Jump lesson last Monday

And things have been a total zoo, so yep updates now!

We rescheduled our jump lesson to Mondays (thank GOD) because Saturdays are just too busy, and truly the trainer needs a break on Saturdays too. So Monday is just better for everyone 🙂 We started last week and worked over a very simple exercise of four jumps, two in a line and the other two on the diagonal as bending lines.

The video is quite pixilated, hoping to use my camera next time.

Simple? Yes! Easy? Ha not really. I felt very rusty? And Oats did NOT respect the poles, so he ka-blanged them and sent them flying through the simple line until we set them up as real jumps, ha. He is kind of annoying in that aspect, just doesn’t get excited…

But I wore my spurs, and he perked up- a lot. It helped that we now have a lesson partner so he and his partner horse are definitely more engaged and interested.

I was still feeling kind of rusty, but we did better and better turns (still hard to wrap my brain around those) and the jumps went up and I said it was ok!! Even though I felt anxious, ha. Been awhile since we jumped anything of substance, really.

So the jumps went up and we flubbed it HARD three times in a row, and then finally made it ok into the line. And you know what? It sucked, but it didn’t suck the joy out of the exercise for me- sure, we were failing, but we could still figure out and do it ok. And we did! So, I am still learning this lesson: Progress isn’t perfection, at all. Sure we flopped, but we picked ourselves up and finished and it went nicely.

Go team!!! No jump lesson tonight, we were away all weekend at a multi-day horse show and I am tired, and Oats is too! Phew!

At first, you go with them. Then, they go with you. Then you go together.

A lovely saying by Tom Dorrance about horse training. It’s so true, isn’t it!

So for my jump lesson, we were back in the outdoor arena- WOW it’s so early to be there, I can’t even believe it. I’m not really that prepared to ride outdoors (when not at a horse show) yet. Oats needs his front shoes, he is very ouchy on the sand in the ring, and my riding fitness and balance need a fair bit of work…Feel very different outdoors than in.

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The course- setting and design and photo courtesy of Nicole and Sarah! (the jumps were not this high when I was jumping them, except for maybe the polka-dot planks!)

We warmed up and there was an excellent course set up, courtesy of my trainer and friend who worked to design and set it. I was both excited and kind of nervous to be back outside in the big ring. Oats felt a bit stumbly, and off-balance. He was decently forward, but I could tell he was having some trouble with his feet- first time outside- and going downhill (the ring is slightly sloped), he was having more difficulty maintaining the canter/balancing. He broke several times into a big runny trot.

So, managing these issues, we warmed up over an x-rail to a small vertical. It felt weird being in the outdoor! I felt kind of off balance too! Oats was backed off during this exercise, so we worked on getting him thinking forward- understanding too that he is challenged by the new footing, etc.

We then schooled a few lines, and repeatedly bungled the one outside line that is set slightly downhill into the sun. I just felt like Oats was unsure about it…Well he surprised me by slamming on the brakes when we came to the line at first!~ I’d forgotten than he hadn’t jumped the bridge in a year and he was surprised by it too, hahah. Oh well. We schooled it a few times, and every time we got to the pink oxer, it just felt really…blahhh. He just never felt that comfortable over that line- I believe it was a footing/balance issue.

Then we moved on to an equitation course. It wasn’t set very high, but had a few challenges- like a bending line, a broken line, a two-stride and that infamous outside line that we never rode very prettily.

The course went well, great actually. I was very pleased with Oats’ go-forward attitude!

Time to put it up!

And the wheels kind of fell off here- primarily due to a steering issue with me. Oops!

After the outside line -that STILL rode very ugly- we came in to the two-stride set higher, and I was pulling to the left…Oats went in long, and we came into the middle of the second jump. I almost fell off- because he is such a trier!

That was 100% my fault- pulling, wrong distance, steering all over the place!

We pried ourselves out of the oxer, and re-approached. This time I focused very hard on the second jump, and counter-bent Oats on the approach. We flew over it! YES!

The rest of the course rode fairly well, not so much that I can even really remember it…Oh wait, yes he seemed to get disunited on both bending and broken lines, and I believe that was due to him being a bit confused about our direction and the footing. Something to fix!

For our first go-around in the outdoor jumping, I was very pleased with Oats. He is such a trier, and he was very pleasant to ride.