We’re going to call it “playing” as opposed to “training” because the goal of the day was for me to jump something 3′ or bigger without talking myself out of it, and I really didn’t school much beyond the usual “please stop rushing to the jumps Vesper”. I know that we badly need to spend time on what happens between the fences (sit up, lift, prevent diving through the turns, etc) but I have such an aggressive mental block against jumping anything larger than 2’9″ so I wanted to keep it light and fun and brief today so that I could go home feeling confident.
I set up a little grid with a low vertical, 1 stride to a larger vertical, 2 strides to an oxer. I like these exercises because all I have to do is sit tight and let Vesper jump up to me – I don’t need to get my striding or approach correct because the set up does it all for me. Finding my distances to my fences is my greatest weakness, which causes anxiety as soon as the jumps go up to 3′. Especially because Vesper tends to build as we approach a fence, throwing my eye off completely and causing me to shorten until we chip in – exhibit A:
We ran through the grid a couple of times with everything set really low so that she could warm up to it and I could settle in. I have recently discovered that jumping into my heels results in a mega stable two-point, although why it took 20 years to figure this one out, I’ll never know. Suffice to say I have never been more secure over fences, no matter the height – and it’s allowing me to have a pretty great auto release (shaving off her mane helped break the crest release habit because NOTHING TO GRAB NOW) since I’m no longer balancing myself on her neck with my hands.
That’s GOT to be 3′, right?! It looked giant from her back, but then as soon as I dismounted I realized I’d done the thing again where I convince myself I’ve jumped way bigger than in reality. Sigh.
Anyway, here’s our new sandbox, as viewed from the track:
Having no fence around the arena has forced me to actually ride correctly because if I don’t keep my horse balanced in the turns we will literally fall out of the arena. Ask me how I know this. Ask Vesper what happens when she ignores my urgent outside aides. So it’s great for growth, less great when you want to just hoon around for fun without being very productive. They’re putting up a fence eventually, but in the meantime I should probably practice my square turns or something.
The excellent news is that I found a leasor to ride V twice a week, and she’s an honest to goodness dressage rider, so my horse should be nice and tuned up for those rare occasions I decide to ride correctly… 😂