I'm still riding my weekend high (lol equestrian humor) even in to Monday morning and it is GLORIOUS. Not only was this weekend beautiful (70's and sunny), I got to jump!
We spent the majority of the weekend cleaning up my parents farm (read: taking all my horse stuff from the last 18 years and sorting through it all/throwing away/cleaning) and breaking down the fencing so they can re-build the ancient barn. It was a ton of work, and I mostly just drove the four wheeler since I can't really lift much yet. Bangor was a massive help and after a Crossfit comp Saturday and working literally all day Sunday on the farm he STILL came with me to New Farm to video for me.
I'm keeping him.
Originally the trip to NF was supposed to be Saturday, but I was so effing tired and a rogue thunderstorm popped up around 5PM and prevented the exclusion anyways.
B was a little confused on where he was going late on a Sunday evening after dinner, but got in the trailer with no protest. I was super impressed with him on that one!
He was a bit looky when we arrived, but settled right in once we got to the arena. Guys, this arena. I could tell he was amazed with the footing at NF by the way he flicked his toes, and we warmed up with a few laps each direction and popping over tiny crossrails. If you had never known that B was barefoot, you wouldn't be as impressed as I was with how he was handling jumping. I seriously couldn't even tell; not one bobble.
He was absolutely lit too- so jazzed to be jumping again. I felt like he would jump the moon if I had asked him to!
I was struggling though, even he took to his potato sack rider in stride I kept the fences pretty low. B was literally doing all the work for me and never once looking at a single fence. Even the super spooky liverpool and triple bar fan jump. I just clung to his back and pointed his face at fences.
Not a recommended method of training, but whatever.
Unfortunately, I had approx only 2 min of video storage only phone, even after deleting half my apps, essentially my entire camera roll and text messages, so it was either get some video over the oxer, or some super far away, less interesting footage of the coursework.
I promise he was foot perfect though, despite my wayward riding skills. He was literally point and shoot. I had Bangor set the course to 2'6 and 2'9 (bless him) with mix of verticals and oxers, with a bending line (oxer to vertical) and two other combinations (verticals to oxers). B tackled it all like it was nothing and I was just along for the ride. I swear, he's on his best behavior, knowing that jostling spirals me into agony (anything to ride, amirite?).
I had to grab the oh shit strap a few times simply because my core strength in nonexistent and he jumps me out of the tack when I am healthy. Boy has some hops.
Per usual, his left lead was a little more "problematic" at first (stiff) than the right, so I tried to approach most of the fences off the left lead and after the first course he seemed to loosen up a bit more and his changes were less jostling.
|Forever too tall for anything I own|
I almost wish I had video evidence of the coursework, because I don't think anyone would believe me on how magically calm B was going around.
This, being the horse who used to refuse everything at LEAST once and fling himself around the course at mach speed.
After two courses I called it a day with courses since neither of us have really jumped much in the last 6 weeks. B has been jumped by L twice, but I was erring on the side of caution.
I am not exaggerating in stating that I was flopping around like some useless cucumber in the saddle, so I was hella impressed with my horse for putting up with it and jumping all the things.
After coursework, I wanted to see how he would do with a little bit of height and eventually got the oxer up to 3ft. Despite what it looks like in the pics, I can assure you that it was 3ft. Damn giant horse and weird camera angle.
He was perfect.
I think maybe it is time to admit that he is growing up and I shouldn't be surprised by his good behavior anymore and instead come to expect it. B will be 8 in January, which is just a few short months away it seems and I feel like 8 is an unacceptable age to throw shenanigans.
I do think though, that training him at a glacial pace has been the major key in his progress. It was pretty difficult sometimes when I saw my friends competing up the levels with horses younger than B, but my sanity was kept knowing that this is what he needed in the long run.
Even after the majority of 6 weeks off of jumping he came back full throttle with an actual fire in his heart to attack the fences with gusto. He was quite literally just stepping over the jumps and having a ball.
|me forever getting left behind by his giant leaps|
I think maybe it might finally be time to start making the move up to the 3ft divisions. I know he can do it, he's been able to do it physically since before I bought him. But now I think he is actually MENTALLY ready to move up. I think with the addition of the hackamore in our tack arsenal and taking it painstakingly slow with height, we are finally, 100% ready to attack the 3'3 and 3'6 divisions.
Granted, that means taking the winter to train over that height, but come spring I think we might be more than ready to finally jump some REAL fences ya'll. Maybe then too he might actually start trying and lift those knees up for once.
This weekend there is a small schooling show with 2ft divisions offered, and I MIGHT go since my entire barn is going. I'm nervous about my riding strength, but 2ft is literally a giant snore and in the past B has simply stepped over those fences. I think it would be a walk in the park for him, and a chance to show one last time before winter sets in.
I am shooting very high for the 2ft jumper division at a recognized show here in November, but we will see if that will cost me an arm and a leg to enter. So this might actually be my last chance to get out before the winter indoor series.
Guys, I am really excited about this. While I'm a pansy over XC fences, I am bored to tears in the 2ft jumper divisions. Praise the lort at this revelation.
Also the best part, B trailered WITH boots on. This is a legitimate, massive huge deal. AND he backed off the trailer. Revelations all around!!
Here's to progress and a great week ahead!