September 12, 2009

Learning To Fly Or Course Changing Pt. II

I don't know how, mom!
I'm spending some time on this clinic because it really DID change everything.

As we moved into Day 2 (Stadium Jumping), I was already starting to think more critically about my riding. When riding on my own at home, I would do the standard W/T/C warmup, some circles, some jumps, but wasn't really that analytical about it. I just...did it. Surely that would prepare me for anything, right? Right??? *snort*

At least I was much more confident coming into stadium day -- I was most comfortable jumping given that was what our most recent lessons involved back in 2001. And I was bound and determined to live down dressage day -- when Ian yells out in mid-buck, "Hey, you should ride this horse with a neck strap!" Sorry, Ian, but he never tries to buck ME off! And I knew my horse was brave and honest.

Reset: ok, so he didn't really get gymnastics at first and five bounces in a row was pretty intimidating. But we figured it out and I thought, Ok, we've got this. We worked on a couple of things, namely, keeping my shoulders back over the jump and not throwing away too much rein in the air.

We started here...
Jumping ahead with a lost leg, laying on Solo's neck with loopy reins. Not gonna fly in eventer land!

Finally made it to here...
Tight leg and seat, MUCH better release and ready for anything!

Time to do some courses. Ian laid it out and said go.

I looked at the first jump. I looked at Ian. "That's ENORMOUS!" I bellowed.  I'd been jumping Solo MAYBE two feet at home, like a big fat wuss that I was.

Ian kindly agreed to help me feel at ease. By taking the back rail off of ONE oxer later on the in the course. Leaving all the rest of the jumps (set around 2'9" to 3') completely and terrifying intact.

As he emphasized during the warm up and gymnastic, you must ride FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD (as I learned, Ian is BIG on forward and a rather aggressive rider in terms of approaching an obstacle). Once you're going FORWARD, go FORWARD some more.

So we racked up a pace, I attempted to beat into silence the wailing in my head that insisted, We're going to dieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...... and I muttered, "Please, buddy, show them that I am right for believing in you."


I was so proud, I probably looked like the Cheshire cat. And it was a blast -- leg on, eye up, and we could FLY!

The only hitch was the jump before the final triple combination. I had never seen anything like it before or since. It was a panel jump, but it was a skinny. And the panel was a triangle of board with the top point pointing at the ground.

I came around the corner on the approach to that think and my head went That thing is insanely weird and scary!  Solo promptly responded by screaming, "OMG, that thing is insanely weird and scary!!!" and it was a no-go.

Ian says, "Don't look at me, look at the jump!" Oh damn, he noticed my eyes pleading at him to rescue us from this heart-stopping monster of a jump.

*sigh* Ok then...


And that guy standing in the background is NOT short. Holy crap -- I wanted to screech and whoop at the same time. Ian hollered a somewhat surprised shout of congratulations. It was so narrow that my toe actually pulled the standard over behind us, but Solo didn't touch it and he then made a perfect, balanced show jumping turn to the triple.

God, I loved my horse!


  1. You should send Photo #3 to the GM's Jumping Clinic section in Practical Horseman -- he would give your position much props! (Although, I'm sure he would harp on your tack, attire, Solo's know, the usual GM stuff). What a huge improvement Ian made in your position -- very impessive.

  2. LOL -- thanks, Frizz, I wish I could say it stuck so well that now I always look that way...sigh. Yes, we would utterly fail GM's presentation inspection, but you know, when it's 110 degrees, I just don't care!