Monday, April 13, 2015

Let the Jumps Come to You

Mo and I had our first jump school of the year on Friday, and it really could not have gone better. 

It started out great before he even saw the tack, because he walked right up to me in the field and stood to be haltered. For Mr. Head Shy, this is news. I knocked the worst of the dirt off (oh, Virginia spring, how muddy you are) and headed up to the ring. By the time M got up there, we had a good trot going. Just like last lesson, she was thrilled with his trot work. As I continued warming up using some of our exercises from the last lesson, she set up some cross rails--two regular cross rails, two cross rail oxers, a skinny cross rail, and then she just put rails beside the liverpool. She had me walk across the liverpool a couple times (no problem, this horse does not give two shits about the liverpool) and then trot his first cross rail of the year. 

He was PERFECT. 

I'm going to give myself a little credit here: last fall when we were jumping him, I would sometimes get a little nervous (not fearful, just like, "don't fuck up your baby horse" nerves). But on Friday I was like "oh whatever he's the perfect creature" and we just trotted around all over the ring all chill. Even the skinny was no big deal--once he got his eye on it, he was like "cool guys" and hopped right on over. I stayed calm, he stayed calm, yay for everyone being calm.

As we trotted over stuff, if he landed cantering, M had me school the canter and then go find a jump out of it. Because both Mo and I were thinking more about jumping than cantering, the canter was really great. Far from perfect, certainly not in any kind of frame, but I could steer, and that is good news.

After we had a couple good jumps over everything each way, M popped all the cross rails up to verticals or oxers (except the skinny and the liverpool). We trotted one jump and then cantered everything once each way. I just found the next jump from whatever lead he landed on, there was always something there. I'm sad that I don't have any pictures of the jumping, but I got some of the jumps themselves (surreptitiously, while M was schooling a client horse and the client/friend was standing there watching).

Wee baby verticals, but my horse does not care what's under them.

 Mo really was perfect from start to finish. I, however, did that thing I do when I'm out of practice and chased my eye. When I've got 100 jumps under my belt this spring I'll be okay (and I have THREE jump lessons this week so that'll happen quick). But I don't want to teach him to launch and then jump flat, because if I let him, he jumps great, all round and knees up. I don't have to ask for it, it's just there. But in the meantime, I have to make like a hunter rider and let the jumps come to me. That is hard!

He doesn't care about the scary rocks next to the jumps either.
 After the ride was great, too. I went on a walk around the property by myself, and he was chill and seemed to really enjoy himself. That's been a tough thing for us, and there's more to do there, paths we haven't taken yet. But he's gonna be a pro at hacking out by the time summer hits.

It's only like 2' but I'm so proud of him that it might as well be 4'.

 I wrote a goals post two months ago, and I think we're getting there. We ditched lunging last week, and after this jump school, we decided it was time to hang up the standing martingale. It could come back, or a running (I hate running martingales, for what they do to the rubber on the reins if nothing else). The canter is coming along, especially in the steering department.

Liverpool schmiverpool.
I know horses who won't go near these things.
So all in all, couldn't be more thrilled with the beast. I was having dinner with M's family on Saturday and her husband asked if I'd ridden Mo that day. "Yup." "Well? How was he?" "Perfect as always." M: "Yup. He's basically perfect." She also said on Friday that I could sell him right now and buy a new car, but who wants a new car when you could have a baby horse who hops over a 2' oxer out of a canter like NBD on his first jump school in months? Not me, yo.

An oxer with a dragon-hiding rock next to it.
He's a genius and I love him. We're really building a great bond.

Upcoming: Our jump school recap from today, my insane but really fun weekend, and Red and Sugar updates (short version: I adore them both).


  1. YAY MO. He's the best lil nephew horse.

  2. your baby horse pretty much sounds amazing! can't wait to see what you all get into

  3. Yay Mo! Just channel your inner me and hear Bev saying "wait for it" in the background lol

  4. Weeeeeeee great to read so much awesome in one place ☺
    How is the adorable Rocket doing these days?

  5. Yep I don't think Ries would jump that liverpool