Today was our last jump school before Full Gallop this weekend, and I was determined that it would not be like our jump schools before. There would be no helpless clinging as Pop went left and fit in a stride and had to make a huge effort to clear a 2’3” fence. There would be no lack of planning before and after the fence. I wouldn’t say “go, go, go” until 3 strides out and then stop riding. I would be clear and concise with my aids, correct in my position, crisp in my turns and approaches. I would be completely sure of myself as we headed to each fence, keeping my leg on even if the distance didn’t look like it would materialize. I would RIDE him. Enough is enough, self. Get over your fear and just DO it.
So I did.
I can’t help but be proud of our effort today. I finally broke through this pattern I’d gotten myself into of being a passive, non-assertive rider. Sure, he’ll cart me over anything, but will it be correct, pleasing to watch, fun? It hasn’t been so far. I’ve been frustrated and down after every jump school to this point. I have a nice horse who has a big heart and I was literally throwing it down the toilet with my riding.
Today, I was absolutely going to “git r done”. Eventing is not about looking poised and pretty getting 5 strides down the outside line. This is a bonus, but first and foremost your horse must be forward, straight, and listening to you as you approach a stadium fence. If he’s on the wrong lead, you kick on. If he’s looky at the fence, you funnel him in and kick on. If he’s losing momentum in the turn, you kick on and go forward out of the turn. I don’t know where I lost my nerve and confidence to kick on, but at some point I did. Pop is here to remind me what it feels like to RIDE.
It wasn’t perfect. We had several hiccups and several bad distances that resulted in poor jumping efforts. We missed several lead changes and blew at least one turn. But I’ll be darned if we didn’t have a course of 3 fences that felt absolutely perfect. Where I rode up, forward and straight and we were finally on the same page. Wow, what an amazing feeling on this dynamite little horse.
Now I know I CAN do it. I CAN.
Oh, and I love the Amerigo. It’s flap is just forward enough for my long leg and it’s the comfiest saddle in the world. I know the saddle doesn’t necessarily make you a better rider but when you’re not fighting your saddle for your position, it certainly helps! We’ll add it to the list of Things R’s Future Rich Husband Will Buy Her.
Went to the tack store to get last minute items (hair nets and boot socks) and my breeches and potential new show coat are in the mail and should be here by Thursday. Boots are getting more and more broken in with each day! I still need to learn my dressage test, clip Pop up, and fill out my medical armband…among 500 other things I need to do before Friday morning. I’m so excited to be back on the road again. Trunks are packed, stud kit is ready to go….just have a bunch more cleaning and packing to do in these next couple of days.
Started working with Champ’s big sister, Bonita, tonight. I just started teaching a young girl on her last weekend and her goal is to start taking her to jumper shows. I’m hoping to find the time to work with both her and Champ 2-3 times each week. Tonight was a good first session…she has a very workmanlike attitude and is quite smart. We just w/t/c and trotted a small fence to get a feel for each other. She is actually pretty nice to the base of a fence and although her canter definitely needs work, I’m sure a lot of it is lack of strength and using the correct muscles. Champ was quite offended that I didn’t work him tonight but he was such a star last night and I was running out of daylight. I will be clinging desperately to these last days of summer before it gets cold and dark outside *sad face*
Til next time!