Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Moving on Up!

The GY's and I took a rather spur of the moment trip to the Majestic Oaks schooling jumper show Sunday. I had worked till midnight the night before (what a pattern...) and decided that starting with 2'9" would be fine. It runs after the drag break, so starts a full 1.25 hours after the 2'6". That meant I got up at a fairly leisurely 8 AM. I had some nerves as I loaded him up. First, we were not meeting JT there. It was a weird sensation. I've never worked with a trainer as consistently as JT. For years I just bummed rides wherever other people were going and then Zing and I would do our thing without a second thought. I was never in a barn with an in-house trainer, so it's been the opposite experience of people who always go to shows with trainer in barn trailer then get their own wheels and can do things on their own. Fortunately JT is so good at inserting useful mantras into her students' brains that I was pretty sure we could do this just fine. Also, Yoshi is basically a pro at all things horse show now. 

Adding to the nerves though, we had a fairly terrible jump school at home on Thursday. He was... punchy and reactive. Two things this horse VERY rarely is. He started off dolphin launching after a few jumps. I don't mind that, his bucks aren't hard and aren't meant to unload me, so he can express himself some. But that progressed into bolting after jumps. I focused on myself and making sure I was not pulling and thereby giving him something to stiffen against. I also only did jumps headed away from the barn because he has exhibited a bit of a magnetic draw to the barn in the past. Finally we got soft and the jump I was going to quit on he tapped a jump with a hind leg and bolted again and bucked hard. That time I was certain I had been soft so I set him on his butt pretty firmly. We ended up working through it again, but it did add to my nerves on Sunday. 

He warmed up pretty nicely. Then we got kicked out of the warm up arena so they could drag and when we came back in everyone was trying to jump the same few jumps. He launched a bit when a horse got close to him while we were cantering. We had jumped the cross rail and vertical a few times before the drag, so we popped the oxer at height once and then called it good. I'm pretty sure JT would have had us chill out more and then do a few more trips over the oxer, but I didn't want to recreate our Thursday ride. 

The course started with a vertical headed back towards the in-gate then 6 strides to an oxer. Right hand roll back turn, either inside or outside an oxer, to a vertical for #3. Bending line left to #4, roll back left to #5. Fairly sharp right hand turn to #6ab, a one stride combination. Easy right hand turn to the oxer, #7 (that was either the inside or outside of the turn to #3). Continue that turn around to a vertical, then loop left around the ring to #9ab, another one stride, then 5 strides down to #10. 

Our first trip around, Yoshi was very good, but I could not see a distance to save my life. We were tight to a few and long to a few. This meant a rail at #3. I had taken the inside turn and he just didn't get straight or balanced in time to jump it well. The bending line right from #5 to 6 was exciting. I was kind of worried because it was the palm tree line that he had been spooky at last time off of a pretty sharp turn, but he was actually trying to rush to it. I half-halted hard then softened and got a really nice reaction. We still got deep to a, but JT in my head told me to stretch up tall and support through b, so he jumped out just fine. He found the oxer at 7 pretty spooky. Fortunately the turn near it gave me the heads up on that one. Plus he's so so honest and really scopes out the jumps about 6-8 strides ahead of time, so I just closed my leg and he got it done. He threw in a couple of flying changes for me again; it's pretty telling that they come when I'm trying to bring him back to the trot and change the bend... good set up for rebalancing haha. #9ab to 10 rode really well, I always want to gun it to the last jump, sort of a "woohoo!!" moment where I chase him flat, so it was actually really good for me to have a related distance. I sat up in between and he jumped #10 better than the whole rest of the course (other than #7 that had the spook factor). 

Jumping athletically from a tight spot 

Classes were pretty large (13 in the 2'9") and there was a trainer there showing with many students who apparently did not believe in giving directions to her students at any point prior to the one in the ring finishing, so it was 30-60 seconds of in gate directions with an empty ring. Yoshi and I hung out while I tried to decide if I should just re-ride the 2'9" or wait for the 3'. I stuck it out though because with how easy he is out cross country, it looks like if our BN debut goes well in early December our next show after that will be at N. I'm so glad I did, our 3' class was BEAUTIFUL! He was ready and game again, I could actually see my distances, the whole thing just really flowed together so well. 

I did do the whole left hand roll back turn from #4-5 on the right lead though. JT has not mentioned leads to me at all other than bringing to a trot and then picking up the correct lead if he finishes a course on the wrong lead for her smallish ring. Mr. GY and I were discussing after how much counter canter there is in dressage and how good it can be for balancing them on their haunches. I've actually started playing with very shallow one loops at the canter to help him bend and soften through his body, so I'm really just practicing higher level dressage when I do things like roll back on the wrong lead... 

I might have gone a little crazy buying pictures... but baby horse only has his first 3' class once!


  1. Congratulations! I honestly find it soooo much easier to ride to a 3' fence than anything lower.

    1. Thanks! I'm not sure if that will be the case for me or not, it's been years since I've consistently done anything over 3'.

  2. He is such a cute jumper! I love his expression over the last fence!