Monday, May 6, 2013

Jumping Lessons!

I'm still hanging out in Virginia with the dogs and Rocket, but I hate being away from Lex. My barn owner texted me yesterday to tell me the weather in Florida is perfect for riding right now, too. Ugh.

Yesterday managed to make up for some of the Lex-missing because I got to go to my old h/j barn and jump around on a couple horses. My mom went too, and we got to ride together for the first time in a long time!

I am really awful at blogging because I keep forgetting to take pictures of the horses I ride. I will try to be better about this going forward. I do have video of them showing with their owner, Dorrie, though! So hopefully that will suffice.

The first horse I rode is G-Man, and he is just a saint. He's a jumper, but you'd never know it from the way he goes on the flat. Dorrie does a nice job of bringing young horses like him along, and he showed in the hunter ring for a little while because that's the most sane way to start a horse - this is also what I'll be doing with Lex eventually. Here is Dorrie riding G-Man at a show last year.

G-Man is a lovely ride. He's sane and doesn't make any unexpected moves. He also doesn't over-jump. It helps, too, that he's tall, because nothing really looks big from up there. Dorrie had me get the feel of him over a couple smaller jumps, then set one up to about 3'6" (she said I just needed to remember that I could do it, and I think she's right about that) and then we did some lines with the goal of riding them quietly. The main thing I have to work on is seeing my spots again. As often happens when people take a break from real jumping, I can only see the long ones right now. I'll get it back. By the end of the ride, things were going better. I just have to wait and let the jumps come to me. I focused on my breathing on the way in to each jump and I think that helped, because I wasn't scrambling around trying to organize the canter.

The next horse I rode is a mare named Luna ("Silver Belle," if you're nasty). I've known Luna for a looooooong time. Dorrie bought her at the end of her four year old year, I believe, and I was working for her then. She's thirteen now. I did a lot of early flat schooling with this mare and some of the early jumping. She's super fancy and lots of fun, as well as the most comfortable horse I've ever been on. Once you find the rhythm, she stays in it forever. Inertia can be kind of a problem for her, because if you want her to change gaits she's like "eh, I'm cool with this," so she goes in a pelham to make the downward transition possible. Before Dorrie got her, Luna had a bad start. Her previous owners were showing her in hunter classes when she was a three-year-old and they'd kick her for lead changes. Three year old horses are not balanced enough to swap leads, so she developed a lot of anxiety about it. Sometimes, while jumping, she can kind of gallop around the end of the ring because she's tense about the lead change, but I think Dorrie handles her really well. They pretty much win everything.

Oh, and that fat and happy princess is an OTTB! I love Luna. I wish I could take her home with me.

Jumping Luna was similar to jumping G-Man as far as what Dorrie was asking of me: wait for the jump, get the canter early and then just hang out. We only jumped a few jumps but she was really perfect about the whole thing, and since I know Luna really well, we gelled more quickly. I've known what buttons to push on her for nine years. Both of these horses are super nice. Dorrie knows how to pick 'em and she schools them beautifully.

Rocket is doing great! She has figured out the difference between butt scratches and being asked to yield to pressure, we can move her haunches or her shoulders anywhere we need to put them, and she also backs up really well. This is helpful because her dam is such a noodle that sometimes we have to move Rocket away from her to put her halter on. I don't have much to compare her to in terms of foal development or training, but of course I think she is perfect in every way. I'm sure gonna miss her! I'm leaving Wednesday morning so I'll just have to soak up as much time with her as I can.

Anyone else take any cool lessons this weekend?


  1. Ooo, beautiful OTTB! No lessons for me until the new barn, but I'm hoping my horse is sound enough soon!

    1. I will have all my fingers and toes crossed!

  2. You missed all the crummy FL weather we had! Horse show was cancelled, everything was under water. Sun is back out and pretty one again though!

    1. WOW. I bet I'm gonna come back to some thrush. Sorry the show was cancelled!

  3. I just wrote up my cool lesson. Cool show, too. :) Glad you are having fun.