Last week before my jaunt to NC and the Memorial Day Texas flood, I was able to ride my horse for two days. It was amazing.
One of those days happened to be a jumping lesson, and in a show of great maturity I took a last minute half day from work and headed to the barn for an earlier lesson. We hadn’t jumped in well over a week and more rain was in the forecast, so my trainer wasted no time setting up a course.
A course full of oxers.
When I say full of oxers, I mean every jump was an oxer except two… maybe three. Since no one had been riding, they were set small at 2’3″ – 2’6″ but they were still there in all of their airy glory.
My suspicions were that my trainer knew that Simon and I would be so excited to jump or lesson at all, that we wouldn’t notice all the oxers everywhere. Either that or she took the opinion that when you get to ride 6 days out of the entire month of May, you put on your big girl panties and jump the damn oxers.
Either way, I jumped the oxers.
Our warm up course was okay. Nothing tragic happened and I pretended the oxers weren’t there. Simon behaved normally, which is to say he tra la laled along quite happily.
Then the next real course needed to happen with all the oxers. Not only where there all the oxers, but the first jump was an oxer. We cantered up to it with a pretty normal pace, but I didn’t see a distance. While I’m proud of myself for not leaning (lesson learned maybe?), I also didn’t do anything to correct.
It wasn’t even a bad chip, but Simon was NOT happy. After the fence, he actually tried to buck(?) a little.
From then on, every oxer was met with gusto!
Any reservations I had about the sea of oxers melted away, because my horse was totally on point. There was no way he was going to chip or get too close to one of those oxers, but at the same time he was super rideable.
In the few lines we had, I felt him wait for my signal in the line. Did I want him to add or go for the stride? When I pushed my hands forwards a little and applied some leg, I could feel him go “Good choice!” and lengthen his stride.