Your Love Keeps Lifting Me

Your Love Keeps Lifting Me

There’s lots going on here in blog and real life land throughout the rest of the year.  For the blog, I’ve got some really fun things planned for y’all for the holiday season.  Just about wrapping up prep and organization, so expect some details soon 🙂

On the horse front, we’re getting ready for the year end horse show in two weeks.  By getting ready, I mean trying not to panic because this show is always my favorite and I really want to do well.  Still, we’ve come a long way this year especially with some setbacks, so I have to remember that ribbons don’t necessarily equal success.


Speaking of success, I want to do a short video post today from the large jumping lesson over the weekend.  The jumps ranged from 2’9″ to a little under 3’3″ and were a good illustrator of some of my flaws right now.  First, an action packed video that may be entertaining for some of you that don’t necessarily enjoy technical riding videos.

In case you’re not familiar with iMovie, that’s one of their “trailers”.  They’re silly, but super fun to throw video clips into and be ridiculous.  Here are the real videos though, showing all kinds of fun mistakes and sketchy equitation.

Things I’m happy about:

  • He’s jumping super cute
  • He was more clean for this lesson at the increased height than he was in our first lesson
  • He genuinely enjoyed the bigger jumps
  • For the most part, we got the strides (although these were set shorter on purpose for an exercise fyi)


Things that need improvement:

  • My lower leg is swinging like crazy
  • I seem to be catching him in the mouth very slightly on the way down… not holding my release long enough?  Need to ask my trainer
  • We had difficulty with lead changes and I need to remember that when we up the difficulty in something (courses, higher jumps) I need to ask for simple changes or halts in the corner so he doesn’t get overloaded
  • For combinations, I need to take one jump at a time and not panic and quit or just sit there.  The time in the video where we go long and bang a rail down, I just froze so Simon made the decision for both of us to add.  Whoops!

It’s okay though, Rome wasn’t built in a day!  Any tips from you big jumping folks out there about flat exercises to get stronger as well as improve one’s eyes?  I already have a lot of no stirrups and canter poles in my future for sure.

31 thoughts on “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me

  1. I think one of the best ways to develop your eye is just keep jumping the jumps. I think you guys are looking pretty fucking fabulous all around myself!

  2. You guys look so great! Simon is KILLING those big jumps! Like Carly said, keep jumping the jumps and develop a feel for your “3′ canter” – internalize what the right canter feels like and try to replicate it. Loved the trailer, too!

  3. No advice (especially since I’m obviously not jumping big jumps, lol), but just wanted to say that it is so fun to see you guys looking like this. Don’t get down on yourself for minor flaws–you’re an adult ammy working through normal constraints of time and money and OMG LAUREN LOOK AT YOU. 🙂 You’re brave and Simon looks great.

    I, for one, am inspired.

  4. He looks great! The circle of death is a good one for eye, you can just do it over poles to save the horses legs.

    Personally, I like intricate gymnastics so you can just work on your position – like trot poles into a bounce to start always and then variety from there. You should be able to feel the front of your thigh meeting the saddle, and that allows you to know your leg is in a good place.

  5. woo hoo you’re totally doing it!! loved that last jump in the second video where you just totally dominated the single – awesome!! good boy Simon 🙂

  6. set up that pole exercise that you set on a set number of strides (like 6 for example) and work on getting 5,6,7,8 etc etc strides through the line. Really helps you feel the differences in your canter and works on your eye.

    As for rider fitness/strength, nothing has helped me more than hitting the gym (CrossFit specifically)

  7. 1. You both look REALLY good! Simon is jumping great and your position doesn’t look as bad as I bet it feels, haha

    2. I agree with Katie — doing exercises with varying strides between poles helped me start to feel the different canter pace I needed

  8. Congratulafions!! Well done to both of you; you both look like you’re having fun! Simon’s face is adorable and priceless. He looks so happy.

    As far as strength and eye development go, one of my favorite things to do for serious work on seat and leg is to ride bareback about as often as I think I can. Sometimes that’s once a week and sometimes less. And I mean *ride*, like do a normal flat (or as much as you can handle!) and not just hack around. Much like no stirrups the difference will be immediate. No stirrups is obviously great too – I like to try and incorporate at least a few minutes into every ride. (Posting trot is my nemesis!) Also, Twopointober taught me that two pointing around forever is fantastic for your thighs and legs and core. There is not a lot that makes me sore, but eight minutes of two point sure did. And there’s always out of the saddle – core work, light weights, squats etc. it sucks but as I started jumping bigger I had to accept it was necessary (for me anyway.)

    In regard to your eye, the first and best thig you can do for yourself (and Simon) is find that 12 ft canter stride and make that your home. It’s hard. It will feel like you’re going to the races. The balance will feel weird. But it is seriously your best chance at getting used to one rhythm, which helps your eye so much since it’s not changing all the time. From there, lengthen and shorten, etc but always, always go back to it.

    I’m a huge fan of poles and exercises involving poles to work on the eye; we aren’t allowed to jump outside lessons at my barn so my options are a little limited! But there is a lot you can do. You can make entire courses out of poles and practice harder distances (short corners, long approach, short or long or normal lines, the sky is the limit) and combinations without the fear of the miss. This summer I practiced jump offs over poles and that definitely paid off! If you casually canter some poles, even if it’s just a few every day you will for sure find your eye improve – particularly if it’s out of that beautiful medium canter.

    The last thing I’ll mention is that when you start jumping bigger there is definitely a learning curve for your brain and body. Your body is used to the jump being over sooner and it really just takes time to adjust. The first time I jumped 1m I was left behind everywhere, until my brain and body figured out what we had to do. Same thing at 1.10m although for some reason it seems to translate to bigger, I can jump 1.30 occasionally and feel fine about the position! Working on the outside factors is, of course, a totally excellent plan but it’s true what you said – Rome wasn’t built in a day!

  9. Just cantering around on the flat with a nice bright canter (maybe a little more than what is comfortable) so that both of you learn how to be ok with the pace is super helpful and it will help him not o feel like he has to get strung out after a while. Your pace has been getting pretty nice on course and the more you do that outside of jumping lessons the more relaxed it will be! Val and I have been working on this and it’s helped us a lot when I have to ask him to open his stride.

  10. Looking good! I need to take lessons from a hunter…your position is so QUIET. I love that!

    What I’ve been doing lately to work on my eye is just putting one pole down on the ground in a place in the arena where I go over it all the time. Even during flatwork, I’m just trying to get my eye used to seeing SOMETHING. Right now neither Maggie nor I are skilled enough for the adjustability exercises like getting different stride lengths between a set distance.

  11. Go girl!!! I think that getting the right pace is really a biggie.. I know you have been adding previously so maybe really getting that pace to ensure you get the strides as they are set will help with the flow and your eye 🙂

  12. Wow! I compared these photos to ones of you and Simon from last winter, and you guys have really come a long way! He’s looking super impressive!

    While I don’t jump much any more, I do know that the one thing that helped me keep my lower leg solid was really understanding what part of my leg was supposed to be on, and what it felt like when it was on. Then I could replicate the feeling in the faster paced world of jumping, where feel and instinct are king.

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