show, my trainer got on me for going too slow.  I had it in my mind that we needed to get the strides, but our canter wasn’t strong enough to really support this.  That ended up in some kind of “go whatever pace you feel like Simon” feel where I pretty much just lined him up and stayed still to the jump.  We had some pretty spots, and others that were awful.


Now with my new trainer, the current mantra is “let’s get him to go slow, because we always know we can speed him up.”  It’s not the crawling pace that I started off with, but instead properly adding or occasionally doing the stride if the lines are perhaps a bit shorter.  The difference is that I am in control and choose what we’re doing, not him.

When we first start jumping, he likes to drag me to the fence.  Over smaller stuff, I’m doing better at staying up and waiting and making him listen to me.  It’s not always perfect, but it’s getting better.  The more we jump, the more he listens – which is a good thing!  Once he’s listening I just need to remember to dial back my corrections.  Last night on our second course, Simon was much more “with” me however I was still whoaing like he wasn’t which led to some chipping that I could have avoided if I rode better.

Fat OTTB is fat.
Fat OTTB is fat.

All in all feeling better about the show Saturday.  Right now I’m trying to decide between the kiddy 2’0″ division and the much less kiddy 2’3″ division that’s in the bigger ring.  I think we’d be fine surviving the bigger ring, but I kind of want to go and make the show more than just surviving.  We probably won’t pin in a division of 20+, but I think I’d like to go give it my best effort to have a smooth round rather than just “get over the jumps.”  What do y’all think?


33 thoughts on “Getting the Feel

  1. I think that “ace task at hand” and “tackle greater challenge” are both very worthy approaches. If you will be fine/happy/comfortable either way, I would go with whichever will set you up better for what you’d like to do next. Not very helpful, I know. Have fun!

  2. I think you should do one more show of the 2″. I feel it’s important to feel good about the division you currently compete in before moving up. It may not be about ‘pinning’ but like you said, having a good round for you both and feeling confident in it. Either way I hope you enjoy your show and do the very best you can. 🙂

  3. It really depends on what you think you can do. Honestly, I’d stay in the 2″ division. It’ll be good to practice and then you can move on to bigger stuff. Practice makes perfect, right? I pretty much agree with everything Kaysee up there said. Lol!
    PS: Simon looks GORGEOUS in the last picture!

  4. Enter whichever division your trainer feels you should do, they are your eyes on the ground, they know what you are capable of and heck, that is why you pay them.

    1. Trainer is open, but wishes the 2’3″ division was in the smaller of the two rings. I wish that too! As of now I’ve opted to do the 2’0″ to play it safe and have a good experience for me and Simon pants.

  5. You should do whichever you are more comfortable with. If you go in and nail it perfect a 2′ but don’t pin, that’s totally OK. You’ll know you did a great job. OTOH, if you feel like you can nail it at 2’3, do that one. Own it, whatever you choose! 😉

  6. I just emailed my mom about a show in July. Basically, I was using her as a sounding board about whether to go for it (a $400 attempt to get 2 qualifying scores at Training level) or bide my time/save my money/and stay focused on training for the Pony Cup…
    Her response: You never know if you don’t try!
    That being said, it never hurts to take the opportunity to kick butt in your comfort zone!
    Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

  7. I agree with what everyone else said about doing what you feel confident about! But I also wanted to add, there is nothing wrong with kiddy competition ;). There will always be kids who ride better than me, but that doesn’t make them any less competition! Do the 2″ and worry about having a good show for you and Simon, regardless of who the competition is :).

  8. Kids can be hard to beat! You’ll do a fantastic job whichever division you enter! On another note, wish my OTTB was fat like yours…not really but y’know… 😛

    1. My OTTB spent a lot of time being skinny. I thought I was going to give him my fatness and he’d give me his skinniness, but instead we both just found fatness 🙂

  9. Building confidence is always a great thing, but only you know how ready you truly feel for the bigger division. Sometimes you need to push yourself and sometimes you need that extra confidence round but the good thing is it is a no-pressure decision (unless you pressure yourself!).

    1. But I’m very good at pressuring myself! 🙂 Based off our history this year and my current state of mind, I’m just going to do the 2’0″ and do the best job I can. I’m lucky he’s sound enough to show at all really.

  10. My legs always feel weird when I’m trying to break in boots but it goes away eventually. And I think if you feel confident, you’ll do great in the 2’3! I don’t think you have to make it about surviving at all.

  11. You’ll rock the 2’0 division, have a blast Love the picture of Simon the “fat” OTTB, you should be proud of that, it’s hard to get them fat 🙂

  12. Can you do 2′ and see how it goes and then do 2’3″? Or do you have to stick with one division? I use to do 2′-2’6″ at some of my hunter shows, so just a suggestion!

    Glad you’re starting to be in control, though! I have that issue too- holding and chipping. Wizard likes the long spot, so it’s actually worked out- we somehow work together to where I get him to a closer spot that’s not a chip and I’ve learned to LET GO a stride before the fence, ha! Well, most of the time… :\

    1. Unfortunately I think they will run at the same time or perhaps the 2’3″ before the 2’0″. Plus I may die if I do 10 classes in 104 degree heat… my plan is to just do the 2’0″ and do my best.

  13. I’ve been enjoying stalking your blog and I feel like we are having similar dilemas with our ponies. For instance, I’m trying to decide between doing Beginner Novice (2’7″) or Novice (2’11”) at MacNairs in a couple weeks. A lot of times when I’m between heights like this I tell myself- it’s 4″ (or in your case 3″) different- will Foster really care if we do the bigger height and go for it, or is it me that is worried because the jumps all of the sudden seem so much bigger? And then sometimes the courses are a lot more technical at the next level and we just aren’t ready for bounces/2 strides/anything close than 4 strides apart. Just wondering if in hunters it’s similar, or if this is something you are dealing with too? Wish you guys the best of luck either way!!!

    PS I think I’m going to do Beginner Novice after all, poor pony just isn’t fit enough yet to do a full 2’11” course in NC July heat. Next time though!

    1. Completely agree with you. I think with hunters the course does get more challenging as they raise the height, but also the jumps get more fill. So wider spread, more flowers, etc. Also, the step in the rings set for larger jumps is longer – so it makes doing the stride out of our reach right now because that’s something I still need to work on!

  14. I had this same conundrum earlier this month and I also opt’d for the lower division (18″ vs. 2′). It worked out well. I had another confidence builder show and now I won’t be second-guessing when I do move up to 2′ later this summer. 🙂 GL!

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