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We Are Flying Solo

March 30, 2010

Back To Forward

So much to think about.

The lesson was good.  Although I could just feel Solo's indignation: I already worked hard on Saturday, what the hell is this about??!

Of COURSE, David makes us ride through a gymnastic to start off, after warm up with his obligatory Circles-Of-Making-Eventer79-Pant-And-Solo-Flex-A-Lot. He has some kind of psychic power to detect what you really don't want to do and then he makes you do that. Somewhat unsurprisingly, he quickly detects the source of our problems: I am riding too defensively, staying TOO far back and as a result, I am not moving with Solo over the jumps.

David: "I understand why you are doing what you are doing, but your upper body is saying whoa when you stay that far behind the motion."

Me (in my head): Yes, because I don't want to bloody fall off again.

Me (out loud): Yes, master. (or something like that)

David: "Once he is moving forward, trust him to do it and just support with your leg, but keep your upper body in a more ready, forward position."

Which, of course, worked like a charm.  Ahhh, smooth, lovely jumps -- why do they only happen when David is watching?

So when we start out learning to jump, most of us jump ahead, anticipating the jump too much, especially when we have learned in hunterland. Then we train ourselves to wait. Then we end up behind the motion -- although one of the eventing commandments is "Thou shalt remember that it is always better to be a little bit behind than a little bit ahead." Finding the happy medium is a bit like balancing a fork on the edge of a glass: for me, freaking hard!  Now my brain is going, Ok, stay back but not too far back, you need to be forward enough to go with Solo but not too far forward or else you will jump up his neck.  Yeah, no problem doing that every time on a course of ten fences.  Maybe I will just close my eyes and flap my reins at Solo while squawking, "Jumpy jumpy!"  That might create a higher proportion of successful jumps than my current method of confusing the snot out of myself.


  1. Jumping ahead was my biggest problem in my hunter days. Very frustrating and leads to going over fences without your horse.

    Sounds like you have a very good instructor.

    Now what the heck it that picture? Photoshop magic? I don't have my glasses on...looks like an oragami horsey.

  2. I am having the same problem. I can't seem to find the happy medium. ONCE every ride I get it right and feel great, but the next jump...pfffft. My horse is soooo not hunter, but the shows we are now showing at are. Makes for a hard go round. If you have any pointers I would be glad to hear them. I just try the same process you are, wait...but don't wait too long. Seems like there would be better advice somewhere, huh? Good luck to you and Solo. He did a great job for you on Sat!

  3. I insist that if you choose the method of flinging your reins at Solo & yelling "Jumpy jumpy!" that you take video! :-) The image of that made me actually laugh out loud!

  4. I see the flapping arm method used every day. Some times it means: runny runny, other times it means: stoppy stoppy. So when you perfect the arm flapping give me a call and I'll come over and judge your technique.

  5. Yep. Do the jumpy jumpy and take a video. Think what it will do for your readership, if not your riding skills.

  6. Haha, OUAE, yes, it's an origami horse. SassySki, if I solve the riddle I will let you know. Right now, I just know you have to find a steady rhythm and commit to it, keeping your horse in front of your leg.

    *now wondering if jumpy jumpy would make Solo hate me forever or whether it might be funny enough to do*

  7. I definitely feel you on this one. One of the reasons I wanted to start working without stirrups was because of this. The biggest challenge for me is being able to be still and wait and yet be loose enough that my body just naturally goes with my horse's movement. At the trot without my stirrups I'm finally being able to just let my horse's lift push me up instead of trying to post on my own power. Whether or not this will translate to my jumping form remains to be seen.

    I wonder if perhaps it isn't so much that you are waiting too long but that you are so tense your body isn't able to move with the forward thrust of Solo's jump? I know for me that over thinking things like this will make me very tense/stiff. How to not over think something like this, especially after a fall, is something I'm still working on, though.

    (Okay you are at a much more advanced level than me and it is probably a bit more complicated than that... but there is my two cents anyways. ;))

    I second the motion for video if you choose the method of flinging your reins and yelling "jumpy, jumpy."

  8. Hmmm, you might really be on to something with that, Amanda. I am SURE I am tense sitting on my bruised tailbone thinking "owwww, don't fall off!" And I definitely need to spend more time in two point because I do that...pretty much never these days.

  9. Ugh, I know what you mean. I used to jump ahead SO. BAD. Pony club really helped me get better about it, but sometimes I get a bit left behind now.

    For me the issue is now my upper body rather than my whole body: I need to keep my SHOULDERS up and back and my chest open. I'm not ahead of my saddle, but I'm ducking. It's always something...

  10. Exactly, mm, it's always something! On one hand, it's maddening, on the other hand, I guess it keeps us humble. But I wouldn't mind being not humble just for one eensy day maybe?